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1000 WORDS: ROBERTO JACOBY

Workers covering a portion of Roberto Jacoby’s El alma nunca piensa sin imagen (The Soul Never Thinks Without an Image), 2010, at the 29th São Paulo Bienal, Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo, July 27, 2010. Photo: Syd Krochmalny.

ON MARCH 24, 1976, the bloodiest dictatorship in the history of South America began in Argentina. I was nine years old. At the time, Roberto Jacoby was living with my aunt Laura, a theater director. They were forced to abandon all public cultural and political activity—the alternatives were exile or “disappearance.” Everyone’s life was at stake, and many lives were lost.

My cousin Miguel, Laura’s son, and I collected comics. One day, Roberto asked us whether we had multiple copies of any of our comic books, and we scrounged up two of the same issue of Superman. Roberto got out scissors and glue and said: “Look, I’m gonna make the bad guys win.” He then proceeded to excise word balloons, captions, and illustrations from one comic and paste them into the other. Sure enough, the bad guys won, just like in the horror we were living. Roberto had showed me the possibilities of

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