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This is a summing up, by one key figure of the estridentista movement and of its impact, in spite of the small size of the group. Germán List Arzubide recounts, twenty years later, what Estridentismo consisted of, how the movement started as a revolution against the “momias académicas” [academic mummies]. With the passing of time, Arzubide assesses that the movement died out because it had no descendants. Besides, he mentions that the movement got its name from the noise it elicited, pointing out that the estridentistas dared to “desempacar las palabras” [unwrap the words]. In other words, it turned poetic language into a “voz cósmica” [cosmic voice] searching to shake up the environment and thus mobilize worlds for a struggle. 


Germán List Arzubide (1898-1998) is the estridentista who periodically forces the EstridentismoMovementto new statements, even to changing perspectives.

Estridentismo was an early Mexican avant-garde movement, which arose in 1921, parallel to the muralist movement. Its creator and for a time only member was Manuel Maples Arce (1898-1981), a poet from Veracruz who rebelled against modernist poets and academic painting. Related to Dadaism, Futurism, Ultraism, and Creationism—in both its European and Latin American manifestations—Estridentismo was a movement centered on agitprop strategies to create disturbances, as well as closely devoted to a mechanical aesthetics. The followers of the movement tended toward new urban sensory values in which experiences accumulated simultaneously, at the rhythm and speed of modern life. The very name of the movement refers to city noise, as well as to the wish to be heard for its embedded transgressions and excesses.

It was a movement of artists devoted to literature, music, painting, engraving, photography, and sculpture. The movement’s center of operations was El Café de Nadie (Nobody’s Café) in Mexico City. It later relocated to the city of Xalapa, Veracruz, where its members became involved in the educational revolution. It counted on several information disseminating sources, such as the magazines: Ser, Irradiador, and Horizonte.

Francisco Reyes Palma : CURARE A.C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Courtesy of Eric List, Mexico City, México
Archivo Francisco Reyes Palma