ESENDOM’s Amaury Rodríguez and Nelson Santana interview Daniel Infante, co-founder, with Belén Oteiza, of Papá Bocó [Editorial artesanal Papá Bocó—entrevista a Daniel Infante]. Here are translated excerpts:
With the advent of new technologies a few decades ago, the disappearance of books seemed imminent. The last few years have shown the opposite due to the appearance of a number of proposals for specialized work and hand-crafted books, as is the case of artisanal publisher Papá Bocó—a home-grown workshop—fruit of the collaboration between Belén Oteiza (Argentina, 1992) and Daniel Infante (Dominican Republic, 1987). This experiment and cultural production initiative has one foot in Argentina and the other in the Caribbean.
ESENDOM interviewed Daniel Infante about this new project, which combines literary research and certain aspects of digital culture. An M.A. candidate at the School of Architectural Design and Urbanism of the University of Buenos Aires (FADU) and professor at the University of Buenos Aires, Daniel Infante studied architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in Santiago, Dominican Republic. For the last three years, he has dedicated himself to examining, with a critical and detective-like eye, the Caribbean literary presence in the city of Buenos Aires, starting from the key figure of the Dominican intellectual world, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, and following the pathways of Latin American and Caribbean cultural production from a transnational perspective.
How did the Papá Bocó artisanal publishing house begin?
A few years ago, in a used bookstore on Corrientes Avenue, I was amazed to discover a book entitled Las corrientes literarias en Hispanoamérica [Literary Currents in Latin America]—a series of lectures that Pedro Henríquez Ureña delivered in the 40s at Harvard University.
At that time, I did not know everything about the life that Pedro Henríquez Ureña had led as an educator with Ezequiel Martínez Estrada in the city of La Plata [Argentina] and his enormous collaboration with Victoria Ocampo for the literary journal Sur.
Imperceptibly, that book instantly implied a need for a revision of all my previous knowledge about our literary culture, awakening in me a huge interest to study Caribbean literary work in greater depth and a curiosity to unearth the bibliography of work that arrived in the city of Buenos Aires from the Caribbean.
Then it became a habit, in the process of researching on Dominican literature in the used bookstores of the city of Buenos Aires. I must have made about eighty trips to different parts of the city rescuing books from moisture and dust.
Recently in Vicente López, I found a poetry collection by Antonio Fernández Spencer entitled Diario del mundo, the one that appears in the hands of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges in a photograph that they took together a neighborhood of that city.
Another day, I traveled to Lanús Oeste to find a play by Héctor Incháustegui Cabral entitled “Miedo.” On the bus, on the way back home, I read a quote by T.S. Eliot, “I will show you fear in a handful of dust,” and, in the distance, the unmistakable voice of Pity Álvarez echoed “Una vela, dos velas, tres velas…” [from the song “Una vela” by Intoxicados]. In the middle of this journey, the editorial project Papá Bocó arose. An artisanal laboratory of homemade books made in Buenos Aires focusing on the Caribbean archipelago.
In the process, the publishing house tries to build a new space for publishing experimentation, dissemination, and research on island literature. [. . .]
[Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero from the Spanish language original; continue reading at https://esendom.com/cultura/2018/7/15/editorial-artesanal-pap-bocentrevista-a-daniel-infante.]