THE ALBUM OF FENCES
by Omar Pimienta
Translated from the Spanish by José Antonio Villarán
April 2nd, 2018
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Omar Pimienta documents what living on either side of a militarized border does to a community, how it distorts, breeding suspicion and lies. Here a father brags he has always crossed using a false ID, never through the desert, and a son crosses easily once he has (or claims to have?) a job building destroyers. Here a guard demands that a woman breastfeed an infant she’s carrying to prove that it’s hers. Pimienta allows ironies and horrors to speak for themselves – and they do. Loud and clear. —Rae Armantrout
In Album of Fences, Omar Pimienta writes the membranes that thrive between the sensed-real of the culturally residual and the liminally sensed hyper-real of the culturally emergent. His vision isn’t of an epiphany variety, but rather is borne of a subtle constructivist process of cultural shiftaramas. Writ large into being are alter-selves that get marked up to what Guillermo Gomez Peña has called, “the mainstream bizarre.” Nimbly threading History’s objects ('nation', 'family', 'selfhood', 'city', 'work world' 'friends'), Pimienta guides us into and out of a Borderland Capture-Zone. The result is a transnational, infra-biographical holography that sets the stage for a lived-life poetics. The creative tension between “biography” and public myth—is nothing short of dazzling. —Rodrigo Toscano
Pimienta is an alchemist of memory, turning simple snapshots into legends, fathers into brothers, heroes and ghosts. His Tijuana is not a wall but a magic portal. —Mike Davis
Omar Pimienta is an interdisciplinary artist and writer who lives and works in the San Diego / Tijuana border region. His artistic practice examines questions of identity, migration, citizenship, emergency poetics, landscape and memory. His work has been presented in museums and cultural centers of the U.S. Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Morocco, and Spain. He has published four books of poetry: Primera Persona Ella (La Linea/Anortecer 2004); La Libertad: Ciudad de paso (awarded the 2006 CONACULTA / CECUT Publication prize); Escribo desde Aquí (Pre-Textos 2009, awarded the Emilio Prado 10th International Publication prize from the Centro Cultural Generación del 27 Malaga Spain in 2009); and his most recent book, Álbum de las rejas, (Liliputienses 2016). He is currently a PhD candidate in Literature at the University of California, San Diego, and he received his MFA in Visual Arts from the same institution.
Jose Antonio Villarán is the author of la distancia es siempre la misma (Matalamanga, 2006) and el cerrajero / the locksmith (AUB, 2012). In 2008 he created the AMLT project, an exploration of hypertext literature and collective authorship; the project was sponsored by Puma from 2011-2014. His third book, titled open pit, is forthcoming from AUB (Lima) in 2018. He holds an MFA in Writing from the University of California-San Diego, and is currently a PhD student of Literature at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Some of his translations from The Album of Fences were published in Entropy Magazine and Boom California.