Fragmentary Elegy for Ricardo Piglia

The Museum of the Novel in Buenos Aires – that was once housed above a boxing gym on the Avenida Rivadavia – disappeared this year not long after the great novelist Ricardo Piglia passed away. The museum was the site of intersecting plotlines and home to the automaton created by Macedonio Fernandez to contain the memories and spirit of his wife Elena. The automaton outlived her husband and became the source of hundreds of stories that escaped from the white nodes of language hidden in her circuitry. A number of nodes – no one knows how many – unknotted during the clandestine removal process, and caused power surges along the fibre optics of the new broadband infrastructure in the tunnels beneath the Argentine capital. Subliminal pulsations of light, that flash via the screens of international video calls, have caused stories to jump across continents in fragments, and to emerge as automatic writing on the mobile phones of sensitives as far away as Mongolia and Australia. It appears that the automaton Elena may be composing and transmitting a vast elegy for Ricardo Piglia, who did so much to preserve her immortality. Programmers from the Far South Project are working to reconstitute the complete text, but they are unsure that it will ever be possible, or even if Elena intends it to be. —David Enrique Spellman

 

 

The Surveillance Chamber

While searching for Gerardo Fischer, I came across a trench dwelling dug into a wooded hillside above a small town dump in Western Massachusetts. I thought the equipment obsolete and long since defunct. The moment I crossed the dark threshold a reel-to-reel tape clicked into life, and among the screens that I assumed were dead, three tubes flickered into silent life, monitors for cameras that I would fail to find, transmitting, as they were, from an unknowable source, a stream of images antic and alien. —David Enrique Spellman