By Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
Dissident Cuban author, photographer, and pioneering blogger Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo offers a suite of surreal, irony-laden pictures and texts from his local urban. His "diary of dystopia"—an unforeseen fusion of pictures and words—brings us towards Havana's scaffolded and crumbling facades, ramshackle waterfronts, and teeming human our bodies. during this publication, as attractive and bleak as Havana itself, Pardo courses us throughout the relics and fables of an exhausted Revolution within the waning days of Castro's Cuba.
"It is hard to catch in photographs the soul of a panorama or a urban, probably simply because they do not have one by myself yet many. Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo's images, and the commentaries they're followed with, trap whirlwinds of souls and supply them to us in such approach that our personal soul is transformed." –Fernando Savater
"Some [photographs] have a sly humor, others an summary beauty...Mr. Pardo Lazo resists any effortless categorization."...
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Extra resources for Abandoned Havana
Maybe I’m just afraid of realizing that this extreme lightness, which at times is Cuba, is also me, all the time *** In the end, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo understands that his Cuban identity is as inextricably fixed as it is unmoored, and that this is also the definition of his existence. This is the paradox he must live with, and the condition that he has tried to express in this book. He cannot ignore the evidence of what he fears to be Cuba’s spiritual demise as so many of his fellow citizens do by spending their lives immersed in neutralizing daily routines.
I once published in my blog Post-Revolution Mondays a photo that earned me a worse stoning than Poveda’s. It was of me—naked, happy, and phallic—with the Cuban flag as erotic hope, balm of barbarity. I accompanied the photo with a story where, in the midst of a hurricane and an onanistic nightmare, I recapitulated all the poetic suicides provoked by the loneliness of my country, a maddening loneliness where we never manage to be with ourselves. Today I am still paying for this Mea Cuba. The State never again let me publish on the Island.
Only the police and the statues are left outside, indistinguishable at certain hours of the day, when no one can tell whether it is Monday morning or late Friday afternoon. In the fall, the Cuban solitude thickens and weighs on our dead memory of fifty or five hundred years. People are left in a pristine state of loneliness. Each one is one alone. And if we add each one to the next and the next and so on to the 11 million, the final result would be one again: a mathematical miracle. It is then that the rawness in my nation’s intimate soul expresses itself: a post-totalitarian sadness, a beauty moved to tears, the institutional laid bare, the helplessness of god, the uneasiness of the uninhabitants of a Havana that has havandoned us.