Monday, May 8, 2023

From Dust and Air, my Grandmother and a Windmill by Arnaldo Drés González

Photography artwork by Arnaldo Drés González
Documentation by Allan Ginsburg.

From Dust and Air, my Grandmother and a Windmill.

By Arnaldo Drés González

Between popular songs about windmills, thinking about my home, communication from the distance and the migrant feeling, the concept of a physical postcard is multi diverse. The written postcard, with images, moving image or with a voice message, as what we have in contemporaneity, expand the possibilities of continuing to inhabit our memories and remembrances. 

The mill element was often used for decades to describe literally or figuratively fictitious texts of folk wisdom and the history of a nation's development. In Spanish culture, for example, sayings, riddles and songs abound, which now survive in printed texts and some audio recordings with different fragments that can be found on the web. Many songs tell us about mills, miller, mill woman, millstones, wind, wheat, corn and stones. Songs that have been sung, covered and reinvented by generations of our ancestors over the years. Our grandparents surely know this very well. It is obvious how important mills were as an integral part of everyday life, and even past life, in a society where everyone went to get something simple like bread. Today, traces of a social, industrial and cultural evolution of the mills remain. Their imaginary being portrayed in postcards for tourist consumption. For some it will be only beautiful images of a place, for others, an image that tells us much more about what we see.

How much can a postcard of the old Buenavista mill in Sa Punta des Molí (1818) in Ibiza portray, narrate or evoke? Is its existence a myth in its own aura? Are the blades of the mill a myth of the temporality of global life? Something like when everything starts and returns to its starting point. Like the migration of my grandmother from the Canary Islands to Venezuela in the fifties due to the serious economic difficulties that Spain was going through since the late forties, and nowadays, the migratory turn of her descendants to their point of origin, like me, who have migrated from Venezuela to Europe while other migratory waves are happening to other parts of the world in the XXI century.

A curious case is that near the Molino de Sa Punta des Molí there is a house where the well-known German philosopher of Jewish origin Walter Benjamin (Berlin, 1892 - Port Bou, Spain, 1940) lived, who reflects in his writings about his life and his history through his collection of postcards, including those missing postcards with which he allowed himself to inhabit those landscapes that his traveling grandmother sent him from her travels around the world. Probably, the same thing happened to my grandmother in Venezuela when she saw photographs of me in the snow in Germany, which I shared with her from a distance by instant messaging from my cell phone. However, this ability to inhabit is also possible from the stories that people tell, sometimes sung in traditional songs and that, like a photography, a drawing or a painting, transmit images to our imagination. It is like a small window that expands like a ray of light when we open it with our heart and emotion.

"There is a secret agreement between past generations and the present one". "The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again".

Fragments of theses 2 and 5. Theses on the philosophy of history, 1940.

Walter Benjamin

"From Dust and Air, my Grandmother and a Windmill" is an artwork presented at the first edition of the contemporary art event ENTRÁNSITO, at Centro Cultural Sa Punta des Molí - San Antoni de Portmany (Ibiza), April 2023.

Click to listen to the Soundscape 

Soundscape Description Translation from Spanish (Original) to English

The wind can be heard and maybe some waves from the sea as a group of women try to remember to sing a couplet about a mill: 

In the mill no air passes and olé, no air passes and olé, no air passes and olé. 

Someone in the group corrects them: Should this be repeated or not?

They sing again: Knead the dust and the sand 

A new correction: is Flour!

They begin again:

Knead the dust and the flour that carries the air and olé, that carries the air and olé, that carries the air and olé, olé, that carries the air.

A singer appears:

Because the miller says he has no one to go with him, come with me to the mill and you will be my mill woman. You throw the wheat in the hopper, you throw the wheat in the hopper, while I pick the stone, come with me to the mill and you'll be my mill woman.

A voice message from my grandmother from Venezuela appears:

Hello! A lot of snow, my love, a lot of snow? Oh, be careful! You'll get cold, you know. Hey Arnaldo, how will that be, my love, there with the snow and then drinking a cup of hot coffee, right? Very good. 

Look, it gave me a thrill. I don't know how many weeks it's been since I've not seen your brother, but he has to comply with his obligations. Well, my love, God bless you, a big, big hug! And a big kiss! Please give your sister a hug for me, I send it to her. Did you get it? O.K. God bless you.

Other women's voices join in singing:

Miller, miller, only my mill knows, how much I love you, Oh my miller! And in the happy moment where the blades of the mill are stirring, there was heard a lament of a divine kiss, of corn and wheat so divine. Miller, miller, only my mill knows, how much I love you, Oh my miller! Singing and dancing and thinking of my poor miller, I go through life without another partner, of corn and pleasant wheat. Miller, miller, only my miller knows, how much I love you, Oh my miller!

Installation Arnaldo Drés González, photographed by the artist.

"From Dust and Air, my Grandmother and a Windmill" is part of the project "Resguardo y Presencia/ Shelter and Presence" that explores the appropriation of materials from the urban landscape to recreate the ambiguity of human relationships, social values, tensions and conflicts of everyday life. Based on the allegory of the green fabrics that cover the facades of disintegrating buildings and protect nearby passersby, Arnaldo Drés González turns these functional aesthetic appearances into poetic narratives that together with the intervention of the human body in video and photography generate metaphors of existence, fear, shelter, identity, transit and territory.

Arnaldo Drés González (b. 1986, Caracas - Venezuela). Since 2014 lives and works in Hamburg, Germany. Graduated from the fine arts department of UNEARTE in Caracas (2011) and holds a master's degree from the Hochschule für Künste im Sozialen (HKS) in Ottersberg, Germany (2016). In 2015 he won the honorable mention award at the 17th altonale Art Festival in Hamburg. 2019 was selected as a guest artist for the program "Stadtlabor" at the Performing Arts Festival Berlin. In 2021 he was nominated for the art prize of the Atelierkate Lesun in Bremen and invited to the solo exhibition for emerging artists at the Affordable Art Fair Hamburg. His work has been exhibited in national and international art festivals, galleries and fairs since 2008.


Arnaldo Gonzalez website & Instagram

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Carmen Cristina Ferreyra Gómez by Caryana Castillo

Caryana Castillo's poem and artworks presented here celebrate her grandmother Carmen Cristina Ferrera Gómez. I had the chance to meet Caryana during the EnTransito Art Festival taking place at Sant Antoni de Portmany in Ibiza; see her work on Instagram 

Carmen Cristina Ferryra Gómez by Caryana Castillo.


Sensual antorcha que calienta y brilla
de violencia llanuras y montañas;
fuente de sangre, airón de maravilla,
cuaja ardor de verano en tus entrañas.

La flor de fuego en tu corona humilla
la luz caribe en que tu copa bañas,
y el paisaje antillano se arrodilla
a tu lumbre, hecho de miel, entre las cañas.

De tu destello en el rubí prendidos
púrpura en llama el horizonte hiende
cristales tintos en insolaciones.

Y entre el cielo y la tierra sorprendidos
en la enramada tropical se enciende
la rebelión de esclavos corazones.

José Agustín Balseiro


Corazón en flamas
Me ha encontrado una palabra, se aferra regia y con garra de mi pecho, combate mi ferocidad, no puedo resistir su influjo, se prende a mi corazón.

Invade todos mis sentidos, embriaga fuerza y voluntad, extingue mi rencor, no quiero resistirme a su influencia, es suyo mi corazón.

¿Cómo puedo expresar este mensaje glorioso en el instante de la ebullición? Borboteo repentino recorriendo los anillos cartilaginosos, abriéndose paso hasta los bronquios principales y sus ramificaciones, alvéolos floridos. Desde la Carina traqueal hasta las pupilas, volcán de lágrimas en erupción.

Rojo, sangre, carmesí, tomate, fresa, frambuesa, manzana, cereza, óxido, vino. Naranja, calabaza, mandarina, melón, amarillo, cadmín, canario, carambola, ocre, dorado, ámbar, ron. Fucsia, rosa, magenta, sandía, cajuilito, cuarzo, ponche, atardecer, sol, llama, flama, flamboyán.

Follaje denso y muy extendido. Flores grandes con cuatro pétalos iguales y un quinto que sobresale como un penacho de ave manchado de blanco y amarillo, luminosas gigantes rojas en la Tierra.

Colocados los colosos de 8 metros de elevación, flamboyanes, uno al lado del otro, en gran número, frente a un espejo incorpóreo que refleja sus pares formando un túnel incandescente. Soy un glóbulo rojo transportado en el caudal de la vena, deseando llegar al corazón. El corazón es una mujer rechoncha y blanda que me abraza y me besa, que huele a talco y a chinola, que se ríe a carcajadas de las palabras inocentes, que cuida de los animales y protege a los niños, una mujer que cose y teje y que guarda dos latas de galletas de mantequilla, una para los hilos y otra para los hijos.

Allí, donde empezó mi vida antes de que yo naciera, es el lugar a donde me han conducido los flamboyanes: Concepción de La Vega, la mina de oro más rica del Caribe, para mí, símbolo de mi feliz infancia.

He aquí el amor, cayendo como lluvia permanente de pétalos escarlata, como rayitos de luz que se cuelan por los pequeños huecos entre los folíolos primarios y secundarios de las largas hojas del Árbol del Fuego. Cálida oscuridad de ojos cerrados al fulgor del verano. Caricia sincera del sol en la mejilla. Dispongo de tranquilidad para jugar con las partículas de polvo encendidas, chispas que giran y se apagan. Maravillada con cada gota roja que suave se posa ora en mi pelo, ora en mis manos.

Descanso. “…El amor a la naturaleza no da trabajo a las fábricas… Las flores y los paisajes tienen un grave defecto: son gratuitos.”*

En consecuencia, recibo la bendición de mis ancestros, así como de mis familiares del hoy, para pintar, con plena confianza, una flor de pasión y sangre que brota del Santo Cerro, donde venció la traición.

—¡Oh amor mío! ¡Qué maravillosamente hermoso es estar vivos! Con el alma de tu cuerpo, con tu latido…

*Sobre la obra: «Corazón en flamas», año de realización: 2020, serie: “Patrimonio Natural”, tinta sobre papel, 42 cm x 27,9 cm, por Caryana Castillo Referencias y fuentes de inspiración: “Un mundo feliz” – Aldo Huxley. “Quién fuera” “Corazón en fuga” – Silvio Rodríguez . “Sin tu latido” – Luis Eduardo Aute.




Sensual torch that warms and shines

of violence plains and mountains;

fountain of blood, air of wonder,

heat of summer curdles in your bowels.


The flower of fire in your crown humiliates

the Caribbean light in which your glass bathes,

and the Antillean landscape kneels

to your fire, made of honey, among the reeds.


Of your sparkle in the ruby ​​lit

purple in flame, the horizon cleaves

tinted crystals in insolations.


And between Heaven and Earth, surprised

in the tropical bower lights up

the rebellion of slave hearts.


José Augustin Balseiro


heart on fire

A word has found me; it clings royally, and with a claw to my chest, it fights my ferocity. I cannot resist its influence; it clings to my heart.

It invades all my senses, intoxicates strength and will, extinguishes my rancor; I don't want to resist its influence, my heart is yours.


How can I express this glorious message at the moment of boiling? Sudden gurgling through the cartilaginous rings, making its way to the main bronchi and their ramifications, flowery alveoli. From the tracheal carina to the pupils, a volcano of tears in eruption.


Red, blood, crimson, tomato, strawberry, raspberry, apple, cherry, rust, wine. Orange, pumpkin, tangerine, melon, yellow, carmine, canary, carambola, ochre, gold, amber, rum. Fuchsia, pink, magenta, watermelon, cajuilito, quartz, punch, sunset, sun, flame, flame, flamboyant.

Foliage dense and widely spread. Large flowers with four equal petals and a fifth protruding like a bird's plume spotted with white and yellow, luminous red giants on Earth.


Placed the 8-meter-high flamboyant colossi, one next to the other, in large numbers, in front of a disembodied mirror that reflects their peers, forming an incandescent tunnel. I am a red blood cell transported in the flow of the vein, wanting to reach the heart. The heart is a plump and soft woman who hugs me and kisses me, who smells of talcum powder and chinola, who laughs out loud at innocent words, who cares for animals and protects children, a woman who sews and knits and who keeps two cans of butter cookies, one for the children and one for the children.


There, where my life began before I was born, is the place where the flamboyants have led me: Concepción de La Vega, the richest gold mine in the Caribbean, for me, a symbol of my happy childhood.


Here is love, falling like a permanent rain of scarlet petals, like little rays of light that slip through the small gaps between the primary and secondary leaflets of the long leaves of the Tree of Fire. Warm darkness with eyes closed to the glare of summer. Sincere caress of the sun on the cheek. I have peace of mind to play with the ignited dust particles, sparks that turn and go out. Amazed by each red drop that softly settles now on my hair, now on my hands.


Rest. "…The love of nature does not give work to factories… Flowers and landscapes have a serious defect: they are free."*


Consequently, I receive the blessing of my ancestors, as well as my relatives today, to paint, with full confidence, a flower of passion and blood that sprouts from the Holy Hill, where treason was defeated.


"Oh, my love!" How wonderfully beautiful it is to be alive! With the soul of your body, with your heartbeat...


*About the work: "Corazón en flamas," year of completion: 2020, series: "Natural Heritage," ink on paper, 42 cm x 27.9 cm, by Caryana Castillo References and sources of inspiration: "A happy world" –Aldo Huxley. "Who was" "Heart on the Run" – Silvio Rodríguez. "Without your heartbeat" - Luis Eduardo Aute.

Caryana's portraits of her family and her grandmother.