Tj Cybercholos

(a project of literatura táctica / un proyecto de tactical literature)


by Fran Ilich

Project URL:




French existentialism posed the question of action and engagement from the art world, a question which both Sartre, Camus and De Beauvoir had to resolve not theoreticaly, but pragmatically once world war 2 and the occupation became a fact of everydaylife for parisiennes. Since then, the discussion still comes and goes like a boomerang, and it once was a big issue beetween nouveau romaneurs and existentialists, the first advocated the death of realism, the psychological novel while propposing a spatializatio of novel, the second propposed to use literature as a tool to promote existentialist crisis and so, action.

40 years later, for many this might seem an unimportant discussion, but literature is not only alive, but kicking in many parts of the world, and also spreading thru cyberspace in many of it's possible forms: from hypertext to weblogs to more formal structures of electronic literature.


in the face of cyberspace and globalization new questions have arised, though. spatialization, timelines & possible worlds are in vogue. but as well the existentialist choice, engagement, while adding the newer possibilities of interactivity, push-button publishing, instant dissemination across continents, commented texts, plus a new grammar which is not limited to text (and can use any of the multimedia capabilties of the net).


In recent dates, subcomandante marcos of the ezln, called writers to engagement, to use literature as a critical tool that can promote change and identity, much in the same fashion that Mario Benedetti has been doing it for the last 40 years. Deleuze & Guattari write in like-mind in Kafka: toward a minor literature, when it comes to lesser voices. Not coincidentally Alberto Schreiber, an argentinian lawyer released last year a text in defense of email-spam, as he considers it one of the only ways in which minor voices can be heard over the otherwise fragmented massive media knows as the internet.

In this fashion, and using the previous texts as inspiration, i've discussed with a group of iberoamerican writers, activists and net.artists, the possibilitie of creating a tactical literature, which can use the internet or other media (paper, advertising urban spaces, graffiti,) as an analogous literary manifestation of what is known as tactical media.





My proposal for Tijuana calling is to generate a serious of ficticious narrative journalist pieces of border issues which seem to make a case of a criminal escalation (news, much in the fashion of cnn, usa today or even email rumors inserted thruought diverse online spaces like weblogs, websites, perhaps even news services that pick up the info as if authentic, and so validating the fake news as if real) happening in the tijuana-san diego border, which would be spammed thru my email server and lead toward different online sources (geocities, weblogs, newspapers) which optimally would lead the human recipient to follow a fake story and try to assemble the broken tidbits like a puzzle... and so tactical literature would born.


The project can be described shortly as Net.Fiction meets Press-release journalism.

it would be a total of 30 fake news-clues spread thru the internet (and centralized on the TJ Cybercholos website) giving clues of the fictional escalating criminal case at the border. the journalist texts (audio, video, text, images), would be inserted in personal and public websites (of real and fictional subjects), to give a kind of virtual but tangible realism based on pure virtual online presence. the 'blógosfera' characters would mingle in real live online enviroments, and would start making aquaintansces of their own. some of the characters would have actual faces, photos, etc.


A central thread would be told by a fictional weblogger journalist who would spam his border discoveries and narrations to a database spawning over 40,000+ real email adresses, making the intervention more tangible. this email messages would include links and references to different sources. this email adresses have been collected throuhout my whole cyberspace life, and come from a whole array of sources, scenes, backgrounds, countrys, etc, making the demographics of the list very diverse.

The journalist would be following clues which the people on the list could help him solve, by reporting back ideas, etc, this would create a kind of documentation of the intervention process, which would take over a period of 1 and a half to 2 months.

As a project of tactical literature, the target is to create ripples around the border and it's migration issues by disturbing as much as possible.




Artist's Bio


Fran Ilich

Ilich (Tijuana, Mexico) received his BA in Latin American studies from the Alliant International University. His projects have been presented at numerous arts festivals, including the Feria Internacional del Libro Infantil y Juvenil (Mexico City, Mexico, 2004); the Feria del Libro del Zócalo (Mexico City, Mexico, 2004); VI Salón Internacional de Arte Digital (Havana, Cuba, 2004); Feria del Libro de Coyoacán (Mexico City, Mexico, 2004); and The 32nd Montreal International Festival of New Cinema and New Media (FCMM). Ilich's work has also been shown in diverse international venues such as Centro Cultural de España (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2004); Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2004); ItauCultural (Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2004); and Museo Rufino Tamayo (Mexico City, Mexico, 2004). He has participated in conferences and seminars in cities around the world, including Sevilla, Paris, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, and San Diego. Ilich currently lives and works in Mexico City.