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On Private Property and Love: Poema Colectivo Revolución

"Poetry must be made by all" - Count de Lautréamont

Maurico Marcin provides a brief introduction to the Poema Colectivo: Revolución, considering its challenge to the laws of private property, the words of liberation it continues to whisper and its place in a new kind of network, here on post.

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Mauricio Marcin

Curator Museo Experimental el Eco Mauricio Marcin works as researcher at Museo Experimental el Eco in México City. From 2007 to 2012 he was curator of El Clauselito, a project room in the Museo de la... Read more »
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On Private Property and Love: Poema Colectivo Revolución

"Poetry must be made by all" - Count de Lautréamont

Maurico Marcin provides a brief introduction to the Poema Colectivo: Revolución, considering its challenge to the laws of private property, the words of liberation it continues to whisper and its place in a new kind of network, here on post.

Show More

"Poetry must be made by all" - Count de Lautréamont

Maurico Marcin provides a brief introduction to the Poema Colectivo: Revolución, considering its challenge to the laws of private property, the words of liberation it continues to whisper and its place in a new kind of network, here on post.

A collection of 350 sheets of letter-size paper sent to Mexico City by people from around the world: this is a description of the Poema Colectivo: Revolución (PCR: Collective Poem Revolution). And like an ear of corn, each kernel can be removed. Poema Colectivo is also, to begin with, a group of works that eschew commerce: they are not for sale.

The mail artists also aimed to circumvent the mechanisms of private property: the Poema Colectivo is public.

In May 1981, the group Colectivo 3 invited the international mail art network to participate in the Poema Colectivo: Revolución. They sent out 700 invitations, each of which included a sheet of letter-sized paper with a blank square to be filled in by the recipient according to the suggested theme. The invitation read: “We invite your participation in this mosaic on the complex and considerably contradictory theme of revolution, taking into account that the poetic message also plays a significant role in transforming reality.” Over the course of two years, submissions by 350 mail artists from 45 countries were received.

Pcrmachote1
Example of the sheet of paper sent to Colectivo 3’s network of correspondents.
Espacio para tu trabajo
Instructions reading "Space for your work here".

This heterogeneous ensemble of works that alludes to the Count de Lautréamont’s beautiful phrase “poetry must be made by all”1 is now visible here on post, after spending many years (twenty or thirty) under its guardians’ mattress. Recently I read that these are times more of usage than of ownership and I thought of Poema Colectivo placed on the web. This pleases me. I have a vague idea that with this action an ellipsis has been completed, an intention realized.

Poema colectivo materials example1
Poema Colectivo online on post.

“Thou Roman, remember to reign over all the towns with your imperium,” Virgil stated in the Aeneid. And I think of the legacy of Roman law and its consequences for humanity. Centuries of public and private rights have instilled in us the idea of ownership (res privata, res publica). Legally regulated ownership is only an appearance that we believe in and are forced to respect through the monopoly of constitutional power.

I am also thinking about the intellectual revolutions that art produces, about the words of liberation whispered by certain works of art, such as the Poema Colectivo: In the reality in which we live, things don’t belong to anyone; material transformations don’t belong to anyone; ideas don’t belong to anyone; everything exists to be used by everyone; that which is exhausted through use can stir up conflicts, conflicts can be resolved through words and tact, through love and care.

1.

Comte de Lautréamont was the pseudonym of Isidore-Lucien Ducasse (1846–1870), a Uruguayan-born French poet.

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