Letter from the Future

Carlos Gentil-Homem, Humor, author's edition (25 copies)


My dear Carlos... was the time of Trojan horse, of Gutenberg and of the post-saussurean language – the model and remedy for all illnesses of communication.

It was a time of confusion, my dear Charles, and of imprecise limits, the time of prisons and typography. And of other matters, we will see later. The world's memory was encased in such prison, sinister warehouses of silence, known as libraries. One, a very famous one, was burned in Alexandria, but others, many others became indispensable during many years. In such a way that some of our historical anthropology technicians suggest that obscure age be called that of the libraries. Memory had been analyzed to the atomistic minuteness of the typographical characters, the lovely pictograms of the first age having been forgotten; in the meanwhile the great old dreams of plenitude and unanimity were confused in its absurdity and ambiguity. Today we begin to understand that it was a necessary period, but we cannot stop deploring the men of yesterday, mystified and tied to the bondage of a mechanical memory. was then       just before the year 2000        that the comics, the fumetti, let us say literature of graphic expression appeared or re-appeared: of little value compared with the advent of electronics, magnetic tapes and the first vestiges and prophecies of the necessary return to the oral predominance

but that little value                    action expressed through graphic

                                                 signs of instantaneous reading and


                                                 to the
                                                 ORAL COMMUNICATION

was immediately adapted by the vendors of the Temple and put at the service of the mass communications, that still was, predominantly, an operation on a collective level, a complicated system-to guarantee order – pax romana or any other – against the liberalizing disorder.

...even more significative however, was the dialogue      the polemics      the fight      the conflict!... between Poets and Good Thinkers. Because – in the truth I tell you – in those days, although mingled in the vast sea and necessary to the technological brattle and the understanding of builders, there were only two significant and meaningful words

those of 
the Poets                    difficult to define and the frequent object

                                                 of various mystifications    

those of the Well Thinkers        easy to define

...obviously, it was these last ones, for or against, who predominated in number. They spoke sagely and hiding behind non-existent beards (it would be extremely excentric) they defended the BOOKS. They had been instructed for that at the Official Schools where codification processes were undertaken and there were even comforting slogans carved out on slabs such as

                                        "Work gives joy"
                                        "Property is sacred"
                                        "Dog is man's best companion"
                                        "A book is man's best friend"
                                        "Give blood"
                                        ……………………………………………………….. this very well articulated Code they called Culture, Morals, etc. It was a strange spectacle: so many respectable people defending the precariousness and the dust of Libraries, at a time... 

...a time when already technology was showing the way of the great revolution of voluntary and instantaneous (...)

(...) is of interest to remember that men were ephemeral. They lived at the most 100 years less than a man to day needs to overcome adolescence ... 
Can you imagine it? They thought hurriedly between the satisfaction – if you can so call it – of two "necessities" they cleansed themselves provoking abundant foam from superfluous materials and excrements which his poor organic equilibrium incessantly     excreted     blood     sweat     tears, etc., Therefore, some other of our technicians of historical anthropology propose for the final phase of this period the designation of the era of soap and Cologne Water

this designation, however, has been efficiently refuted alleging his detractors that the use of those materials were not universal nor does it cover the total period.

...READING was a criteria of quality (although it had its detractors: "over reading led to disbelieving" said these anonymous healthy nonconformists) as art itself became to be "read", it was reading of a building, reading of a picture. It ended by ignoring that the work of art, is the sensitive part in its glory at the same time that the impetuous action is always renovated and renewable. (...)