Theses Doctoral

Oficina fantasma: tecnología, escritura y prácticas editoriales en América Latina (1964 – 1984)

Becerra, Felipe

This thesis focuses on publishing projects developed by Guillermo Deisler, Felipe Ehrenberg, Ulises Carrión, and Mirtha Dermisache between the 1960s and 1980s in Latin America and Europe, a period marked by the expansion of new mass media and an expectation of political radicalism in Latin America and Europe. By taking charge of the entire publication process, these authors established circulation networks that sought to circumvent institutional frameworks, redefining fundamental concepts for the modern aesthetic code such as author, reception, and work.

This thesis argues, however, that this redefinition was not exempt from concessions and negotiations with the cultural, commercial, or political institutions to which, in principle, they opposed. Through an analysis focused on the material aspects of the various publications, my research conceives the technologies used and hinted in the production of these works – the manual platen press, the mimeograph, the typewriter, handwriting – as the place where a series of contradictions linked to the relationship between culture, institutions, and technology materialize. Against the common interpretation of using these devices and techniques as an anti-institutional gesture, the three chapters of this manuscript examine the office origin of these technologies to compare these projects with writing and printing practices that remained excluded from the literary, artistic and publishing market spheres.

I conceive these technologies as transaction vehicles, where the limits between what enters and what is excluded from culture are constantly reimagined, and, at the same time, as bureaucratic phantasms, that is, as the imaginary scripts that the authors elaborate to “work out” the anxieties generated by modernizing processes at different levels of culture. In these projects, the office thus evokes bureaucratic values such as productivity, individualism, and commodification, which permeate them both as object of rejection and desire, of aversion and fascination, without a sharp cut between one approximation and the other.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Latin American and Iberian Cultures
Thesis Advisors
Montaldo, Graciela Raquel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 13, 2022