'Love, literature and film are observed in a very integrated way in any of Cocteau’s frames'

By Roberto Salas. April 15, 2013


Roberto Salas (1983, Madrid) is a creative editor and writer at Machines Désirantes Buró. In addition to his work as a writer, he participates in several projects related to music, literature and art. He is a member of the Autoplacer / Sindicalistas collective, which focuses on promoting self-released music, and of the Fast Gallery collective, which is devoted to artistic experiences and exhibition events. Salas is also the creator of the blog La Década Ominosa T.V “Literatura Catódica”, which focuses on the relationship between literature and audiovisual formats. Soon we’ll be able to see him at one of this spring’s publishing events Libros Mutantes at La Casa Encendida. He will be presenting his La Década Ominosa project there, in which he has gathered together some of the craziest TV appearances made by great contemporary literature authors. His selection of videos below reveals some of his interests.

Credits of 'Fahrenheit 451' - Truffaut

My fascination with literature is comparable only to my passion for dipping into the sea of rubbish that is YouTube. The videos I’ve selected here could be joined together to make a single tape or, even better, a single novel. So, what better way to kick off this selection than with some good opening credits. And there are none more beautiful and unsettling than these to express the clash between these two mediums.

'Dear Todd' - Dennis Cooper

In this 1987 programme directed by Bob Holman for a North American TV channel, Dennis Cooper recites, “It’ll get worse soon I’m sure. So what? But it’s like at the end of a song that sounds great when you’re stoned, once it’s crashed down, and you sit there with your eyes closed, and what you’ve just heard reverberates for a long time”. It’s the end of a fragile, sincere and heart-breaking poem that I can’t imagine seeing on current Spanish television. A violent sadness pervades the small screen. Could this be what people are referring to when they say TV is bad? And that TV is 'the villain'?

'Ubú Rey' - Alfred Jarry

The sense of revulsion that Ubú emits in this 1965 adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s play, produced by Jean-Christophe Averty and broadcast on French television, can remind us of the strength of the televised image when it comes to caricaturing to the point of muñequismo– the aims of those in power and their obsession with retaining their cushy jobs: all that merdre they make us digest sometimes.

Leonardo Sciascia on Pasolini

There are thousands of cases of stories on YouTube where one of the protagonists is assassinated halfway through. We are becoming increasingly aware of what the best medium is for broadcasting continual sources of praise. The message flies through the television, archives and testimonies are gathered together, like that of the writer Leonardo Sciascia about his relationship with Pasolini the poet and film director who was assassinated in 1975 under circumstances that are as yet unclear.


'Murder She Wrote'

In effect, as we seem to be finding out, the relationship between literature and moving images is highly suspicious. I’m not sure who commits the crime, or if it actually occurs, but I’m sure that Angela Lansbury would put her own life at risk to get to the bottom of it.

Corín Tellado

The current manufacturer of false controversies, of malicious cases and strange criticisms that our responsive television is, is in many cases to blame for tremendous downfalls, but also perhaps responsible for implementing justice.

'The Testament Of Orpheus' - Jean Cocteau

Love, literature and film are observed in a very integrated way in any of Cocteau’s frames. This sequence from The testament of Orpheus with its intellectual lovers could be presented as irrefutable proof of this process.

Miguel Ángel Martín

All you need is not love but sex, or even better sexual violence. And that is just what this 1995 video shows. In the sick relationship between television and comics, the only way to do it is to get it all in, and right where it hurts the most. Don’t worry though; at the end it shows that he likes it too.

'El Eterno Femenino' - La Mode

The novel ends up re-counting interferences, browsing the YouTube sticker album, re-categorising it over and over. It is about familiar information that is increasingly muted and spreads across genres, formats and mediums: novels, music videos, opening paragraphs, poems, film credits, photo novels, interviews and comic strips. LDO has room for it all, even the admired Zurdo in La Mode and the not as admired Ordovás, in this clip from the programme Pista Libre.

An unfinished story.

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