Individual Work
The Winnipeg: The Poem that Crossed the Atlantic

Mencía's work, El Winnipeg. El poema que cruzó el Atlántico (The Winnipeg. The poem that crossed the Atlantic) (2016), is the poetic representation of a political journey. A very personal work, through which the author narrates a dark chapter in the political history of Spain through her family history: the exile of thousands of refugees from the Spanish civil war. More specifically, this work interprets the voyage of the ship Winnipeg on August 4, 1939, from Trompeloup (France) to Valparaiso (Chile), full of hope for the 2,200 exiles who were on board and that the famous poet Pablo Neruda – Consul of Chile in Madrid and Barcelona from 1934 to 1937–, helped to evacuate from a concentration camp. In this work we find the journey, the diaspora, the flow and the circulation, as reasons for reflection and we see in that transatlantic journey, an exercise in transferring meanings, which questions the materiality of the linguistic sign but, also, which confronts language and poetry as connectors of realities and hopes for two distant points on the map: a link.

In this research project, materialized in a poetic and interactive exercise, different personal and historical stories related to the voyages in the Winnipeg of the exiles are collected and archived. These stories serve as material to visually generate the navigation path of the ship as a door to the hypertextual poem in which the stories are fragmented and broken down, to navigate the ocean, intersect and re-compose in a visual experiment. The project generates a network of materials and spaces that build it and that are housed around the web page that contains them. The main interface acts as a presentation of the project and its materials, and in it we find: the interactive poem, the file that feeds the poem with textual and poetic material, a page that offers the possibility of being able to add more stories by readers, a page that narrates the background and explains the author's process and a credit space where the author refers to a whole series of materials and documents that she has been finding and that make up the research body of the work.

In this work we discover the journey, the diaspora, the flow and the circulation, as reasons for reflection. We see in that transatlantic journey an exercise of transferring meanings, which questions the materiality of the linguistic sign but, also, which confronts language and poetry as connectors of realities and hopes for two distant points on the map: a link.

The space in the Winnipeg work is not only a space generated by reading and navigation, it is also a represented space. The work adopts the cartographic map as a way of introducing a static, political and administrative space, based on borders, hierarchies and arrangements, on which a fluid and poetic, connective and abstract, translinguistic and transcultural space is superimposed. Thus, the map serves in Mencía's piece as a historical space on which to overlap the intermedial and translinguistic discourse –because the stories are translated into Spanish, English and French−, a discourse that talks about languages ​​simplified to common codes, which coexist and are intertwined as an image of stories and crossed memories. In this sense, the intertwine stories that allude to a common language of origin, the code, also remind also in a reflexive manner to interconnected memories, as another artist's interests (Mencía, 2019).

Thus, cultural identity is worked from the kinetic imaginary of transculturality, carrying out these mobile exercises of visual, interactive and generative poetry, precisely in the "delocalized" space of the vast Atlantic Ocean. A zoom-in exercise in which the map is re-scaled to generate an immersion effect, leaving an immense void of deep navy blue, in which stories are possible, since they are not in a real land, but in a new poetic and dimensional space.

MENCIA, María (2019). “The Winnipeg: The Poem that Crossed the Atlantic”, in Hyperrhiz:
New Media Cultures, No20, disponible en:https://doi.org/doi:10.20415/hyp/020.mov02.

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Author statement: 
The Winnipeg: The Poem that Crossed the Atlantic is inspired in a personal story rooted in historical events of the Spanish Civil War and the Spanish and Chilean Historical Memory, and interconnected with the involvement of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in the evacuation and rescue of around 2,500 Spanish civil war exiles, including my own grandfather, from French concentration camps to Valparaiso (Chile), on the cargo ship The Winnipeg in 1939. The website of The Winnipeg: The Boat of Hope contains background information about the interdisciplinary research project and The Poem, credits and historical references. The Poem that Crossed the Atlantic is a multi-linguistic sea of networked poetic interactive narratives fed by stories from posts uploaded to the website. The interlacing of the stories increases with the number of posts, resulting in an on-going community-based poem at the heart of the work. Stories translated into French and English.