ANTI/\OJOS is an online literary and art journal of monads, nomads, and pendululations, dedicated to the promulgation of the current intellectual cravings of The Kaki Planter.
On Antojos (Sans The “i”):
Julia Alvarez describes the Spanish word antojo (sans the antiojan “i”) in the first chapter (also titled “Antojos”) of her 1991 novel, How The García Girls Lost Their Accents (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2010):
“Actually it’s not an easy word to explain.” Tía Carmen exchanges a quizzical look with the other aunts. How to put it? “An antojo is like a craving for something you have to eat.” […] An antojo, one of the older aunts continues, is a very old Spanish word “from before your United States was even thought of,” she adds tartly. “In fact, in the countryside, you’ll still find some campesinos using the word in the old sense. Altagracia!” she calls to one of the maids sitting at the other end of the patio. […] The maid obeys. “In my campo we say a person has an antojo when they are taken over by un santo who wants something.” Altagracia backs away, and when not recalled, turns and heads back to her stool. “I’ll tell you what my santo wants after five years,” Yolanda says. “I can’t wait to eat some guavas.” –p. 8-9
Alvarez’s Yolanda has returned to the country of her birth after many years and has an antojo for guavas. The Kaki Planter is in a comparable position, and yet all she wants—to peel, to spoon open, to dissect, to gasp and giggle at the rot, to step on, to throw, to consume-consume-consume and finally be done with—is kaki, kaki, kaki.
ANTI/\OJOS has its origins in antojos—the sign and the signifier, the pull of all the seemingly uncanny life-coincidences that, when The Kaki Planter writes her larger narrative—will amount to “it was meant to be.”
ANTI/\OJOS also propels antojos—satisfies them—puts them into the world—asks for a witness (à la Cathy Caruth and Shoshana Felman)—says “look: the obsessions are here”—see them, dialogue with them, let us see what we can collectively call them, how we can shape them, how we can move our eyes left-and-right, left-and-right in an effort to let our larger societal amygdala process them.
ANTI/\OJOS is insatiable; there is always another antojo to which The Kaki Planter must attend.
ANTI/\OJOS is ANTI/\OJOS because it believes that most people are reluctant witnesses. A person may have 20/20 vision but may choose to see—may witness—nothing.
An ANTI/\OJAN Confession:
The Kaki Planter’s optometrist is dismayed. Yet again, The Kaki Planter has refused to wear her glasses—her anteojos—for fear of seeing the acne of the world, for fear of balking at the blemishes, for fear of society balking at hers, for fear of being bookish. Her vision has deteriorated.
However, there is hope: planting kaki, satisfying old antojos, and unleashing ANTI/\OJOS requires one to face and place one’s anteojos on the bridge of one’s nose.
The Upside Of ANTI/\OJOS:
Yet, a near quarter-century of blurred vision borne of the non-wearing of anteojos—the literal state of having ANTI (opposed to; opposite; the antonym of) OJOS (eyes)—has taught The Kaki Planter that 20/20 vision is not a prerequisite for seeing, for bearing witness.
It is the unfocused fog of these almost-25-years that can make one more perceptive in sight. It can make one more keen to sense the substance of the intangible as opposed to that of the tangible. It makes one see and witness more of what one does see, even while one is not seeing much else. It engenders a state of the hyperreal which might be closer to the real than the 20/20 “real” itself.
Yet, ANTI/\OJOS does not condone a life of visual fog; it does not condone only a hyperreal utopia constructed in the mind of The Kaki Planter. The years of fogged vision have taught The Kaki Planter that removing one’s anteojos to avoid the 20/20 is an indifference of comparable horror to that of a 20/20-seer refusing to bear witness. Neither are correct; both fall short of justice.
ANTI/\OJOS strives to generate dialogue between fogged vision and perfect vision—the hyperreal of one’s individual perception and the societal real (the “20/20” benchmark of sight). For many this dialogue may be a monologue of the 20/20—the definition of hyperreal itself—in which reality and its simulation speak in indistinguishable harmony.
However, in rare instances, one may experience a jolt in which one is aware of the societal real, one’s own hyperreal, and the narrow (if existing?) gap between both. In these moments, one understands the futility of choosing either the real or the hyperreal. Instead, one chooses to swing in mourning: to remain in a pendulum-like ululation above either terrain. In these moments of pendululation one acknowledges the monologue of the real/hyperreal and in doing so, experiences a sense of “meta” that engenders this very vertigo, this very mind-flight. While experiencing this vertiginous mind-flight, the intellect acknowledges that one is probably still stuck in a realm of the real/hyperreal, while emotionally, one swears that one remains hanging just above.
ANTI/\OJOS actively seeks this jolt; it aspires to stir talk of that hovering space.
ANTI/\OJOS strives to blast open this dialogue during the jolt—to bring a microphone, camera, and notepad to the pendululating trapeze artist—and say: use them, ANTI/\OJOS will witness.
“The Jolt” & Other Terms Commonly Associated With It:
The Kaki Planter has been influenced by ideas already afloat in the world.
The oneness of times and reality, above which one hovers. Walter Benjamin had the following to say about monads in his On The Concept of History (XVII):
“Materialistic historiography, on the other hand, is based on a constructive principle. Thinking involves not only the flow of thoughts, but their arrest as well. Where thinking suddenly stops in a configuration pregnant with tensions, it gives that configuration a shock, by which it cristallizes [sic] into a monad. A historical materialist approaches a historical subject only where he encountes [sic] it as a monad. In this structure he recognizes the sign of a Messianic cessation of happening, or, put differently, a revolutionary chance in the fight for the oppressed past. He takes cognizance of it in order to blast a specific era out of the homogenous course of history—blasting a specific life out of the era or a specific work out of the lifework. As a result of this method the lifework is preserved in this work and at the same time canceled*; in the lifework, the era; and in the era, the entire course of history. The nourishing fruit of the historically understood contains time as a precious but tasteless seed.”
The pendululating trapeze artist is a nomad by definition; s/he has no terrain. However, perhaps the nomad can build her/his own terrain on his/her own terms—amass enough debris from the air and glue together a small platform called home, identity. Dr. Lori Amy was the first to indicate this possibility to The Kaki Planter. The Kaki Planter hopes her hunch is correct.
The Angel of History:
The trapeze artist, then, is Benjamin’s Angel of History:
“A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.” –Walter Benjamin, On The Concept of History, IX.
What ANTI/\OJOS seeks in those it wishes to publish:
ANTI/\OJOS is insatiable. If you have it, ANTI/\OJOS wants it.
ANTI/\OJOS searches for writers and artists willing to be Angels of History in some incarnation or other.
ANTI/\OJOS craves monads, nomads, pendululations, trapeze artists, and everything in between.
ANTI/\OJOS wants all writers and artists to remember the following, taken from “The Writer’s Technique in Thirteen Theses” in Walter Benjamin’s Selected Writings, 1913-1926 (Volume 1, Harvard University Press, 1996, p. 458):
“Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens.” –Walter Benjamin
ANTI/\OJOS moves forward. It is a journal-in-the-making; it is alive and it will morph, intellectually, emotionally, psychologically, and physically, with age. It reserves the right to do so; it looks forward to doing so. It may or may not seek future editors to come onboard, it may or may not add/delete sections of the website. It is willing to experiment and allow time—past/present/future—to be the judge.