Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

An Unsentimental Education: Affective Creativity in McOndo and Beyond

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2018), 95, (1), 93–111.

Abstract

This article revisits the anthology McOndo (1996), edited by Alberto Fuguet and Sergio Gómez, and suggests that this collection might be reappraised by considering the affective charges of the moods and atmospheres that circulate throughout these stories. Proposing an exploration of ‘affective creativity’ in relation to the historical contingency of emotional experience, I argue that McOndo manifests the emergence of an aesthetics of non-transcendent emotions – an aesthetics that probes, engages with and resignifies trivial forms of feeling. I suggest that such an aesthetics responds to the proliferation of new modes of production and consumption that extend their reach into the affective life of individual subjects, and to the disenchantment with forms of artistic and revolutionary militancy linked to the projects of radical social reform of the 1960s in Latin America, which often banked on the ability of feelings to drive subjects towards transformative action.

Este artículo relee la antología McOndo (1996), editada por Alberto Fuguet y Sergío Gómez, partiendo de una reconsideración de los humores y las atmósferas afectivas que circulan por estas historias. Explorando la ‘creatividad afectiva’ de estos cuentos en relación a la contingencia histórica de la experiencia emotiva, propongo que McOndo manifiesta la emergencia de una estética de emociones intrascendentes – una estética que privilegia, interroga y resignifica sentimientos triviales e insignificantes. Este artículo sugiere que esta estética responde a la proliferación de formas de producción y consumo que extienden sus modos de operación a la vida interior del sujeto, así como al desencanto con formas de militancia política y artística asociadas a los proyectos de reforma social de los años sesenta en América Latina, ligadas a la supuesta capacidad del sentimientos de conducir al sujeto a la transformación radical de su entorno.

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Arellano, Jerónimo