Prosa del observatorio / From the Observatory
Other genres , 1972
Of Julio Cortázar’s many photographic projects, Prosa del observatorio (1972) is the only one where he himself is the photographer as well as the author.
The text, which includes images from the astronomical observatories in Jaipur and Delhi, designed by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century, is regarded as emblematic of Cortázar’s essay style, and is a profound reflection on the cadence of the universe. While speaking to us of the life cycle of eels, Cortázar sketches a delicate criticism of established scientific discourse, emanating from libraries and other centres of power in the life of cities, supplemented with discussions and corollaries on architecture, astronomy, the Milky Way and the romantic pulse of the cosmos. There is a convergence of genres, such as the scientific and the epistolary, all governed by a poetic prose that explores political and metaphysical horizons in ways no one else can.
This passionate metaliterary hybrid beautifully embraces images as well as words, the sea and the sky. It speaks to us of difficulty and the need to encompass the unencompassable, explain the inexplicable. It appeals to our romantic nature, inviting us to open up to the great beyond: “It is enough to enter the redheaded night, deeply inhale air that is the bridge and caress of life.”