ZAJ: Ephemerality as a Means of Resistance

Hidalgo, Juan. Viaje A Argel. Madrid: Zaj, 1967.

8vo; illustrated throughout with montages of photo and text printed in green monochrome; printed wrappers; spine and front cover a bit age toned. Near fine.

First edition. Inscribed on the eleventh page to an American fan Juan Hidalgo had met during  a concert and performance tour of North America in Spring, 1973: Para Bob, Maria y Sam, Desde Batalla Del Salado, 1. Con Amor, Juan. Madrid, 18-5-73.

Juan Hidalgo and Walter Marchetti (who is credited as editor of this volume) were avant-garde composers and intermedia artists who, along with writer Jose Luis Castillejo, were the leading figures in the Spanish ZAJ movement. ZAJ was closely aligned with the ideas of John Cage (who was in turn ZAJ's biggest supporter) and loosely affiliated with such parallel movements as Fluxus in the United States and Gutai in Japan. In Spain, which was under Franco's fascist rule, ZAJ's avant-garde aesthetics also developed, by necessity, a political dimension not present elsewhere. ZAJ's devotion to chance, to unscripted and unrepeatable modes of working, and to radical combinations of media which blurred the line between performance and reality, made for an art that could elude authoritarian constraint. ZAJ performances were underground events, staged "without permission" on trains, in public squares, private homes, and other improvised settings. Ephemerality became a means of resistance. This book combines graphics, photos, and text (in Spanish, Italian, English, Arabic and other languages) into a whole that is part concrete poem, part musical composition. Its blank areas are meant to represent the censorship of the fascists while also evoking Cage's concept of Silence--the conflation of these ideas is quintessentially ZAJ.
 
A very scarce publication, and genuinely rare inscribed.
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