The loophole in The Suppliers

Bill Woodrow, Wilson's Phalarope (94_03), 1994
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By SILVANE ORTIZ*

Comment on the work The suppliers, by José Falero

“Barbaric mangrove called market \ Tears, blood, vacuum-packed sweat \ And in the pieces, the class looks at each other but does not see each other \ This concrete veto rips open the chest \ The thing is a subject, the person, an object \ Everything inside out \ O The end is the beginning \ I want to have eyes to see” (La Comuna. El Efecto, Trupe Lona Preta).

When reading the impactful work The suppliers, by José Falero – an author from Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, peripheral, phenomenal – a series of questions about the sociability of subjects are asked of us. The text immediately draws attention to the quality, both technical and artistic, present there. It's one of those books that, once you start, you don't want to put down. The writing is engaging, the characters and their stories are interesting, as they are grounded in reality. But this article is not about this work. At least not immediately, this is not literary criticism. The intention here is to investigate the concept of gaps.

Breaches are small openings in isolated structures through which external elements can infiltrate that environment. When these appear in strategic places, they can have a major impact on their – intended – hermeticism, even compromising their structural composition. When translating this concept to the social sphere, analyzing it from the perspective of critical sociology, one can observe both the attempt to close social structures in the face of what is not convenient for the maintenance of their architecture, and the punctuality and value that crossings , sometimes random, have on the subjective construction of the subject and how these reverberate in the systematic structuring of society.

The movement, facilitated by these micro-openings in the social fabric, is not restricted to material ascension. It carries, even more intensely, the ability to generate recognition of the structural systematicity of the living conditions experienced by the subject, as well as the expansion of their horizons to the possibility of other forms of sociability. And when this subject – subject to the contradictions inherent in the unequal structure of the social building – recognizes himself as an active social being, the building shakes.

In José Falero's work, the main characters find their way into the system. Even though they move against the established order, they reinforce its dictates, as their perspectives are framed by the competitive logic of recognition based on having. They act, then, although without knowing it, to reinforce, in a negative way, the system against which they rebel. They accept the imposition of rules, even if they do not respect them, because things are as they are and there is no alternative but to play the game.

In real life, José Falero's story unfolded differently. The gap in the life of this peripheral subject was due to access, something that does not usually present itself as a hypothesis for subjects on the margins. In any periphery around the world, the script It is always the same: poverty, acceptance, work for subsistence or breaking with legality to overcome the siege of poverty, which is its birthmark. Access to the center for José Falero was opened through art.

The story of the author of so-called marginal literature is an example of this movement, supported by random openings. When the father takes a job as a janitor in a building in the Cidade Baixa neighborhood, the family leaves Lomba do Pinheiro, from the outskirts to the center. A gap then appears and her older sister is the one who first finds it and crosses it. In this context, art is the gap that expands. Through it, the young woman recognizes herself in the exchange with others – subjects, contexts. She then urges the brother – fraternal mirror, his other-equal – to occupy the space that was opened and where the possibility of a new one was glimpsed.

When seeing oneself in an environment where the possibilities of being go beyond the horizons of everyday survival and the revolt that is not effected purposefully, it engulfs – spaces not designed for peripheral bodies –, the subject can then recognize themselves. And, thus, seeing that what is denied to subjects on the margins – marginal – is the possibility of realizing that it is the very structure of the whole that keeps it immobile, defeated before even seeing the possibility of another horizon.

The gaps are what embody possibilities for those seen as undesirable for the center, but still necessary for the margins, a dichotomous structure that keeps the system standing. In this architecture, center-margin, how many other Faleros does the periphery contain? How many there are blocked, at birth, from the possibility of being what they potentially already are? How many, then, end up following the only path open to their existence, beyond mere survival? A resistant existence, which is not written into the rules of the game.

A truth lives on the margins, that of those who live with the materiality of necessity. However, it is access to the center that can guarantee the necessary perspective to recognize the structure of the whole. And, from this, forms of resistance to its imposition can be developed. Paradoxically, it is inequality of access that maintains equality as the foundation of this entire social systematization.

The need to open gaps so that subjects can enhance their capacity, exercise their criticality, recognize themselves as active beings in the structured order, is the very way in which the system conditions everyone to have their reason as a natural order. The automated reproduction of its forms of relationship makes this social organization a unique horizon of existence. It is through criticism that ideas can emerge and new horizons can be sought. However, this remains banned due to the impossibility of access for society as a whole to the field where it has time-space to germinate.

José Falero recognized himself in art, making it his breakthrough. His insertion into the whole based on his context, and the insertion of his context into the whole, through the gap forged by it. Fertile social criticism, coming from the margins. Since art is the realm of criticism, it is a territory where sterile dualisms do not rage, its framework is broad, multiple, dialectical. Just as law mediates conflicts, giving an objective answer, art subsumes them. It gives rise to the coming together of counterpoints. It is precisely from this friction of contradictions that the new can emerge.

* Silvane Ortiz is a graduate student at the Faculty of Law of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS).

José Falero. The suppliers. São Paulo, However, 2020, 304 pages. [https://amzn.to/3rxSPpx]

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