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Euskal Idazleen Elkartea

Joseba Aingeru Santxo Uriarte > Extractos


2005 | Bilboko Udala

Inconsequential (Lecturas en el Arenal. Readings in the Arenal)
Bilboko Udala, 2005)

– Superb, Silvia! Wow! Really cool!

– Did you enjoy it, Jon?

–Did I enjoy it? I haven’t enjoyed something so much in ages. And the best thing was the dessert: crispy pastry with toasted cocoa, extract of sweet tobacco perfumed with little flowers, a light crème made with Venezuelan chocolate and a frozen coconut topping. What a mouthful!

–Well, Kerman told me the inspiration for that dessert came from Richard Serra’s work “Snake”. You know, that huge, metal snake, the one in the main exhibition hall.

–Actually, I’ve never been inside the museum, but the name of the dessert we ate is just like a snake, very, very long.

–The name is long, certainly, but the night is short, but the main reason why I called out the “famous” detective Jon Ibarra was to solve a case.

–Stop taking the piss, Silvia. As yet I am neither a detective nor famous. I’ve been at the academy for detectives for less than a month. But, anyway, I’m prepared to make an effort for your friend Kerman. Well, more for you, Silvia, than for him, you know, you and me.

–Come on, Jon, don’t get romantic, because we’re here to work!

–So let’s start from the beginning. When did the tins of tuna start disappearing from the kitchen? Ha, ha, ha!

–Don’t laugh, Jon. It may seem funny to you, but my chef friend Kerman is in a tight spot, because the head of the kitchen has started suspecting him.

–And what are they going to do if they catch him? Punish him by making him go without dinner? Smack his bottom?

–Bloody hell, Jon, stop taking the piss, my friend’s job is at stake!

–OK, OK! Blame it on the Campillo ’94. You know I enjoy drinking good wine.

–Let’s go to the kitchen, Kerman will be looking for us by now. He’ll tell you how to get into the museum without anyone seeing you.

–Why “He’ll tell you”? Aren’t you coming with me or what?

–I’ve got something else to do. The security guard there used to be the boyfriend of my sister Sara, and he’s promised me that he’ll leave the burglar alarm disconnected tonight, so that you can do your investigations without having to worry about anything. I’m off to see him right away, you know, in case he changes his mind at the last minute...

–Bloody hell!! I’d prefer to be the security guard than go after some wretched tins!

–You’ve got a wretched day today. Let’s get to the kitchen once and for all, before you get completely pissed!

–Kerman, this is Jon the detective. Jon, this is Kerman the chef.

–Pleased to meet you, Jon. I’d really appreciate it if you could help get me out of this mess!

–I’ll do whatever I can. Silvia has made it very clear to me that your job is at stake.

–I’m a bit embarrassed about having to ask for help all because some tins of tuna have disappeared, but the fact is tins of tuna have really been disappearing and today the boss has given me a second warning. I think the matter of the tins is just an excuse. Because apart from that he can’t stand the sight of me. I’ve been wondering whether he might be the thief. But that has to be proved! I’m off now, Jon. I’ll turn off the lights, but you stay behind the door and wait for the thief. I’ve got the tins of tuna in that cupboard. I’ve moved them lots of times, but it’s no use. It’d be great if the thief turned out to be my boss. He’s such an ass!

Click. The servant has turned off the lights and has left me here. If it hadn’t been for Silvia, I wouldn’t have got mixed up in this for the whole night. The fact is, I’m here illegally. All I need is for that half-baked head chef to see me here and think I’m the thief. I’m going to creep outside and see if I can see anything. There isn’t much light, but the emergency lights give out a little bit of light in this cave. The stairs are over there. Up we go, you get a better view of things from above! The way here is also free, up we go! Bloody hell, it was a bad move to decide to become a detective! I’m shitting myself! There are some sculptures over there, I wonder whose that one is... O-tei-za. Hell! He’s well known! But you can’t understand that kind of art. Let’s see what it’s made of... Klung, klung! Iron or… That’s funny! This iron is hot and this sculpture is not next to the radiator. Phew! The bit in the middle burns! What kind of sculpture is this? It has a title, at least: Spatial disoccupation of the sphere1. The name isn’t as long as that of the dessert, but it’s just as incomprehensible! Hey! I can see something inside the sphere, a face or something. Bloody hell! That’s my own face and there’s no in mirror there! To hell with the tins of tuna! I’m getting out of here! Hang on a moment, Jon. Now I can hear a voice. This is amazing! Let’s see what it says:
Are there any tins here as well? That’s all we needed! This is so eerie. I’m going back the way I came, and to hell with the tins! My ticker is worth more than all those tins!

–‘morning, Jon. It’s Silvia. I’m calling to find out how yesterday’s investigations went. Any news?

–Any news? Jon is shitting himself. I’m not going to do any favours like that again, not even for a thousand lunches!

–And the tins of tuna? Did you find anything?

–Find anything? I nearly had a heart attack. When I touched a sculpture it was baking hot. Then I saw my own face inside it, and then I heard a voice saying over and over again: my work will never be put in a tin. So, with my heart in my mouth, I went back to the kitchen, hid in a corner and waited there till Kerman showed up this morning. Then he helped me get out.

–And the case?

–Well, unsuccessful, nothing came of it. Sometimes it’s better to accept one failure, than fail twice.

–And what about my friend, Kerman?

–I told him the truth. What do you expect me to do! Anyhow, if it’s just about a few tins, I’m prepared to buy a whole boxful.

–Jon, don’t say stupid things. Drop the case if you want, but don’t make fun of Kerman’s job.

–Sorry, Silvia, you’re right, but I’m telling you I was scared alone and at night in the museum, or to be more exact, assuming I was alone, you see I just don’t know what to think...

–I forgive you, Jon, but I won’t call you again. Next time, you call me if you want something. I’ll see whether I can help you out or not!

–Silvia, don’t get mad at... (pip... pip... pip...) Shit!

–Silvia, it’s Jon, Jon Ibarra, for God’s sake don’t hang up! What happened at the Guggenheim was three months ago and even now I feel guilty.

–It didn’t matter that much. You did what you could, at least.

–Anyway all the tins showed up behind one of Oteiza’s works the following day, empty. Someone must have had a tuna feast right there when they’d had enough of the art! The case has not been solved, but Kerman kept his job.

–I’m over the moon, Silvia. Honest. But afterwards I wasn’t myself. Will you believe me if I tell you that since that night I haven’t been the same? I got sick of museums. Now I need nature, empty spaces. I have to go out into the country every day or see the sea. I’ve grown to like nature: wind, water, wood, iron, fire...

–You haven’t gone nuts, have you?

–I don’t know whether I’ve ‘gone nuts’ but the mind I had before seems to have emptied out and now I think on the basis of emptiness, I feel from emptiness, I see from emptiness...

–Ok, ok, Jon, you sound like one of those artistic geniuses!

–Do you fancy going for a walk with me? That way I can tell you about more sensations...

–To be honest, I don’t feel much like...

–Then I’ll just have to think you are still angry with me.

–All right, Jon. In half an hour’s time at the Arrikibar restaurant, ok?

–This part of Bilbao is lovely in bright sunshine, isn’t it, Silvia?

–It does have its charm, certainly. But keep moving, otherwise people are going to think you are a statue.

–Don’t even mention statues to me. They are the corruption of art. Prefabricated art, dead art. Real art is different.

–Good God! All of a sudden you’ve changed from being a detective to being an art expert!

–No, I haven’t. But I see things differently now. You think I’ve gone nuts, but ever since what happened at the Guggenheim... I felt like an empty person, as if somebody had emptied out my head.

–Stop it, Jon, if you’ve called me to tell me that kind of stuff, you’ve got another thing coming. I’m turning back and heading for home!

–Don’t get angry, Silvia, but now I understand art differently. Look, look over there! Look at that huge glass cube above the old Alhondiga
2. Doesn’t it look sublime?

–What huge cube?

1 Original title of the work in Spanish: “Desocupación espacial de la esfera”.

2 Bilbao’s old municipal wine storage facility.
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