Dada: 100 Years

2016 marked the 100 anniversary of Dada, my favorite art movement.

Petra (a psychologist) and I (a filmmaker) were chosen to show our “joint venture”in Manifesta 11, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art that took place in Zürich from 06 June to 18 September, 2016. The concept developed by Christian Jankowski, Manifesta 11’s curator, was to pair an artist and a worker, while focusing on the fields of work found in Zürich and asking the questions “What do I do for money?” and “What does my work do to me at the same time?”

So we made a film -the ideal medium to combine dreams and storytelling- to celebrate the 100 anniversary of Dada, an artistic movement that was born in Zürich, Switzerland in 1916. The film is titled “Le roi cherche une toilette à louer”: Hand printing, cutting words, mental sounds, and random acts of poetry can lead you to unexpected places where the mundane blends with the sublime. The film is inspired by a poem by Tristan Tzara, one of the main founders of Dada, titled “L’amiral cherche une maison à louer.”

We presented on August 18 at midnight in Cabaret Voltaire, the birthplace of the Dada movement. We screened the film twice, and then had a really engaging discussion with the audience. On the stage, we positioned a camera on a tripod laying down on a couch like a patient in psychoanalysis while Petra and I sat on chairs at each end of the stage.

Why am I showing the film now?

Well, the film needed to be kept private for our show and for other presentations later on. Now, two years later, I can make the film public. In addition to the film, I include photos I took during two art shows that happened around the same time to celebrate Dada’s anniversary. One was about the Dada movement and the other was about Francis Picabia’s work, one of the original founders of Dada.

Enjoy the film and the photos.

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Trapani, Sicily: Sunday May 30, 2017

Enjoy the under 3-minute video.

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Rubén Abruña

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Der abgerissene Strick

Titel anklicken und Video anschauen.

Für deutschsprechende Leute: nur das Video anspielen. Viel Spass!

Haga clic en el título. / Click on title to watch the video.

Una mirada poética a uno de los pasatiempos favoritos de Petra.

El hilo roto
puede anudarse
de nuevo, pero
sigue roto.

Quizás nos encontremos
otra vez
pero ahí
donde me dejaste
no me encontrarás
otra vez.


A poetic look at one of Petra’s favorite pastimes.

Text translation:

The torn thread
can be knotted again
back to one, but
it is torn.

Perhaps we encounter
each other again,
but there,
where you left me
you will not
find me again.

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The Undercover Gardener

To lighten the heavy load that so many dear people are carrying in Puerto Rico and the USA, I share this video shot at the beginning of the wonderful summer of 2017.

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Home-made dolmadaki

I was a fan of dolma for many years, but stopped eating them because I found them so acidic they sometimes provoked reflux. That’s because I had only eaten the canned or pre-packaged versions from stores and restaurants. “Known since antiquity, dolmadaki or dolma are grape leaves wrapped around a filling. They are common in Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East.”¹

In February, a neighbor moved out and gave us a grape bush they had planted in a large pot. Now, in summer, the bush is back to life and producing healthy tender leaves. I cut a bunch, blanched, cooled, stuff, hand-rolled, and steamed them. We tried two fillings: the traditional one of rice, garlic, onions, pine nuts, mint leaves, parsley, raisins, and cinnamon; and our own version of quinoa, fennel, scallions, mint leaves, and raspberries. They are delicious, healthy, and with a very subtle tangy flavor, far away from the acidic commercial versions. I am a fan again.

Enjoy the photos of the grape bush and the steamed dolmas. ¡Buen provecho!

¹From Wikipedia.

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Dios en Nápoles / God in Naples

En nuestro reciente viaje a Italia, pude constatar la presencia de Dios en Nápoles.
In our recent trip to Italy, I witnessed God’s presence in Naples.

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The oldest nuclear plant in the world.

Living only 31 Km from the oldest nuclear plant is not comforting. It is an inconvenient truth that the Beznau AKW is so close to us. Greenpeace informs citizens in my area using street signs in a very clever way. The sign says “the oldest atomic power plant in the world is only 31 Km away”.

On 5 March 2014, Greenpeace activists broke into Beznau, urging European governments to close down the reactors on safety grounds. Some 100 protesters dressed in orange jumpsuits scaled the boundary fence and hoisted large banners with images of cracking reactors and announcing “The End” of nuclear power at the 45-year-old Beznau nuclear plant. 40 activists were arrested and 58 activists were reported to the Public Prosecutor for trespassing. Newspaper Tages Anzeiger commented in October 2015 that two independent sources have confirmed that the reactor 1 pressure vessel contains around 1,000 cavities of half a centimetre in diameter. (From Wikipedia)

[wpgmza id=”17″]

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A street named after me

After almost 5 years of living in Schwamendingen, Zürich, Switzerland, the neighborhood council surprised me by naming the street that runs behing our building complex after me. I was speechless. Needless to say, I am humbled by their gesture. Of course I had to take a picture of the street sign.

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3 minutes late

96 % of the Swiss trains arrive on time. 2 % arrive 3 minutes or fewer late. 2 % arrive more than 3 minutes late.
So when people see this sign, as I did a little while ago, (“ca. 3′ später” means it is about 3 minutes late) they generally lose their cool. How is it possible that it is so late!, many ask in frustration. I can get used to this type of punctuality but I do not forget waiting for more than an hour for a late bus in Miami or in San Juan. So I am cool when the train is not on time in the land of milk and money.

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