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Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 69, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"When García Márquez speaks, his body often rocks back and forth. His hands too are often in motion making small but decisive gestures to emphasize a point, or to indicate a shift of direction in his thinking. He alternates between leaning forward towards his listener, and sitting far back with his legs crossed when speaking reflectively."



INTERVIEWER How do you feel about using the tape recorder?

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ The problem is that the moment you know the interview is being taped, your attitude changes. In my case I immediately take a defensive attitude. As a journalist, I feel that we still haven’t learned how to use a tape recorder to do an interview. The best way, I feel, is to have a long conversation without the journalist taking any notes. Then afterward he should reminisce about the conversation and write it down as an impression of what he felt, not necessarily using the exact words expressed. Another useful method is to take notes and then interpret them with a certain loyalty to the person interviewed. What ticks you off about the tape recording everything is that it is not loyal to the person who is being interviewed, because it even records and remembers when you make an ass of yourself. That’s why when there is a tape recorder, I am conscious that I’m being interviewed; when there isn’t a tape recorder, I talk in an unconscious and completely natural way.



GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ I’ve always been convinced that my true profession is that of a journalist. What I didn’t like about journalism before were the working conditions. Besides, I had to condition my thoughts and ideas to the interests of the newspaper. Now, after having worked as a novelist, and having achieved financial independence as a novelist, I can really choose the themes that interest me and correspond to my ideas. In any case, I always very much enjoy the chance of doing a great piece of journalism.



INTERVIEWER Do you think the novel can do certain things that journalism can’t?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ Nothing. I don’t think there is any difference. The sources are the same, the material is the same, the resources and the language are the same. The Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe is a great novel and Hiroshima is a great work of journalism.

INTERVIEWER Do the journalist and the novelist have different responsibilities in balancing truth versus the imagination?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That’s the only difference, and it lies in the commitment of the writer. A novelist can do anything he wants so long as he makes people believe in it.



INTERVIEWER How did you start writing?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ By drawing. By drawing cartoons. Before I could read or write I used to draw comics at school and at home. The funny thing is that I now realize that when I was in high school I had the reputation of being a writer, though I never in fact wrote anything. If there was a pamphlet to be written or a letter of petition, I was the one to do it because I was supposedly the writer. When I entered college I happened to have a very good literary background in general, considerably above the average of my friends. At the university in Bogotá, I started making new friends and acquaintances, who introduced me to contemporary writers. One night a friend lent me a book of short stories by Franz Kafka. I went back to the pension where I was staying and began to read The Metamorphosis. The first line almost knocked me off the bed. I was so surprised. The first line reads, “As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. . . .” When I read the line I thought to myself that I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago. So I immediately started writing short stories. They are totally intellectual short stories because I was writing them on the basis of my literary experience and had not yet found the link between literature and life. The stories were published in the literary supplement of the newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá and they did have a certain success at the time—probably because nobody in Colombia was writing intellectual short stories. What was being written then was mostly about life in the countryside and social life. When I wrote my first short stories I was told they had Joycean influences.



INTERVIEWER Can you name some of your early influences?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ The people who really helped me to get rid of my intellectual attitude towards the short story were the writers of the American Lost Generation. I realized that their literature had a relationship with life that my short stories didn’t. And then an event took place which was very important with respect to this attitude. It was the Bogotazo, on the ninth of April, 1948, when a political leader, Gaitan, was shot and the people of Bogotá went raving mad in the streets. I was in my pension ready to have lunch when I heard the news. I ran towards the place, but Gaitan had just been put into a taxi and was being taken to a hospital. On my way back to the pension, the people had already taken to the streets and they were demonstrating, looting stores and burning buildings. I joined them. That afternoon and evening, I became aware of the kind of country I was living in, and how little my short stories had to do with any of that. When I was later forced to go back to Barranquilla on the Caribbean, where I had spent my childhood, I realized that that was the type of life I had lived, knew, and wanted to write about.

Around 1950 or ’51 another event happened that influenced my literary tendencies. My mother asked me to accompany her to Aracataca, where I was born, and to sell the house where I spent my first years. When I got there it was at first quite shocking because I was now twenty-two and hadn’t been there since the age of eight. Nothing had really changed, but I felt that I wasn’t really looking at the village, but I was experiencing it as if I were reading it. It was as if everything I saw had already been written, and all I had to do was to sit down and copy what was already there and what I was just reading. For all practical purposes everything had evolved into literature: the houses, the people, and the memories. I’m not sure whether I had already read Faulkner or not, but I know now that only a technique like Faulkner’s could have enabled me to write down what I was seeing. The atmosphere, the decadence, the heat in the village were roughly the same as what I had felt in Faulkner. It was a banana-plantation region inhabited by a lot of Americans from the fruit companies which gave it the same sort of atmosphere I had found in the writers of the Deep South. Critics have spoken of the literary influence of Faulkner, but I see it as a coincidence: I had simply found material that had to be dealt with in the same way that Faulkner had treated similar material.

From that trip to the village I came back to write Leaf Storm, my first novel. What really happened to me in that trip to Aracataca was that I realized that everything that had occurred in my childhood had a literary value that I was only now appreciating. From the moment I wrote Leaf Storm I realized I wanted to be a writer and that nobody could stop me and that the only thing left for me to do was to try to be the best writer in the world. That was in 1953, but it wasn’t until 1967 that I got my first royalties after having written five of my eight books.



INTERVIEWER What about the banana fever in One Hundred Years of Solitude? How much of that is based on what the United Fruit Company did?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ The banana fever is modeled closely on reality. Of course, I’ve used literary tricks on things which have not been proved historically. For example, the massacre in the square is completely true, but while I wrote it on the basis of testimony and documents, it was never known exactly how many people were killed. I used the figure three thousand, which is obviously an exaggeration. But one of my childhood memories was watching a very, very long train leave the plantation supposedly full of bananas. There could have been three thousand dead on it, eventually to be dumped in the sea. What’s really surprising is that now they speak very naturally in the Congress and the newspapers about the “three thousand dead.” I suspect that half of all our history is made in this fashion. In The Autumn of the Patriarch, the dictator says it doesn’t matter if it’s not true now, because sometime in the future it will be true. Sooner or later people believe writers rather than the government.

INTERVIEWER That makes the writer pretty powerful, doesn’t it?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ Yes, and I can feel it too. It gives me a great sense of responsibility. What I would really like to do is a piece of journalism which is completely true and real, but which sounds as fantastic as One Hundred Years of Solitude. The more I live and remember things from the past, the more I think that literature and journalism are closely related.



INTERVIEWER Are dreams ever important as a source of inspiration?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ In the very beginning I paid a good deal of attention to them. But then I realized that life itself is the greatest source of inspiration and that dreams are only a very small part of that torrent that is life. What is very true about my writing is that I’m quite interested in different concepts of dreams and interpretations of them. I see dreams as part of life in general, but reality is much richer. But maybe I just have very poor dreams.

INTERVIEWER Can you distinguish between inspiration and intuition?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ Inspiration is when you find the right theme, one which you really like; that makes the work much easier. Intuition, which is … [more]
gabrielgarcíamárquez  1981  interviews  colombia  writing  journalism  truth  reality  fiction  literature  latinamerica  drawing  kafka  jamesjoyce  stories  storytelling  everyday  williamfaulkner  imagination  biography  autobiography  politics  childhood  fantasy  magicrealism  credibility  detail  details  belief  believability  responsibility  history  bricolage  collage  power  solitude  flow  dreams  dreaming  inspiration  intuition  intellectualism  translation  mexico  spanish  español  gregoryrabassa  borders  frontiers  miguelángelasturias  cuba  fame  friendship  film  filmmaking  relationships  consumption  language  languages  reading  howweread  howwewrite  routine  familiarity  habits 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Walls, floors, house numbers: In Mexico City, all surfaces are activated.: Observatory: Design Observer
"In Mexico, everyone seems to be Alexander Girard. Not afraid of color, of two colors together, of tiles and stripes, of patterns on pattern, of humble materials made noble by aggregation. The Loeb Fellowship took me to Mexico City for a week in February, and there I found the roots of Girard's "opulent modernism" still growing. Everywhere I looked — underfoot, on the walls, over the doors — something particular was happening. I understood why he had been so inspired to collect and reinterpret Mexican precedents; more importantly I also saw Mexican designers and everyday people reinterpreting for themselves. Design with a small "d" was everywhere, reflecting a culture that seems to understand the small gestures that make a room, a building, or a city special. A church in Queretaro with checkerboard floors, a neo-classical facade, and a golden altarpiece of many doors. A museum in Mexico City with real Mayan artifacts, reconstructed Aztec facades, red-and-purple upholstery, bowls floating on plexiglass mounts. Girard distilled the elements of Mexican style, transforming them into an American modernist idiom, but it is not as if Mexican modernists weren't doing the same. Architect Luis Barragran spotlit a golden angel with a perfectly placed skylight. Artist, architect, designer Mathias Goeritz remade the baroque icon as a simple gold-leaf square. Contemporary projects embed ceramic trees of life in Art Deco hallways, or echo the peacock circles of traditional decor in industrial spiral staircases. At the studios of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, lines of cacti march past Bauhaus silhouettes.

As I made my way through the city, primarily on a large red-white-and-blue bus, I tried to take note of these extraordinary planes, posting PicFrames of walls, floors, and other details that simultaneously clashed and sang. How dull the medium-width oak floors of my childhood began to seem. The brick walls of my Brooklyn neighborhood. The cookie-cutter house numbers from the hardware store. The white subway tile on backsplashes, wainscots, walk-in showers. Why do we do this to ourselves? In Mexico City, it felt like all surfaces were activated. Why not get an artist to paint a mural on the concrete slot between a building's wings? Why not park a bike up the green wall in your restaurant garden? Diana Vreeland's observations about Indian color style apply equally here, with yellow swapped in for pink, cobalt for navy blue.

Architects from the global north may revere Barragan for the subtle cast of pink on a white wall, but many won't go beyond blush themselves. His Mexico City house, and the villa he designed for the family Prieto, suggested that cobalt and coral, sunshine and flame, are easier to live with than you might think. Seeing so many examples of skillfully deployed color and pattern over a handful of days, examples high (Casa Barragan, below), low (turquoise apartment building foyer, top), sacred (three-tone cathedral floor), durable (two-tone rubber garden path) allowed me to understand the intense patterns I snapped not as a precious, professional choice but as part of a larger cultural valuation of the visual. What I loved was the too-muchness of it all, which felt like aesthetic freedom. My current housemates make fun of my desire for everyday bling, which manifests itself in plastic necklaces from Forever 21 and silver sneakers and metallic sweatshirts. I saw that blinginess everywhere in Mexico and it made me feel unexpectedly at home.

Pictures of the houses of Luis Barragan tend to focus on the colorful moments, as I have in the rainbow collages above and below. But the white walls, and the windows on to sky and garden, are equally important. Barragan isn't trying to overwhelm you (as Ricardo Legorreta does at the Camino Real), but to get you through the day, in the house, with a series of views that surprise and delight. In his own home, each room is shaped to a particular activity and time of day. The pink cross is built in over the door of his solo breakfast room, to offer a wordless blessing. The sunshiny Albers painting is set next to a two-story window, providing an alternative sun on a rare cloudy day. At Casa Prieto, a tree with flame-like flowers grows out of a rock in front of a coral wall, emphasizing its heat from the cool of the aqua pool. Contemporary architects can't help but pay homage. I visited the clever, elegant Lisboa 7, designed by at.103, and found those murals tucked into slots. There, the hot colors are reserved for the sunken garage, flashes of orange through a block wall, common storage in lime. Upstairs, the palette is paler, allowing residents to create their own Barragan moments, or not. In the apartment we visited, the walls were gray and the rainbow palette provided by a collection of California pottery. It was fun to recognize an old friend, transformed by geography into a different reference.

My last night in Mexico was spent at the home of a Mexican architect and an American recovering landscape architect. Mark, the latter, traveled to Mexico on a Fulbright some years ago and never came home. His decor seemed to me another entirely accessible version of the simple and baroque, minty and regal, combinations that I was seeing outside. The homemade cork boards stood in for the tricky, intricate ceramic Trees of Life, incorporating photos and other mementos. The white-painted floor offered the simplified backdrop of the neo-classical ceilings in many churches. A Crate & Barrel table kept company with hand-stitched pillow covers in patterns made since time immemorial. He even had a vase full of hand-blown glass balls, an inadvertant homage to the oversized bowl of such bubbles at Casa Prieto. Maybe this is a stretch, though it was a charming apartment. It was fun to see what happens to your taste when you fall in love with Mexico City now."
architecture  design  df  mexico  mexicodf  color  alexandralange  2014  everyday  texture  surface  detail  details  querétaro  alexandergirard  modernism  mathiasgoeritz  tiles  luisbarragán  ricardolegorreta  mexicocity 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The Spirit of Craftsmanship - Luxury Society - Comment & Analysis
"Scye is an exceptional clothing line, but Hidaka and Miyahara’s strategy of pursuing quality and craft over trend and flash is not unique amongst young Japanese brands. Miyahara explains, “I believe the Japanese people have a basic artisanal disposition. There is a word in Japanese — kodawari — meaning being obsessed with the details, and it guides almost everything here.”

While some of this so-called quality obsession may be a response to discerning consumers, Miyahara sees craftsmanship in Japan prospering from the creators’ own self-demands:

Some part of kodawari is the designers’ own self-satisfaction of creating really nice things, even if consumers don’t notice the details. When we started the brand, we thought about how to do things from the perspective of those who actually make the clothing, and we wanted to produce clothes that people would still wear after a long time — both in terms of quality and style."
2009  luxury  quality  detail  kodawari  via:tealtan  glvo  craft  japan  craftsmanship 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Don’t Mock the Artisanal-Pickle Makers - NYTimes.com
"When it comes to profit and satisfaction, craft business is showing how American manufacturing can compete in the global economy. Many of the manufacturers who are thriving in the United States (they exist, I swear!) have done so by avoiding direct competition with low-cost commodity producers in low-wage nations. Instead, they have scrutinized the market and created customized products for less price-sensitive customers. Facebook and Apple, Starbucks and the Boston Beer Company (which makes Sam Adams lager) show that people who identify and meet untapped needs can create thousands of jobs and billions in wealth. As our economy recovers, there will be nearly infinite ways to meet custom needs at premium prices."

[See also in Japan: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204542404577157290201608630.html?mod=WSJ_Magazine_LEFTSecondStories ]
detail  2012  quality  generalists  specialists  handmade  glvo  nyc  food  crafteconomy  small  scale  bespoke  brooklyn  entrepreneurship  craft  specialization 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Made Better in Japan - WSJ.com
"For decades, Japan simply imported the wares of foreign cultures, but recession has led to invention. The country has begun creating the finest American denim, French cuisine and Italian espresso in the world. Now is the time to visit."

"During the robust economy of the '80s, Japan's exports ruled, and the country would import the best that money could buy from the rest of the globe, including Italian chefs and French sommeliers. Which made Japan an haute bourgeoisie heaven where luxury manufacturers from the West expected skyrocketing sales forever.

But now 20-plus years of recession have killed that dream. Louis Vuitton sales are plummeting, and magnums of Dom Pérignon are no longer being uncorked at a furious pace. That doesn't mean the Japanese have turned away from the world. They've just started approaching it on their own terms, venturing abroad and returning home with increasingly more international tastes and much higher standards…"

[See also Stateside: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/adam-davidson-craft-business.html ]
daikisuzuki  engineeredgarments  hyperspecialization  hospitality  hotels  apprenticeships  tiny  small  quintessence  shuzokishida  restaurants  kansai  tokyo  hitoshitsujimoto  realmccoy's  nylon  magazines  jeans  craft  coffee  denim  detail  perfection  food  fashion  lifestyle  economics  luxury  japan  scale 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Flourishes, Craftsmanship, Dates, History, and Flickr - Laughing Meme
"I fret about the warm bath of now-ness we seem to be currently living in; real time a synonym for ephemerality and disposability."

"…giving you the ability to label your photo as being taken solidly 800+ years before anything most of us would describe as the invention of photography…a little silly. But I do love this photo of the Blue grotto…taken in 1890…

Fundamentally this split btwn system activity time, & human editable creation date models a world where the people who use your software do something other then use your software. You have to decide how you feel about admitting that possibility…

…if you visited that Blue Grotto photo you’ll notice date is listed as “This photo was taken some time in 1890.” That’s date granularity. Flickr taken dates come in 4 levels of granularity, exact, year-month, year, & circa.

…Circa is a flourish…sort of feature you only get when you care about craftsmanship…

Computers demand exactitudes by default, but it’s a laziness of which we are collectively guiltily that we’ve traded a few programmer & compute cycles for a rich & nuanced societal understanding of time."
flickr  design  dates  detail  circa  perception  computing  human  kellanelliot-mccrea  granularity  squishiness  fuzziness  nuance  meaning  meaningmaking  2011  florishes  details  disposability  bighere  longnow  craft  craftsmanship  ephemerality  ephemeral 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Doorknobs and directors « Snarkmarket
"This is not to say that super-specialization is not a super-smart strat­egy! Being extremely good—the best in the world—at a par­tic­u­lar thing is actu­ally one of the best strate­gies for sur­vival and sat­is­fac­tion. But I just don’t think it nec­es­sar­ily leads any­where other than… super-specialization. It seems to me, look­ing around, that the peo­ple in charge of cities, pub­lic spaces, orga­ni­za­tions, and Spider-Man 4 are the peo­ple who have gone straight at those more macro lev­els like an arrow."
specialization  generalists  cv  robinsloan  snarkmarket  macro  micro  dou­glashof­s­tadter  jeffveen  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  detail  bigpicture  specialists 
january 2010 by robertogreco
disambiguity - » On documentation (or lack thereof)
"Sure, I still do wireframes every now and then, but never a ‘complete set’ and often with no where near the detail I used to include. Why?...three reasons...tend to work on more of a strategic level...where there is no time...closer to production tea
trends  detail  work  production  documentation 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Games Without Frontiers: 'Grand Theft Auto IV' Delivers Deft Satire of Street Life
"I may never finish the game. In a city this vibrant, it's hard to stop getting distracted. At one point, I finished a mission on top floor of decrepit apartment...started to head back downstairs to my car, then wondered: "Hey, what's up on the roof?"
immersion  games  gaming  gta  clivethompson  nyc  detail  exploration  gamedesign  reviews  simulations  openplay  open-endedplay  grandtheftauto 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Conceptual Trends and Current Topics - The Way of Japan vs Any Way in China
"James Fallow...noticed two different approaches to refueling the same small plane.In Japan...Note the uniform, safety outfits, and cushion to protect the plane's wing. In, China, they just do what has to be done, in any way they can."
china  japan  howwework  ingenuity  process  uniformity  perfectionism  detail  attention  improvisation 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Everyone Forever / Literature / Too much detail
"As a child, I used to get stuck in feedback loops thinking about what i was thinking about, setting up my pechant for introspective books about acts of seeing and reading."
books  introspection  observation  detail 
october 2007 by robertogreco

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