States of the Arts


Golden Waters

by Grimanesa Amorós
Public art

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Long, luminous wires stretch across the canal surrounding Arizona’s Soleri Bridge. These colossal threads float with the structure’s support, reflected in the surface of the water as shimmering, elegant echoes. As they overlap, they form a looped lattice that moves with the current, far from the static arrangement of the walkway. Yet the cables and bridge share metallic materials, their connectedness suggesting a single aquatic creature. Feeling about in loose exploration, the soft, gleaming tentacles are revealed to be extensions of Soleri’s skeletal scaffold.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou

Behind the Mirrors

directed by Julio O. Ramos
Short film

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Through the lens of a handheld camera, a man is seen hurriedly preparing a hotel room for its next set of guests. Short scenes are shot within the confines of the building’s narrow walls. The seedy interior is bathed in a dingy red light, with the scarlet hue acting as a warning sign to the viewer. When the man and his wife discover a dead body in one of the rooms, claustrophobia quickly turns to panic. Their sense of urgency is compounded by the jerky camera movement, skewed angles, and close-ups. This trio of techniques keeps us on edge, preparing us for an unexpected, unsavoury plot twist.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou

The Time of the Hero

by Mario Vargas Llosa

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Alberto is a promising student at the Leoncio Prado Military Academy, a government-sanctioned institution where humanity’s darkest vices are amplified by the rule of law. The pupils’ worst traits are reinforced by a code of conduct that encourages a downward spiral of self-destruction. Egotism is actively encouraged; kindness can get you killed. Vargas Llosa critiques this macho culture, which purports to turn boys into ‘men’, transfiguring insecurities about masculinity and heterosexuality into outbreaks of violence that escalate with little hope of ceasing.

Words by Lewis Coenen-Rowe


by Los Saicos

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Punk was born in Lima in 1966. Inspired by their imported rock and roll records, the short-lived garage band Los Saicos first achieved fame with this nihilistic ditty. The lyrics are ostensibly about demolishing a railway station, but an anarchistic analogy lies barely beneath the surface, masked only by raw, hoarse vocals and chains of sputtering consonants. The instrumental backdrop communicates the unfiltered joy just as effectively. Harnessing the visceral power of three-chord rock, ‘Demolición’ seeks to blast away bourgeois pretension in a blaze of euphoric noise.

Words by Lewis Coenen-Rowe

More to discover

Golden Waters: Visit Grimanesa Amorós’s website, including a video of the artwork, here. Rachel Rivenc has interviewed the artist for The Iris.

Behind the Mirrors: Watch the short film here.

The Time of the Hero: Read an excerpt from the novel here. Thomas Mallon has written about Vargas Llosa’s ‘restless realism’ for The New Yorker. Benedicte Page has selected five essential novels by the author in an article for The Guardian.

Demolición: Listen to the song here, watch a video about Los Saicos created by Noisey, and read an article about the band by Jonathan Watts and Dan Collyns for The Guardian.

Question of the day

Which Peruvian artworks would you recommend, and why?
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Trilce, a book of poetry by César Vallejo. Humanist, revolutionary, raw avant-garde poetry of suffering and striving. (→)

– Claire Carré, film directorand editor (Embers) (via The Brief →)

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