Priscilla Gac-Artigas, Ph.D., professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Monmouth University, and a Fulbright Scholar, was inducted as a full member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language (ANLE for its Spanish acronym) on Oct. 21. As part of the ceremony of inauguration Gac-Artigas disserted on the topic “Collectfiction: a Transgressive Approach to Literary Creation.”
“And what is collectfiction, you may rightly ask, as the term is not yet included in dictionaries?,” she told the audience at the beginning of her dissertation, and continued, “I coined the term in 2017 to name a creative modality that, to the individualism inherent to the genre of autofiction, opposes a form of collective ‘artivism’ that arises from the awareness of authors and artists of the urgency of responding with art to situations of social crisis. It represents a reaction to the ‘stagnation’ of the genre of autofiction, as described by Manuel Alberca, one of the most renowned theorists of the genre in Hispanic literature” […] “It embodies a new modality of telling reality(ies) and fiction(s), of telling and reconfiguring stories where the restrictive confines of the ‘I’ inherent to autofiction are transgressed for the sake of an encompassing and political ‘we’ to achieve an act of creation in which the reader/viewer is part and participant of the reconfiguration of a story in its time-space dimension. In the words of poet Gustavo Gac-Artigas, ‘it is an invitation [to the reader] to be part of my pen not only as part of the story but to rewrite that story by reading’. Or as the American poet, Amanda Gorman states, ‘writing from myself is also myself writing, with and from a “we” perspective’. In this way, the reader/viewer is called upon to use their memories, imagination, and dreams to overcome reality and reconfigure together with the author a synthesizing collectfiction that surpasses the limits of ‘my’ story to become ‘our’ story.” […] “In conclusion”, she finished, “collectfiction is a creative technique where the artist, aware of living in an unacceptable reality, resorts to fiction and with the help of the audience transcends the individual to create a collectfiction, where ethics and aesthetic complement to reconfigure (hi)story. And that same sense of urgency to transgress the limits of the impossible to turn them into possibilities is what has guided my life, what led me to be in front of you today, and what as a professor I try to instill in my students, so that, and I borrow poet’s words: ‘words are useless/if they are not used to change the world/or at least, attempt it’(Gustavo Gac-Artigas).”
The answer to Gac-Artigas’ speech was presented by Professor Rosa Tezanos-Pinto, a member of the ANLE board of directors, who said that “the inquiries on autofiction have been fruitful, but there have been scarce approaches to collectfiction. Ana Laguna Martínez and Julio Prieto are the ones who have come closest to elaborating something similar to that concept. We would say that their interpretations have been hypotheses, a pre-collectfiction. Dr. Gac-Artigas’ version is not only more innovative than Prieto’s and Laguna Martinez,’ with their emphasis on Doležel’s guidelines, but more encompassing because of the plural levels she identifies in a particular group of authors, authors who, on their own initiative, have also venture into aesthetic and political transformations themselves.” […] We have already seen the impact of Gac-Artigas’ ideas in the book, “Collectfiction. Surpassing the Limits of Autofiction” (Iberoamericana/Vervuert 2022), to which scholars from Argentina, Spain, the United States, France, Hungary, and Mexico have collaborated with important articles on this topic. I warmly welcome our admired colleague, friend, and brand new full member of our Academy. Her avant-garde thinking demonstrated in her theory of collectfiction anticipated in 2017 inclusive discussions that are held today about authors, fiction, and readers and about an authorial ‘I’ that seeks the other but whose goal is the dialogue with an integrating and conciliatory ‘we’.”
In his presentation of the new member, the academic Germán Carrillo, ANLE’s censor, made a brief and laudatory biographical presentation of his new colleague and stated: “Your studies have opened in me a new vision of the world. You are a Huidobro-style revolutionary in the way you perceive literature and art. You are breaking new ground in art and literature.”
The ceremony concluded when the director of the ANLE, Carlos E. Paldao, read the formal resolution declaring Gac-Artigas a full member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language.
The full induction ceremony is available in four parts: Incorporación Dra. Priscilla Gac-Artigas, miembro numerario de la ANLE, Parte 1, Incorporación Dra. Priscilla Gac-Artigas, miembro numerario de la ANLE, Parte 2, Incorporación Dra. Priscilla Gac-Artigas, miembro numerario de la ANLE, Parte 3, Incorporación Dra. Priscilla Gac-Artigas, miembro numerario de la ANLE, Parte 4