Haikus Sin Récipe (“Haikus Without Prescription”) is my cousin Luis Felipe Blanco’s blog. He began sharing his poetry in it in 2008, and worked on it with some regularity for two years, until his sudden death in November 2010. It contains 163 text entries, mostly poetry, in Spanish, English, and Spanglish (there’s lots of that). My project for Living Collections: Memory had two stages: first create an archive of the content of the blog, and later create a booklet with a selection of poems that would be accessible to my close family.
Servers, devices, and books all have expiration dates. My cousin’s blog, confined to the digital, rests on the safety and the policies of Blogspot, and so it was my choice to migrate the content to my personal hard drive. The booklet that I designed later is meant to facilitate access to the poems in a way that a computer cannot: a book is a physical object that prompts a person or a group to create a ritual of reading alone or aloud, or browse, undistracted by other elements, and without having to rely on a device. Some studies suggest that when content is stored away online it is often as though it disappears, since people are less likely to revisit it; digital technologies, when off, are opaque, black, and not readily accessible.
My editorial and aesthetic choices at the moment of designing the book were made purely out of instinct and personal taste. It was very challenging to complete a project within an Academic environment in which I had no other framework than myself and my relation to the material. However, as intended use had determined the format, approachability did influence some aesthetic decisions. For instance, I tried to overcome any possible barrier of taboo or literary distance between the reader and the content by hand-binding the booklet, using craft paper, and hand-writing the introduction.
The final product contains only a selection of poems by Luis Felipe and is subject to be revised and re-made in the future using different texts. It does not reference a particular historical event or site, but instead groups together fragments of a person’s creative output -which poses the possibility of reconstructing some sort of essence of this author, or his personality, or his character. In that sense, the booklet is also a memory probe that serves to trigger unique processes of memorialization of individual experiences with Luis Felipe that other readers, although related, may not think of or even know about.