Estridentismo

by craigepplin

Prepping a class on Manuel Maples Arce’s Urbe (using Ugly Duckling’s bilingual edition), I’m reading through an article on the various Estridentista manifestos. One phrase that is repeated throughout them is, “¡Chopin a la silla eléctrica!” It makes me think about the difference between then (the 1920s) and now. During the high tide of the avant-gardes, that sentence sounds like a loud (strident) call for the execution of received, classical culture: Chopin and his mellifluous nocturnes must die. Reading it today, it still sounds violent–there is an electric chair involved, after all–but it also seems to have overtones of something else: of running electricity, metaphorically speaking, through Chopin, which is to say, remixing him. I can’t vouch for what might result (it sounds potentially terrible), but in other realms–for example, in the blend of cumbia, electronics, and folk music, typical of the ZZK group of DJs–it works:

 

It’s the distance between a culture of rupture and a culture of reuse.