Nomebañismo and moskeo

In Buenos Aires, you can read the sentence “No me baño” (“I don’t bathe”) spread out in so many different corners, not hidden at all, that it has become, in a more or less conscious manner, part of the porteño imaginarium, the images of the port city.

Vomito Moskas by Moskas

One should not forget that Buenos Aires lives up to its name. Not only due to its catholic foundation by Pedro de Mendoza, who christened the city “Santa María del Buen Ayre” — a Marian advocation to which her believers commend their destinies — but also for its geography: sitting next to the broadest river in the world, flowing straight into the Atlantic, and the flatness of the land, a 360º horizon, favor the wind circulation, and were found suitable for establishing a port that has since translated into riches. Its second foundation by Juan de Garay was done under the name of Ciudad de la Trinidad, Puerto de Santa María de los Buenos Ayres. But the imaginary riches of the port, in Latin America and most of the world, was linked to — if not founded upon — smuggling. Therefore, the porteño (meaning “from the port”, relating to the port city of Buenos Aires) may never be something pure and untainted, because the urban geography that has formed around the port is not such either — even though there are some spots where that seems to be disguised, as if scrubbed with disinfectant.

The proposal of No me baño and Sr. Moska is anchored precisely on the contra-band of the hygienic, or what attempts to pass itself as such. And in spite of that, it is not fixed in the capital city. No me baño and Sr. Moska come from the province lying outside the city, but the first time they painted a graffiti with the sentence “No me baño” was in Once, one of the city’s nerve centers, named after the train station, which commemorates the date of September 11th, 1852, when the State of Buenos Aires stepped out of the Argentine Confederation. The trains have been one of the main factors for the wealth of the port and have enabled connections to the deeper inland. Even though the tag “No me baño” emerged in Buenos Aires, it did so in the railway area, and the contraband transcended the port and reached other territories. From that terminal station, it spread through almost every neighborhood in the city and beyond, to Avellaneda, Zona Norte, Tandil, Mar del Plata, Córdoba, San Martín de Los Andes, Patagonia and Ticlara, far to the north in the country. No me Baño and Sr. Moska have taken over diverse spots all across the country. And they are aiming for more.

Moska se vomito by Moskas

If we attempted to draft a rather useless cartography of the surfaces upon which the sentence “No me baño” was inscribed, or some fly (“moska”) was drawn, we would approach both shady and laid back places, tracing the map of an insistent gesture: making the marginal conscious, not only at the center, but also at the margins themselves. That is why mapping it, investing time on it, would be useless, because the margin is always on the move, getting erased, or even covered up, even more so if it’s made up of words… drawings of words. Duration is not the matter here, much less the foundation of the city, or these historical facts. This has much more to do with appearance and presence, something ephemeral but penetrating, like the odor of someone who does not bathe. Even though “No me Baño” may be considered a signature, it keeps something away from sight, it is like a smell that gets in through your eyes and activates the conscious notion of certain citizens living and inhabiting the urban geography outdoors, without a home where to bathe, migrating like flies depending on where they may find something to feed upon.

In the series of digital collages titled Vómito de mosca (“Fly vomit”), which No me baño and Sr. Moska present on Aura’s platform, something interesting happens. The physical gesture of graffiting drawings and words on surfaces that will be taken away by time, eroded, as sooner or later will happen to the memories of cities, turns “non fungible”, meaning not consumed by time. The support transcends the surface: photographs, screenshots, fragments of conversations on Instagram, live along hand-written signs, sneakers and graffitied walls, that show different “interactions”, just to give them a name, with the sentence “No me baño” and a rich imaginarium of flies. And that’s the most relevant aspect in this occasion: what does the gesture of graffiti turn into when it becomes non fungible and is elaborated compositionally, cumulatively and not in isolation and independence; when it becomes collage.

In the piece Vómito de mosca 1, we see a certain gloating on the essence of anthropomorphic flies. That gives the flies the possibility of a political attitude and gives politics the possibility of leading with tedium and putrefaction (matters for which the fly is practically a spirit animal). At the same time, this gloating is shown tastefully, pleasantly, as a plastic lifestyle: on the top right corner, we see the photograph of a matress next to a garbage bin, with the drawing of a fly giving oral sex to another, sucking on a source of inspiration from its peer that translates into drawing or text, because the fly that sucks is creative. A bit further down, we may see a kind of ritual wheel of human flies whose faces resemble the painting The red gaze by Schoenberg. Around there, there is a picture of Sr. Moska with his mask facing a canvas. Woven into those images is a healthy pride: “I owe my health to not bathing”, “I’m fine, I don’t bathe”, in itself, the whole discourse on health, hygiene and nomebañismo are inserted in a field of oppositions that constitutes a political idea, as we read on one of his signs: “The president is an asshole and he really does bathe”. That is how we see then that the flies and his nomebañismo, in spite of their ordinariness, serve as a contrast to that which Pessoa called “the tyranny of social fictions”, meaning the “good manners”, bathing among them.

In Vómito de mosca 2, after observing the politics of flies, we see a slogan, almost at the center, reading “Don’t bathe, I’m the future”. The proposal of No me baño and Sr. Moska is loaded with a social component that promotes a ragged lifestyle, which is, to a certain extent, disenchanted. We see, in the lower left corner, a caricature, where a kid is painting “No me baño” (“I don’t bathe”) and a taxi passes by him shouting an Argentine insult: “forrooo”. Immediately, we see the boy writing again: “Soy forro no me baño”, absorbing the violence and turning it graceful, funny. There are a couple of older women, standing awkwardly or uncomfortably, facing this smuggler’s wave of vandalism (“Robo en el chino y no me baño” or “I steal from the store and I don’t bathe”), flooding the rest of the collage. But the interactions of the younger people display a very different attitude, an admission of dirtiness without reserve. Nomebañismo has a strong social — there is even a survey among the signs on this collage — and popular appeal — its relationship to skating: “Mucha patineta y poca ducha” (“Lots of skating little showering”), some guys and girls taking pictures next to the graffiti, the kids smiling with the tags behind them. And even if it’s full of stains and dirty, nomebañismo seems, judging by its slogans, to be incorruptible. “Yo no corro, yo no engaño, fumo porro y no me baño”, (“I don’t run, I don’t cheat, I smoke pot and I don’t bathe”) “no me baño x mí menos x vos” (“I won’t shower for myself and I would shower even less for you”).

Vomito de Moska by Moskas

Finally, Vómito de mosca 3 condenses a living record of nomebañismo as related to the bodies of its practitioners. Pictures of food, for example, that, close up, spontaneous and careless as they are, reveal a sinister, hypertrophied side: pizza as a flag, noodles as the background to a piece of the image, pasta, fried steaks. It all brings a notion of digestion to mind, and the assimilation that the imaginarium of nomebañismo and the world of flies may be subject to. The tattoos: their inscription on the skin as an expression of nomebañismo, its inseparable violence and humor. That is the expulsion of bath tubs, taking the streets, different surfaces, and now (with this series of NFTs and Aura’s intervention on Decentraland), the dimension of the metaverse.

Finir

Moskas at Aura’s Decentraland Museum

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