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Exhibit Page

Remembering El Corno Emplumado

by Sergio Mondragón Back to landing Jump to page

(Sergio Mondragón gave this talk in Mexico City on January 16, 2015, at the University of Mexico’s Tlatelolco Cultural Center as part of a panel on El Corno Emplumado. Translation: Margaret Randall.)

El Corno Emplumado’s editorial adventure began for me almost casually toward the end of 1961. I was finishing up my journalism studies and doing some reporting for the Mexican magazine Revista de América. It was October, and I’d just interviewed the painter David Alfaro Siqueiros in prison; he was a political prisoner at the time. Among much else, I’d asked him about his relationship with the US painter Jackson Pollack, and the supposed influence the Mexican muralists had on that school of which Pollack was a pioneer, the school that in the United States would later be known as Action Painting.

I was immersed in writing and researching that interview, when my classmate at the school of journalism, the poet Homero Aridjis—who had just published his first book—invited me to meet the Beat poet from San Francisco, California, Philip Lamantia. Philip had arrived in Mexico City shortly before.

The economic support from government institutions ended abruptly, and the “forces of order” hunted down the Movement’s protagonists and many of its sympathizers, those who had escaped with our lives. It dispersed people, forced them to flee, submerged them in silence and into a long and humiliating assimilation of the tragedy. One voice, as we know, raised itself the day after the massacre and in the midst of the confusion that followed. It’s important to remember it. Days after the massacre and from his diplomatic post in India, Octavio Paz renounced his position as Mexico’s ambassador to that country in protest against that which had been perpetrated.

The depth of the historic insult inflicted upon our youth was of such a magnitude that today, almost 50 years later, expositions and events such as these continue to question, interview and write about the Student Movement of 1968, as opposed to the oblivion and indifferent demands in which some still wish to embalm that horrendous history, and resulting from the growing interest that the events of Mexico 1968 continue to awaken. And we can listen to people, weathered by age, with broken voices and holding back their tears, speak of the details of their participation and of the quota of suffering they have had to endure.