Bombing of Poems: Poetics of a Plural Event

Bianchi, Cristóbal. 2010. Bombing of Poems: Poetics of a Plural Event. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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This thesis is a cultural studies and practice based research about a project called Bombing of Poems: a poetic intervention which has occurred four times so far in cities - Santiago de Chile (2001), Dubrovnik (2002), Gernika (2004), and Warsaw (2009) - that have experienced aerial bombing in the past and which now are bombed with poetry. The performance consists of dropping one hundred thousand poems from an aircraft (helicopter). The poems are by Chilean authors and poets native to the bombed city, printed as bookmarks in two languages. Framing the question of what conditions make the Bombing of Poems possible, the dissertation attempts to address the space that is opened up by this intervention. I explore this question using the realization of the performance in the village of Gernika, Basque country, and, as a comparative case, I use the case of Dresden, Germany, where permission to realize this event was refused by the authorities of the city. The thesis argues that the poetics of the Bombing of Poems creates an event of plurality that is an opening of a space of disputation because the inherent condition of the performance is ambivalent. Thus, the recall of the historically traumatic experience is interrupted by the opening up of another moment which makes possible unpredictable responses. The site of conflict, therefore, is related to the Bombing of Poems as a space of remembrance of air-bombardment as such, but it also relates to the more convoluted controversies lying behind the destruction of a city like Dresden. In this respect, I argue that the Bombing of Poems is not only an affirmation of survival (of people and cities), but also opens up a different way to recall and actualize remembrance in the present. The potentiality is to create from a past event an alternative image and ethical question for the future.

An accompanying appendix provides samples, illustrations and documents about the production of the Bombing of Poems in the mention cities. As a practice based PhD is attached a book and a DVD of the Bombing of Poems as realized in Warsaw, Poland, 2009.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


air-bombing, event, sky, poetry, poetics, performance, war

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Centre for Cultural Studies (1998-2017)



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Date Deposited:

17 Feb 2012 13:18

Last Modified:

06 Sep 2022 22:04


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