Krakau, Polen

Zu Gast im LCB:
Oktober 2020

Berliac, geboren 1982, ist ein Manga-Künstler aus Buenos Aires, Argentinien. Seine von der Kritik gefeierte Graphic Novel »SADBØI« wurde in neun Ländern veröffentlicht, und seine Kurzgeschichten wurden in Medien wie Vice, LE MONDE Diplomatique, McSweeney’s Quarterly und anderen publiziert. Er lebt derzeit in Krakau, Polen. Mit freundlicher Unterstützung des Auswärtigen Amts.

Berliac © Christine Meyer

»Ideas are like fish, and the creative act is like diving into cold waters«

What are you working on at the moment?
I have been working on two projects, drawing the last piece in a short-story collection, and re-writing the initial chapters of a graphic novel. Both projects are somewhat related to my youth in my native Argentina, so being in Germany helped provide the necessary distance to deal with such source materials. Like a map, some ideas are clearer from a distant perspective.

How does your stay in the Literary Colloquium Berlin affect you and your work?
Fortunately, I could focus and achieve progress in my work. The residence is a very beautiful place and above all, peaceful yet mysterious, which is ideal for an author. On the practical level, having a private space also made it possible to livestream my drawing process to my readers, which on one hand helps maintain a more tangible contact with the outside world, and also acts as a “boss” looking over my shoulder. Not being in my studio where most of my routines take place and where I’m in total control, it would’ve been easy to lose discipline. I did change the furniture arrangement in the room, though, to make the space more mine (plus a bit of fengshui here and there, I have to admit) but I promise to put everything back in place before I leave! Like master Shunryu Suzuki once said, whatever you do, leave no trace. Lastly, and maybe more importantly, I think the biggest challenge and therefore the highest reward of such a situation is that new environments require us to be more mindful, both of the surroundings and especially our inner self, which, if accomplished, makes our creative mind sharper. Ideas are like fish, and the creative act is like diving into cold waters, in the right moment, at the right speed. This is what the sketch I made to illustrate this interview is trying to express. I saw such bird, a cormorant, from the shore of the Wannsee lake, standing on a pole. The bird belongs in the skies, but when standing on a narrow spot, temporarily out of his element, it can see the fish more clearly. What is LCB, if not, but a pole to stand on?

What experiences will you take home?
I participated in a discussion panel with three other publishers from different countries. It was an interesting exchange, in a moment when most publishing companies, big and small, are redefining their approaches to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic. Since I know the city of Berlin very well, I didn’t feel the urgent need to explore, on the contrary, it was an opportunity to re-encounter with places from the past, like seeing an old friend, which inevitably makes you reflect on why you peacefully drifted apart in the first place. My favorite bookstores and cafes are still there, indeed a cafe owner asked me where I’ve been all these years!

The interview took place in October 2020.