The story is a series of portraits, taken in Paris, of friends and readers of Cortázar.
The work is visual, playful and participative.
Each of the 70 participants had to:
a. Choose a fragment of the novel Hopscotch that mentions a place in Paris
b. Have their portrait taken in the chosen site Explain why they chose it
c. The project seeks to create a hopscotch of images that weaves together the personal stories of participants with Cortázar and Paris.
Why Cortázar now?
Because 2014 is the 100th anniversary of his birth and 30th of his death. I wanted to join the wave of celebrations and carry out a project to discover his readers and the city where he wrote most of his books.
But how could I do an unexpected work about a narrator of unexpected stories? How could I avoid repeating the eternal system of articles, interviews, chronologies, walking through the same old angles?
I tried an answer by basing my narration on three central concepts: visual, playful and participative.
1. The photo essay had to be a dialogue between texts and images.
2. It had to be playful just like a hoptscotch.
3. And participative like Hoptscotch a book that required the participation and complicity of the reader. It could be read from beginning to end or following a predetermined order of chapters to discover a second story.
The set guidelines were straightforward: the participant had to choose a passage of the book Hopscotch that mentions a place in Paris, and explain his/her preference for this passage and place.
The photos were taking in black and white as wink to the passage of time, to the half a century that passed since the publication of Hopscotch.
I aspire to deliver participants and readers an unexpected experience.
There is not one prearranged narrative sequence but many. They depend on the participants’ decisions and in the readers’ choices.
The story got written as participants chose their passages and places.
The audience will find several possible readings when “playing” with the images.
The photo essay can be experienced in three formats
1. Its online version, here www.hugopassarello.com
2. It also “fits” into a book-object format. Seven numbered envelopes and one stone are kept inside a book shaped cardboard box. The envelopes represent the hopscotch’s squares. Each conceals a photo. The reader has to display them like a hopscotch and then throw the stone to play and unveil the stories hidden within each envelope.
3. The third format is the exhibition. Under each photo hangs a booklet with the participants’ name. The visitor opens it to discover the chosen place, fragment and the participant’s story.
Info on the photo essay
Dates: Photos were taken between September 2013 and August 2014.
Participants: 70 people participated. Among those portrayed are close friends of Cortázar, such as Julio Silva, his best friend, who chose to be photographed by the writer’s grave, in Montparnasse cemetery, decorated with a sculpture done by Silva and chosen by Cortázar just before his death.
They also participated: painter Antonio Seguí, writers Martín Kohan, Alberto Manguel, Pablo De Santis, Ana María Shua, Tununa Mercado, el cartoonist Rep, among others.
Press: The work has been feature in a documentary on Cortázar broadcasted in French national radio France Culture.