Abstract

In the context of the prolific cultural production surrounding the Bicentennial celebrations in Latin America, this paper examines the writings of the Argentine writer Washington Cucurto (the penname of Santiago Vega, born 1973), particularly his novel 1810: la Revolución de Mayo vivida por los negros (2008). Contrary to the received idea that his poetry and novels confer visibility on marginalized groups, it contends that his work reveals and, indeed, revels in the excess of representation that is intrinsic to fictions of the state. That is, Cucurto does not criticize the inclusion of certain social actors in Argentine civic life or historiography, but rather—per Alan Badiou's terminology—the operative “excrescence” of the present conjuncture. 1810 rejects neither the conventions of official history nor those of historical fiction, but carries them to an absurd extreme, staging a frenetic accumulation of anachronisms. By representing the destruction and reconstruction of the iconic Cabildo in the midst of a patriotic orgy, Cucurto explicitly links a new pluralist nationalism with the monumental repertory of patriotic festivities prior to the Bicentennial. In this way, 1810 constitutes a corrosive pastiche that does not advocate for the political and aesthetic representation of marginalized groups in present-day Argentine society, but instead interrupts a sociopolitical discourse that insists on fixing, tracking, and disciplining the place of the other.

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