From this side you can see El Yunque The idea of a map
as big as an island The piercing words of our struggle
sometimes clear and sometimes still unfinished.
covered in clouds that soak it The roads of new neighborhoods
and make it grow. somehow strangely familiar.
The German shepherds
From Vieques in the yard we just passed by
Puerto Rico to get to the campsite.
Is Coconut palm trees,
El Yunque. pillars of our dreams of open skies.
A building taken over
and a library full of documents
A solid vision someone would rather have forgotten
that changes and upholds the horizon. or destroyed.
In the remote premises
Of our first rebellion
Was the only country.
And the water between islands
was the territory.
Water of night, fired up sea, photovoltaic cell
we are. Cosmic creature that never figured out
its place in the universe. We’re breathing in
light and tomorrow we too will shine.
In the distance:
The state of the matter of ecosystems.
The galaxy's time with no end.
The sand, the memory of sand
inside the hammocks.
What does light sound like at night
what is the cry of a school of sardines?
how much does a skinny horse weigh?
Neighborhood of protests Institute for Community Struggle
Occupying the military zone Continuous revolution
Glorious picket lines Cautious victory
A people's choreography Fisherman's Festival
May 4, 2000 Cheché Ayala
to love or to die
the paddy wagon
Obstructing military maneuvers
the first time a judge tries a case
at the Ceiba naval base
Puerto Rico's illness is oblivion The brave fishermen of Vieques
“I too threw rocks and other things” confronting the warships
the role of heroism in civil joy with their little boats.
The depths of the warrior sea.
Explosive depths of the sea.
*These excerpts are part of Subtropical Dry, written in August 2015 in Vieques, Puerto Rico, during the itinerant seminar. SONIDO VIEQUES, Beta-Local Summer Sessions, organized by Beatriz Santiago Muñoz and Michelle Nonó in collaboration with Radio Vieques.
SONIDO VIEQUES was a walking seminar and collective sound project on the island of Vieques. The seminar focused on the sensory, social, and material traces in preparation for war. Vieques was used as a bombardment field and military base by the United States Navy for 60 years. The Navy occupied about two-thirds of the island’s territory, which was used for live ammunition bombing, warehouse, and base. In 2003, after decades of community struggle and intensified periods of direct resistance or civil disobedience, the Navy was forced to close the base and suspend its practices.
Beta-Local sessions are a series of experimental seminars anchored in geography, local knowledge, emerging artistic practices, and the political and social conditions of Puerto Rico. The exuberant tropical ecology of the island coexists with environmental devastation, institutional mimesis, deterioration, post-industrial and post-military spaces—as well as a growing social movement that seeks to understand
and transform these conditions.