Beyond the romanticised legacy in The Savage Detectives, the Infrarealist movement and its youthful ardour show us the importance of facing the world and clearly delineating the limit where personal and collective freedom begin.
The Infrarealist manifestos, a metaphor of the limit where literary freedom begins /
Individually and collectively, psychologically and socially and archetypically even, (in that area where the subjective and collective unconsciousness commune and fuse their identities), the death of the father is considered one of the foundational moments of our existence, a new birth from which a person awakens to a new world, one that at times appears to be virginal and unexplored, willing to be creating again through actions and decisions. “Just as my representation is the world, my will is the will of the world”, wrote Wittgenstein in his Notebooks (1914-1916): a will in which we acquire consciousness until we discover it, in an instant of epiphany, of pure enlightenment, that we are free, autonomous, that reality is there waiting to be transformed.
In literature, there is the symbolic death, this will that insatiably in first instance while trying to make a clean sweep in relation to the established and respected, recently had one of its most memorable moments in the Infrarealist movement, now legendary due to the epic nostalgic filter with which Roberto Bolaño narrated The Savage Detectives.
However, as many critics have noted (and the attentive reader will discover on his own), the Savage Detectives’ infrarealism, is not, in any way, the infrarealism that took place in reality. A reality in which, following Nabokov advice, must be described and read in quotation marks, especially when it is accompanied by literary romancing.
Indeed: now that Bolaño’s influence is so intense, how can we separate the visceral realism of the poetic movement led neither by Arturo Belano nor Ulises Lima, characters from the pamphlet, but by Bolaño himself and Mario Santiago Papasquiaro, real people?
We must contrast the powerful attraction the novel exerts with the coldness of the documents, the objective valorisation of the effective and verifiable testimonies, and perhaps hence find the palpitating nucleus, which in another sense, also explains the vigour of the tale.
Online there are three Infrarealist manifestos available signed (respectively and chronologically) by Roberto Bolaño, Mario Santiago Papasquiaro and José Vicente Anaya. We could say that they represent a pure state of Infrarealism, or better said, fleshless, full of youthful ardour, of those that will soon be unleashed upon the world, without strings attached or anything due to those that came before them and, even less to those who at the present moment dictate the path that literature is supposed to follow. We present you with three fragments (the titles and dates can be found at the end of each text).
— A good part of the world is being born and the other part is dying and we all know that we all have to live and we all die: in this there is no middle road.
Chirico says: thought needs to move away from everything called logic and common sense, to move away from all human obstacles in such a way that things take on a new look, as though illuminated by a constellation appearing for the first time. The infrarealists say: We’re going to stick our noses into all human obstacles, in such a way that things begin to move inside of us, a hallucinatory vision of mankind.
First Infrarealist Manifesto
(Roberto Bolaño, México, 1976)
REMOVING PEOPLE OF THEIR PASSIVITY AND DEPENDANCY
SEEKING UNPUBLISHED INTERVENTION AND DECISION MEDIA O IN THE WORLD
NOTHING HUMAN IS FOREIGN TO US (GOOD) NOTHING UTOPIAN IS FOREIGN
Mario Santiago Papasquiaro
Taking the latter into account, we refuse to play the institutional game of “CUL —is not cul a prefix of French origin?— TURA” that implies the theory and practice of academist factions and reductionist sects that deal with editorial power and that use their schemes to boast an absolute correction of what “beauty should be”.
And we do not say what “beauty should be” but what BEAUTY IS, IT EXISTS IN THE PRESENT, it is life itself without restriction, without a priori schemes, without limits, and because of all this, INDEPENDENT of institutions and outside of geezer councils and damned followers.
INFRAREALIST MANIFESTO (1975)
Jose Vicente Anaya
Manifesto, in one of its senses, is taking a stand before the world, face it, saying what had never before been said. Manifesto is saying and, through the use of language, bringing a presence that had never existed before. Manifesting to put a limit from where freedom begins.
On Internet (in Spanish):literature, writers, manifestos, Warriors & Rebels, infrarealism, Roberto Bolaño, Infrarealist manifestos Credits: Image (© Fondo Joan Comalat / INSPAI – Centro de la Imagen, Diputación de Gerona)