Paraguayan Sea (2017-2018)

The public art work Mer Paraguayenne / Paraguayan Sea was a collaboration between Andrew Forster and Montreal poet Erín Moure on the exterior of Concordia University's EV building on Ste-Catherine St., in downtown Montreal (2017-18). Erín Moure's translation of Wilson Bueno's Mar Paraguayo. Installation and 'Iguana' typeface designed by Andrew Forster. Wilson Bueno wrote several books fundamental to contemporary Brazilian literature including Bolero's Bar (1986)and Cachorros do Céu (2005). Mar Paraguayo (1992) is a work of Bueno's written in a mixture of three languages: Portuguese and Spanish (or Portunhol) and Guaraní (the most common language of the Paraná region,an official language of Paraguay and one of the most widely spoken indigenous languages of the Americas). In living use, Guaraníis often 'code switched' with Spanish and Portugues mixes with Spanish as Portunol. In Mar Paraguayo the narrator drifts dreamily through both lingustic and gender boundaries while negotiating physical decline in the Paraguayan sea town of Guaratuba, Brazil. Moure's translation for the Montreal street is into Frenglish (an English inhabited by French) while leaving the original Guaraní in place. The yellow band of text (1.5m x 70m) wraps around the ground floor of the building. The text can be read continuously by walking around the building, and then re-circling to find a line left off a block away. Or it can be burrowed-into at any point.

Erín Moure's translation of Mar Paraguayo is published by Nightboat Books, NYC (Paraguayan Sea, October 2017).


one dusk après une autre I sit ici on this sofa diagonal to the window, and in sitting it’s presque as if everything’s crumbling into bits: cramps in the guts: setting sun weaving humid nuances: spaces from où move déjà les occupations cérémoniales of light and lune: between the crowns of sombreros or entre les durs vides of the fig tree that devastate into shadow and suspicion in the crépuscule of the sea resort: figuier, couronne, sombreros: la ancestral speech of fathers and grands-pères that infinitely vanishes into memory, they entertain all speech et tricot: these Guaraní voices simplement eternalize as they go on weaving: ñandu: there is no better fabric than the web des feuilles tissées all together, ñándu, together and between the arabesques that, symphonique, interweave, checkerboard of green and bird et chant, in the happy amble of a freedom: ñanduti: ñandurenimbó:

: here I sit: ñandu: to inflect into the crochèterie my ñanduti renderings: ñandutimichĩ: smallest ti-fleur that persists with the needle barely for the excruciating patience of a few hours: in these sutures, salt clocks, that keep themselves smeared with the fluctuating couleurs du coucher du soleil that play themselves out in les automnes de maintenant: here ñandu: an opacity of feeling: je m’assois: assise: ñandu: my cancerish word is s’asseoir: me voir: ñandu: winter more than automne panique autumn: ñandu: what is the secret of identité entre these deux things absolument distinctes: spiders and scorpions?

Round table with Erín Moure (translator and poet), Sherry Simon (Concordia University, French Studies Department), Andrew Forster VIDEO LINK [video credit: Victor Arroyo, FOFA Gallery, Concordia U.]

installation documentation: