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FUSIONED - DIRECTED - WRITTEN AND CORRESPONDED BY: MENASSA 2002
DON'T KNOW HOW TO SPEAK BUT WE DO IT IN SEVERAL LANGUAGES
GRIS, IS A PRODUCT
INDIO GRIS Nº 100
WITH THE POET MIGUEL OSCAR MENASSA
Carmen Salamanca: We
are going to publish Los otros tiempos
(Other times) and Yo Pecador (Me, the
Sinner), from 1970 and 1975, in Las
2001 Noches (2001 Nights), but in 1971, in between, there is the Cero Group
First Manifesto. Several things from this manifesto captured my attention, I'd
like you to explain a little to us how that time was. In the manifesto you
explain the motives why you didn't enter the APA and because of which you joined
Platform Group. It says: "We know that we aim to a finished product which
has demanded for its completion long years of work". That about a finished
work sounded as if the APA couldn't give anything more. Here you show some
reasons why you joined the Platform Group, when Pichon Riviere accepts to
psychoanalyse himself with Angel Garma, both of them being founders and the
experience lasts four months.
Oscar Menassa: 15 questions, each time you resemble more a Spanish
journalist. As I didn't answer you quickly, as they are each three minutes, you
stopped me and you asked me 15 questions, that is what they always do. Don't you
see that when children go to the radio they can't even talk, the only one who
talks is the journalist. When it is my turn, I speak, but I answer whatever
comes to my mind.
1971 Manifesto? In 1971, Buenos Aires was Greece in its splendour, Babylon in
its splendour, an unforgettable process was about to be born. The world forgot
about it and the Argentines, too. The only one who remembers it is me. It was an
unforgettable process, we had
in our thought and in our words the chance to make a different country,
here the military coup took place. The Argentine people had a sort of happiness
for having thrown out a dictatorship, of being able to vote the candidate they
wanted to vote, the entire left was in the government, what the left had been.
In the same way that that entered in the people, more or less at the same time,
perhaps some years before, psychoanalysis made its official appearance in
Argentina; two currents appeared which destructed it: the Lacan trend and the
materialistic epistemology. It is nowadays that I say they destroyed it,
practically they no longer exist, but it was one of the most important
organisations in the world and it produced psychoanalysts, now we don't know
what it produces, now they are discussing if psychoanalysts have to be
psychoanalysed or not, so that we don't know what it produces, but at that
moment it produced psychoanalysts.
even Lacan followers were able to understand him, neither did the Argentine
psychoanalytical society. The materialistic epistemology is interesting if one
applies it on oneself, it is equal to the psychoanalysis, if I think that poetry
is a work, it is a work and this means that I have to run the risk that you, one
day, may work better than I. Now if poetry is born in my mother's womb, you
won't ever be able to write as I do, nor better than I. they are two different
conceptions of life. I remember having delivered a course on epistemology with
Raul Sciarretta to the teachers of the APA, who after separated together with
the Document Group, because there were two groups that splitted the
international at that moment, a group called Document, which soon disappeared
and had few publications and afterwards the Platform Group, which left no work
published, it has no movement.
you ask me that, in reality, you are asking about what happened with my life. I
think that in the end what had to be done by Platform Group, that was to be the
Freudian left, which was the way in which they introduced themselves, was a work
which was done from 1971 to 2001, that is to say, 30 years of Cero Group. I
think the Cero Group can be the Freudian left, because all those thoughts that
have to do with the production of citizens such as Freud, Hegel, Marx, Lacan,
Heidegger are taught in its classrooms. And then about 4,000 poets, because in
the 71 Manifesto you can realise that many poets are mentioned, as if saying
that if you don't have those poets within the system you can't found a group,
you can't found a school. Well, really, there should be another thousand poets,
it was a manifesto, one can't name them one by one.
I'm going to do with the picture, that is to spread black everywhere is very
ugly and I don't advise you do it, because it spoils everything, everything is
spoilt. A very interesting conversation.
was a very interesting moment. At that moment, for example. Allende was in
Chile, Cuba was doing well, it was a moment in which we thought that Latin
America might have had another destiny, everything was
interesting, there were new tendencies in all places. Exactly, nothing
happened, but it happened, it was discovered that the ones who said they wanted
to make the revolution were the children of the small bourgeoisie or the
bourgeoisie, angry with their parents and, of course, the revolution failed.
Yes, here you warned about that. It says: "That issue that can be seen
superficially as a simple act of revelry of some wayward children from the great
patriarchal family", I know that you aren't saying the same thing, you say
not to get confused with that, "our index fingers born to point out,
show and gloat with that though, superficially, can be seen as a simple
act of revelry from some wayward children". After, what you said about
Bleger in the First Manifesto.
Read what it says.
"We will allow that you name them, that you remember them, however we can't
stop mentioning something that demonstrate clearly that wars are terrible, that
someone will always have to die, that there will always be war scars, traces of
war that are very painful because beloved beings suffer them, we are saying that
we are sorry for the death of José Bleger".
The man hadn't yet died and Menassa said "we are sorry for the death of
Pepe Bleger". Go on.
"That from the beginning he fought for all the possible apertures of the
psychoanalytical movement, committing lots of mistakes, it's true, but
initiating many lines of thought of an inestimable value; but perhaps because of
his age ( age sometimes causes these things), perhaps because of bad companions
(bad companions many times influence really) at the moment of choosing, instead
of choosing life, he chooses death".
Do you know why it says that? Because the guy was invited to process what was
happening in Cuba (he was an important psychoanalyst who could have attracted
others with him, other younger psychoanalysts) and Israel, and he went to
Israel. Then Menassa says that he died, when he went to Israel. What
really happened is that he died of a heart attack two or three months
have many stories like these, for example, it happened to me with Lacan
followers, especially with one of them who was previously going to review the
works that were going to be presented to J.A. Miller, the clinical cases, and it
happened that the guy died from a heart attack in Tucumán, in an Argentine
province, where, to tell you the truth, people die from hunger, nobody dies of a
heart attack in Tucumán. A heart attack, how ridiculous!
He was unique.
In San Miguel de Tucumán people die from starvation, from anger. Though I may
die from a heart attack, I think that people who die from a heart attack are
people who haven't given out their hearts in a balanced way.
His ideas died, his heart died…
A grown-up who loves his mother more than his or her fiancée, that one has more
probabilities of dying of a heart attack.
Because he hasn't given out his heart in a balanced way…
he hasn't given out his heart and his emotions in a balanced way.
You name Pichon Rivière. Did you know him well?
I had a strong and important relation with Pichon Rivière, I'd been staying for
a few days at his house.
Relation in the sense that you name him as a leader of the Platform movement.
Well, that was what the Platform Group said, afterwards one should see if they
did well. Pichon Rivière was the maestro of all the psychoanalysts that there
were and there are in Argentina, in the sense that, don't you see that
Argentines have an appetite for the grupal activities? That was invented by
Pichon Rivière. And he was also a great clinic physician, he possessed a great
psychoanalytical intuition, though when he wrote theoretically he wrote about
other things, but he had a great psychoanalytical intuition. Besides he treated
mad persons as normal persons, he treated psychoanalysts as if they were mad
persons, he was a true genius, the guy. I stayed in his house for eight days,
because I happened to ask him ( in a disrespectful way, I was very young, I was
around 23) if he knew something about aesthetics, surely because it was
something I didn't understand at that moment. He told me yes and got up, went to
the library and started to bring aesthetics books, he covered the table with
them, 220 aesthetics books, he had a huge library. He looked for certain pages
and read me paragraphs, from each book he read me four or five paragraphs and
this way we spent eight days sitting at the table. When I fell asleep, in an
hour time he woke me up with a coffee and milk and we continued there sitting
until he finished all the books and when he finished he told me: "I know
nothing about aesthetics, it is everything in the books". But to know that
I had to stay eight days reading without moving, without making love, that at
that time to be eight days without making love, do you know how it was like?
Well, I made love in that way, as Amelia Díez would say, but of course, that is
something I can understand now that I'm almost at the cemetery, but it was
difficult at that moment.
In the semen-terio? (Cementerio in Spanish)
Yes, we called cemetery to the place where the dead are, I don't know how you
call that here, perhaps they call it "florid dance"
No, I heard semen-terio.
Ah! from semen. What happens is that cemetery is a very strong word for me. It
might be that I don't dare to join it. Do you understand what I say?
It is different for the one who listens than for the one who says it…
Tell us something more about Pichon Rivière.
He had the School of Social Psychology that I think still exists. Pichon Rivière
had to do with the invention of the suicide's telephone. He had this telephone
and people called and all the people working on the telephone when a guy that
wanted to commit suicide called, one had to ask him/her "whom do you want
to kill?" and with that many suicides were avoided, because the truly
important thing is to discover, together with Freud, that the suicidal person is
a shy murderer.
They called him/her the anonymous suicidal person.
Yes, something like that.
that suffered a lot. I don't know what is true or what is a lie, for example, it
was said that the first wife of Pichon Rivière (who was also a psychoanalyst),
invited people for dinner and committed suicide. Odd people… One day she made
a wall in the house, when he wanted to enter the house he couldn't. Very odd
people, people who suffered a lot. Things always happened to him with the books,
with the libraries. I had a problem with exile but I had to exile myself so that
the same things that happened to my maestro would happen to me, that
always had problems with his library, he would lose it. Federico, one of our
friends, maltreated a woman so badly, that she took his library with 5,000 books
and 6 unpublished novels and gave them to a beggar who was going by for … 40
Euros. I exiled myself to destroy my library, so that the same thing that
happened to Pichon Rivière could happen to me, but of course… Now, I have a
very nice library, now yes, now I'm almost happy because I have a fantastic
always wants me I give an additional touch. He likes one of my paintings
but he would have liked me to add another more brush stroke, he likes one of my
theoretical works, but he would have liked it more corrected, he likes one of my
classes but… I think that people ought to be shown things just as they are,
what the hell! Afterwards I can demonstrate him that I can correct one class, I
have already demonstrated it, some of my writings are classes made into
writings, but I like the people to see them. for example, to do this that I'm
doing, I don't know if he would do it, but as it is within my theory that one
has to show how things are done, that the population shouldn't be deceived any
longer. Maybe this is devaluating my painting, people say: "Look, what a
beautiful painting!" and they tell them: "But if he did in 25 minutes
and on top of it he does it while delivering a conference, while he quarrels
with Miguel Martinez and while he answers Amelia Díez
a question she asked him last Wednesday morning". Nobody will pay
for something that is made in such a way. Who's going to pay for it? But it
doesn't matter, there must be intelligent people and we will find them.
Things are made not born.
When you speak that way of linking that you have seems to be wonderful. Well, I
Read it, read it.
When you speak about separating yourself from Pichon Rivière, you abandoned the
APA (Argentine Psychoanalytical Association), you formed the Platform Group, two
groups are made, you say…
No, no. Pichon Rivière is prior to Platform group, Platform group are the
disciples of Pichon Rivière.
Well, it started then. It says: "The end of a therapeutic relation, the
relation between Angel Garma and Pichon Rivière and the beginning of a crack in
the bosom of the APA that caused a final and immortal separation in two groups
which produces the appearance of the original repression in the psychic
apparatus, founding two instances, the Unconscious and the Pre-Conscious,
unreconcilable and different form that moment on. On one hand a group that
thinks and that determines, their leader Enrique Pichon Rivière with his
vicissitudes in the fight against repression.
On the other hand, another group appears and creates the false illusion
of being the only one, their leaders, the others, their vicissitudes not to
think, to repress, to hide. A group which won't be able to think because in no
way the time for killing can be the time for creation".
What does it mean? I want your idea, I'm also interested in your ideas.
I think that the APA stays in the place of pre-consciousness, that is what it
seems, that creates the illusion of being unique.
But that's no interpretation of yours, that was what happened, because if not,
30 or 40 years later it can't be that their psychoanalysts want to stop
psychoanalysing themselves, it means the concept of unconsciousness doesn't
exist in that school, because the unconscious as it is said by Freud is
immortal. What does immortal mean? That it is born when the individual is born
to the word and dies when the individual dies for the word.
Yes, but I think the reading that you made is marvellous, it surprises me
because you were so young to think such things.
We were very studious. We didn't think those things, those things were thought
by Marx, were thought by Freud. Do you understand?
And don't you dare to ask where we took all that from, because as you know or at
least should know, fantasy constitutes itself by après
That is Freud, that is Lacan, it isn't us. They say, how can it be that being a
psychoanalytical school which teaches Freud and Lacan, they don't know that
these people say these things?
They do it without them.
Last Sunday you talked about the importance of reading, it seems to me a good
reading of the situation.
It is like pertaining to Cero Group without Menassa.
How she loves me, that girl…
: But there is some reason.
She has some reason, how a movement, a group, will be without that one who is
creating that movement, that group? Because the matter is that people
participating of the group, of the movement, aren't thinking these things, they
are using, they are trying to see how they fix their own things. Instead,
Menassa's things are Cero Group, he has no other thing.
"We didn't take our decision alone, we were helped and encouraged by many
people, but some names appear clearly, Juan Carlos De Brasi, Armando Bauleo, Raúl
Sciarretta, who, from the uncertainty of the theory or else from the certainty
of the ideology, taught us that there was only one way of thinking and that that
way occurred in clandestinity, away from any institution, in uncertainty, away
from any psychological security, in silence, giving the back to
It is a good question, now I will answer it, but you have to say, because it
doesn't seem right that apart from those three names that were alive at that
time (one of them died, Raúl Sciarretta), many teachers are named, you can't
lose that. And those three alive men are named because it is true that it
doesn't matter what the teacher does, it matters what the disciple thinks the
teacher wants for him. Then, evidently, Armando Bauleo was a maestro in the
subject of ideology, because far beyond the matter that things went well or not
for him, he was the one who told me how things should be done, afterwards he
couldn't do much, but, who is worried if the other can or not? I listened very
much to Raúl Sciarretta in that sense at that time. And Juan Carlos De Brasi is
named because he was the only person close to me, who more or less wanted
something from theory, afterwards I knew no one else, of all my psychoanalysis
teachers, none of them loved theory. Pichon Rivière was the revolution made
into a song, the other I don't know what, the other one wanted to eat everything
without knowing what he was going to eat… But they talked, they sent me to
read Freud, they sent me to read Marx and I went and read. The only difficulty
for them was that one, I imagine they recommended the same thing to everybody,
but try to find someone who really reads. People remains with what the other
says. Sometimes I say foolish things to see if the other one goes and reads, to
see if they go and check. No, ten years go by and the guy made a complete
elaboration with that foolishness that I said to send him to read and I didn't
get him to read. My teacher's disgrace was that I was a reader. It was a
disaster, the same with you people, you don't know the mess it would be for me
if you sit down and read. Because I can't recommend you to go and read Freud and
afterwards my whole life is opposite to the Freudian indications about life. Is
it understandable or not? More or less.
They sent you to read. Let's see, what does it say here: "To put it
in a wild way, unimaginable horns sounded in our heads. The First Surrealist Manifesto, when Breton charges ferociously against
the Dadá Movement and abandons once and forever the security of uncertainty,
when he proposes to sow children everywhere, when he chooses poetry, when he
advises to set off along
the roads. Set off along the roads. The Neruda of Residencia
en la tierra (Residence on earth), the Pavese of Trabajar cansa (Working makes
the Faulkner of Mientras yo agonizo (While
I agonise) or Palmeras Salvajes (Wild
Palm Trees), the Sartre who stubbornly speaks about freedom, which he never
achieved, the Joyce of Ulises, the
Miller who at forty decided to leave his office to become the writer, who would
make fun of everyone and of himself, because it is the same in the end, death is
unavoidable, the Vallejo of Los heraldos
negros (The black heralds), the Maiacosvsky of La nube en pantalones (Cloud in trousers), the Esenín of his Guapo
(The Brawler), the Arlt of Los siete
locos (The seven crazy men), the Tuñón of La
calle del agujero en la media (The street of a hole in the socks), and
fundamentally, because if not you wouldn't understand a thing: the Marx of El capital (The capital), the Freud of La interpretación de los sueños (The interpretation of dreams).
For sure, other horns sound today in our heads and an infinite happiness in our
were the books which they sent you to read.
Of course, they sent me to read those books, I could care less if maybe they
hadn't read them themselves, I read them with zeal because they seemed to me…
It is true that I began to read Freud and Marx before I met these people, but
precisely because of this I could know them so well.
of them, who is now one of the directors of the Lacan School, gave me
linguistics classes when I was very young and he talked to me about the
linguistic value, and he explained it to me and when he finished I told him:
"It is the same way of determining the concept of value in Marx" and
the guy told me "No at all". I didn't answer anything to him but at
that moment he had to leave to the Lacan School.
He refused that someone else could be there, too.
Exactly, although the one who they would have to make appear was another one
whom they wanted to sell. You can see this in the economic failure of the
psychoanalytical international organisations, it seems that the guys didn't
manage it correctly, they wanted to sell something that didn't suit them. Why
should a psychoanalyst pose himself leaving psychoanalysis? because he doesn't
like it, because he believes that the unconscious finishes, because of all the
foolishness why fifth category patients don't follow a psychoanalytical
treatment. That is serious, they continue working as psychoanalysts, they go on
charging for interpreting the unconscious, but they have no unconscious. Gee!
How strong, it is very strong.
why they don't name me president of the whole world? Because I would send all
those to peel potatoes and they are intellectuals, people that went to
university, I would send them to plant potatoes and besides I would open a
research among the cultivators of potatoes to see if some of them is worth for
Of course, you talked about the APA as a finished product, in that sense of
Immobility in the sense that the guys, when they posed themselves to read Freud
according to the materialistic epistemology, they had to alter Fenichel's list,
the last book Fenichel was reading, was The
interpretation of dreams. In realising that The
interpretation of dreams was the beginning of the psychoanalytical theory,
so that if I want to study the
psychoanalytical theory I have to start by studying The
interpretation of dreams. And afterwards to study Lacan as they did thinking
that it was something new, without realising that Lacan was Freudian, another
error, they divided the matter in two, the Lacan followers and the non followers
of Lacan, when in reality, there aren't Lacan followers, there are Freudians,
among them Lacan. Look at Lacan followers, who want to study Lacan without
Freud, or with a little bit of Freud, or with a lot of J.A. Miller and little
are not doing well for them.
years were needed to see that it was an error. But Freud was very intelligent,
Freud realised about that because before writing Más
allá del principio del placer (Beyond the Principle of Pleasure), he had
already realised that because of a wrong managing of the theory at that
moment, people were pissing out of the jar, let's say. That is why he had to go
further on the theory people believed it was the unconscious, beyond the theory
of pleasure and displeasure, but because they were deviating from it.
The people who thought those things before "Beyond
the Principle of Pleasure", it's Ok, but that they think about it
afterwards. What is scandalous is to think about it now.
Not at that moment, at that moment it was being thought so that it would be
easier for us. Now, we study it and we make it more difficult.
It isn't the same to be prehistoric before the Greeks than after the Greeks.
Can I ask you a question about painting?
How have you done to put a black background and afterwards adding light colours
on top and not stain them? The yellow didn't mix with the black below, is the
black below dry?
No, not at all. I didn't do it with the brush, I did it with the spatula.
Nevertheless, here I'm doing it with the brush and the yellow doesn't stain with
the black, either. I did it with a spatula not pressing it much. Do you
Yes. before, when I said that Argentines have a taste for what is grupal, I
remembered of a spot I saw yesterday on television in Discovery Channel. Of the
Argentine Advertising Association, or something like that, the advertisers. It
starts with two people looking at the camera and the background is Almafuerte's
verses, Sonetos Medicinales (Medicinal
Sonnets) " "If they humiliate you a hundred, you stand up…"
all that sonnet as background and the people would say some phrase. Do you know
what the spot was about? About the struggle against multiple sclerosis which
produces a lot of symptoms: loss of balance, problems with uttering words,
falls… It seemed incredible to me.
That was what Pichon Rivière said in his first studies (it doesn't matter if he
did them or not), the important thing is to think it as he said it), he said
that he had studied all the grupal question, he had studied it in football
teams, he liked football very much. They were about to make a film about Roberto
Arlt, and came to ask me if I knew something because as I used to see Pichon
Rivière quite often… And I told them a little but I think they didn't believe
me, they didn't like the ideas I had.
think that The seven crazy men are
seven friends of Roberto Arlt. "The melancholic brawler" was the image
of Pichon Rivière, Arlt takes it from Pichon Rivière and he takes it well
because Pichon Rivière when he spoke jokingly used to say the psychoanalyst was
the brawler of anguish, the dandy of anguish, who earns a living with anguish,
other people's anguish. Do you understand it?
His friends make him tear his first manuscript of The
seven crazy men. The anecdote about football is that Arlt didn't like
football, and one day he went with Pichon Rivière and fell in love with
football. He explained to him the grupal components, " did you see what
belonging is?" and the other was astonished. Arlt was a genial novelist and
someone who could talk so much about that foolishness that football is, left him
someone were behind me he would tell me that I have finished the painting.
So, in The seven crazy men the
melancholic brawler was Pichon Rivière and here you mentioned six participants
of the primitive Cero Group…
Yes, the pride of any group in Buenos Aires was to be "the seven crazy
men", it was a pride. It was very difficult.
Freud also formed a committee of seven.
Yes, seven must be a cabalistic number. The painting is ready.
And don't you think that all this is in vogue today?
am not sorry for being
don't give literally a damn
may see, my little orphans of love,
and I, darling, we are a grandiose thing.
is why I believe that your silence is a backward step, like a fall, never
as if you stopped dancing with me. That is why I still write to you as if
I were whispering in your ear, as if your chest were beating constantly
In your ear, do you
understand, as when your legs are intertwined with mine.
I look forward to your
letters as revolutions are waited for. That is to say, I wait for your
letters actively, I paint and I write all day, to convince you that I have
no time left to make love.
Look, doctor, I think I have understood everything: not quitting smoking,
nor quitting gambling, nor quitting fucking. To leave, I will have to leave the
relations that imprison me.
I have the necessity of feeling free, well, I have to write very
I look at myself in the delirious mirrors of today's world. The greatest
deformities go by in front of my sight. The most secretive sins. The greatest
foolishness. The most hidden hatred.
I have lived in my own family the most ridiculous events of the century,
the serpents of madness and mendicity. I have seen my closest relatives walking
the most sordid streets, looking for a piece of bread.
All the horror was shown to me.
All the breath of death and madness was thrown on me.
I haven't slept well for centuries and since one hundred years ago, the
torturers don't even allow me to dream.
We continue the next
betrays beyond love is always treason.
lover can forgive his couple going to bed with anyone, but if one talks
with anyone about everything one hears by our side, that's treachery. It
is better not to forgive, there is no more love.
the first three times, without a pinch of inventiveness, of talent, no
relation, not even with poetry, remains alive, hot.
feels envious, it shouldn't be considered in no case.
out to the streets is expensive, the poor people say, and that becomes
wanted to love, I wanted to make love and, in reality, I almost accomplish
thought love was what was done in my motherland. How many times I was
blind! Stupid, old-fashioned, moralist, son-of-a-bitch, a dog. How many
times I tortured myself! I wanted to be the best in everything. I ended up
wanting to fail better than anyone and almost accomplished it, if it
weren't because anguish pointed out errors, I would have been blind up to
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