By Huascar Robles
To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to podcasts.
Unscrewing ourselves out of post-hurricane trauma
||CleanThe Death Discourse: Poetry in Numbers||4,645 people died after Hurricane María ---- 4 6 4 5 ----- The number? A report by The New England Journal o Medicine. The conclusion? Lack of transparency. This episode explores the poetry behind the discourse given to a nation in a state of shock.||6/11/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStatehood in Anecdotes||The funeral of a military man. A young man escapes homophobia. We all recall memories associated with our contentious relationship with our political identity. What is your anecdote of the concept of Puerto Rico Statehood?||7/3/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPuerto Rico para Cristo||--||9/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Puerto Rican SIlence||--||8/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanSilences: A Funeral and a National Strike||I went to Puerto Rico to bury my grandmother. There I found the national strike. This episode is about pausing, thinking and the silences we face during trauma. It also about images and surveillance, and how social and traditional media might evolve to.||5/3/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPR Artists Disrupt NYC: A Bilingual Episode||Bubu Negrón y Luis Agosto Leduc visited NY's NADA Art fair to raise funds for the Puerta de Tierra Brigade, an arts initiative to lift San Juan's Puerta de Tierra neighborhood into visibility. This is a bilingual episode.||3/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanDid Someone say Culture? Nope.||Puerto Rico goes into overdrive. Privatized PREPA. Ed system is overhauled. And bitcoin zillionaires move to PR. But where are culture and arts mentioned in our recovery? Also, the second half of photog Joseph Rodríguez's interview.||3/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPhotog. Joe Rodriguez in the House||Legedary photographer Joseph Rodríguez (Nat Geo, NY Times) talks life and death in Puerto Rico. Women take the streets of NY and my mom leaves for Puerto Rico.||1/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPuerto Rico's After Party||My mom adopts a pigeon. Puerto Rico dances in the dark and the First Lady thinks parks are pretty.||1/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Mother Storm||My mom relocated to New York after Hurricane María, a category 4 storm, eroded Puerto Rico's electric grid and killed close to one thousand U.S. citizens. In this podcast, I talk about moving her to New York,||12/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
How Not to Turn Away
It’s taken me a day to sort out my response to this podcast, having previously experienced the Fantasy Island performance Huascar talks about, and being very moved by it. I have little personal connection to Puerto Rico, and that show gave me the kind of heartfelt, pain-imbued perspective on PR’s colonial relationship to the US that I hadn’t previously understood on an emotional level. I had thought that statehood was the answer, but the performance made me see that self-determination and maintaining PR’s cultural integrity are critical. SGetting that message merged with the catastrophe of Hurricane Maria—and Huascar personifying the aftermath in the most personal of ways, through the experience of his mother—makes you feel that you must not look away from the situation. Yet, embarrassingly, I do sometimes feel the need to look away…because what else can you do, aside from donating what you can, knowing it’s not even a drop in the bucket?
There was some kind of relief for me in Huascar’s admission that he was planning to film his reunion with his mother, to put it within the framework of an observer in a way, and momentarily remove himself from the direct immediacy of the situation. It made me realize that even when Puerto Rico is your home, there is still that instinct to turn your head fora second, to pull yourself out of a primary equation.
Catatonia is so honest, raw, and insightful. I’m glad that it’s addressing the issues Puerto Rico is facing, and I’m looking forward to hearing viewpoints about what could and should be done, so we’ll all have better options than turning away.