Las aventuras del Quijote/en

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Las aventuras de Quijote o el elogio a utopia

Monica Giraldo

One can argue that there are two types of essentially distinct emphasis on the process of utopic idealization:

1 - that which tenaciously focuses the idealized object, in its distant spectra, which is therefore disconnected from present reality. The utopic desire is thus characterized as a longing for something lost, a sort of nostalgic feeling which is, in some occasions, placed in retrospective terms and, in other, prospective as in a reversed nostalgia. The latter is the case of the redemption and return to paradise as advocated by the christian mythology, and the former is the case of the anachronistic and lost chivalry of Cervante's La Mancha hero.
2 - that which is less attentive to the idealized object than it is to the implications of the very motion of its idealization. Less than a future question, in this case, thinking utopia would have to be defined as an attempt of establishing in the present moment an area of tension and instability, a ghost which the present would antithetically drive against itself as an endeavor to overcome itself. This is, at least theoretically, the case of social and political utopia.

"El elogio a la utopia" somehow is located between these two perspectives. By calling upon herself the homeric-quixotic task of knowing by heart the entire text of Cervante's original work so that, maybe someday, she can recite it completely from memory, Monica Giraldo undertakes again Dom Quixote's saga, inserting into it a historical and political subtext, that is, the one regarding the so called "end of utopia" nowadays. Her "eulogy", or better, her "project for an eulogy" carries however something contradictorily nostalgic and ironic. On the one hand it points at utopia as an experience which is still valid and relevant today, on the other, consciously, does so in the tragicomic terms of Cervantes' hero, that is, in the terms of a nostalgia somewhat anachronistic and melancholic. It is in this sense that the artist's proposal can be understood as as a comment on the contradictions pertaining utopic thinking and action today, since it reveals the complex character of an action which, in the present, unites in itself, paradoxically, both a nostalgia for the past and a will and impetus towards future change.