Hernan “Americo” Jourdan was born in Argentina. He studied filmmaking at Tokyo Visual Arts and after traveling across South and North America settled in Providence, Rhode Island. He has recently came back from a residency at Cité Internationale des Artes in Paris to write the chronicles of his travels and he’s an anchor host for the podcast “Thank You For Listening” –a bilingual platform where Latinx identities are debated and reflected upon, partially funded by RISCA, and a freelance producer for the arts.
RISCA: Give us a brief overview of your day yesterday- what did you do in both your personal and professional life.
HJ: I like this question –It feels gossipy. I like that there is an interest in the life of the artist aside from what it produces. So right now I’m in Argentina and yesterday I was filling out an application for a possible housing opportunity. I came to travel for long periods of time so my dwelling places change often. I consider myself lucky because living in different places gives one a lot to think of. It becomes inevitable to be surprised and to question, and the exercise can deliver a deeper understanding of how we live, and what cities are built for. Uncertainty is inevitable while moving in and out of places. I came to appreciate its confounding quality. It keeps me at bay.
RISCA: What are you the most excited about right now in your art practice and work as an arts and culture administrator?
HJ: A “culture administrator” is interesting terminology. How do you “administrate” culture? The image it brings to me is an intra-skin tube into something –as if anybody is waiting for it or depends on it. An unnatural procedure. But there is nothing unnatural about culture. It is the most unavoidable act after sleeping and eating. Perhaps even before having sex. Culture is our nature, and in any case we should feel proud to nourish it. I don’t identify myself much as a culture administrator but as a person who is an artist and is applying himself to projects where I can find money and interest –the first one for need, the last one for luck. I happen to believe culture is the one thing that we as a specie can do for fun while untangling the mysteries of our human condition. That I’m excited about. Pretty much all the time.
RISCA: Why do you do what you do? What inspires you, drives you, to create or enable the creation of art?
HJ: It’s my way of partaking. Unfortunately we have endangered the ecosystem we are a part of to such an extent I have to conclude the old ways have led us to failure. Some still have energies to deny this but we can’t afford to keep moving towards a black hole where entire species of the animal kingdom are disappearing daily, to mention one of the many facts. That’s why I want to be a piece of the puzzle. There is a bigger picture.
RISCA: What is one thing you think the art community in Rhode Island needs?
HJ: Confidence –which doesn’t translate into sparkle and glamour (although it can have that too). People are already doing very interesting things –in the arts and culture. We need to make efforts to travel more locally in order to become more acquainted with neighbor districts. Rhode Island is a small state but it feels somehow fractured. We need to travel more to see that play in Pawtucket, even though the 20 minute ride makes it feel far away for our standard. When more people engage, more connections are made; we get to know each other more, and we might even start doing things together. I like to think this helps our places become bolder, more inhabited, more ours. What at least I can say is that this dynamic gave me a sense of belonging and agency in a place that was completely new to me five years ago.
RISCA: What is the biggest challenge for you in your art life?
HJ: Stay focused. There are not a lot of things really important to do right now for me. It s a straight arrow. And yet, distractions take me away from it. And I mean on a personal level. Which is my one and only life. I don’t always make the right choices and what’s striking is that I’m aware of it.
Check out Hernan’s Thank You for Listening podcast here.