“You can resist anything, anything but temptation”
Revista Balam is a magazine made in Buenos Aires, founded to publish Latin American photography, with a focus on queer artists. In his opening letter to the issue, editor-in-chief Luis Juárez sketches out the Latin America he is referring to: “A collective of politically incorrect people; a minority continually resisting the mandates and injustices of its vast, wet, sweaty, hot, dry and cold lands, where forbidden desires seep out and hidden pleasures overflow… As the great faggot Daniel Melgajero… would say, ‘you can resist anything, anything but temptation”.
The theme for this issue is ‘Fantasy’, and the magazine is divided into five sections: ‘The Island’; ‘Gardens’; ‘Beauties’; ‘Cocktails’; ‘Morpheus’; and ‘Charities’. Many of the contributions reference witchcraft and magic; we see white rabbits, their eyes glowing horribly red; the cover-star is a mermaid; and, in my favourite series, pastoral scenes are interrupted by a mythical, hairy beast, occasionally dressed in a skirt (one of the most delightful things about Revista Balam is that it has a sense of humour).
Images are not clearly credited and separate photo series are often spliced together to create odd juxtapositions. In one unforgettable sequence, Alejandro Kuropatwa’s photographs of pills are interrupted by collages by Carlos Herrera’s, in which pornographic photographs of men’s bodies are deliberately cut up and stitched back together so that they have no genitals.
Initially, you assume both the pill images and the porno shots must have been taken by the same photographer, because there are no image credits. The lack of clear differentiation between photographs invites the viewer to make new, and sometimes frightening, connections. The organisational principle at work in the magazine is non-linear, and associative: it reminds me of the way fantasies themselves unfold, or nightmares.