norberto llopis segarra


Celestina is a poetic space of Norberto Llopis Segarra where he is recognizing certain concerns and sharing his view on them. Celestina came into existence when he got invited by Het Veem theater to do so, athough she had a life in discussions and ideas that preceded this invitation.

Secrets, secrecy and secret-isms

Behind the curtain THE SECRET

We will start with that SECRETE, that we would usually write in capital letters and pronounce with long vowels . It takes place when we remove something before it is seen; if we quickly put it back it causes surprise; but sometimes it hides behind this almost sacral form of the unspoken. Sublimating force machines that intitute secrets: concentration camps of entropic energy. Secrets produced from closure, from confinement, are instituted under certain signs as if by grace, as the seed of evil or of innocence, as the bad or the good. This kind of secret plays with absence in an obscure way, giving and taking away at will in order to create the right atmosphere to sustain our attention. Sometimes these kind of secret say -less is always more-; other times they say -partial nudity is always more erotic- ; or -do not give yourself too early if you want to assert yourself-. If you want to perform this kind of secret, you must insist on suspensions, on silences. If for any reason you don’t know why you are keeping quiet, they will anyway find out. That which takes the form sometimes of a planned absence is, on other occasions, simply circumstantial, although it is always instituted by common agreement. Disappear at the right moment, die before you are thirty three, like any good rock star, when your decadence can still be sexy, when you can still make a meaningful sacrifice, an interruption, a significant abortion. One of the peculiarities of this kind of secrecy is that it plays its cards from the presence , it is like an announced secret, look here! here there is a secret! Let's put out some flowers! Let’s pay our respects! It is an announced secret, or rather the spectacle of a secret. ‘Let’s fear the Arabs! Or the Chinese!’ ‘Let’s all buy this product!’ Sometimes such a flirtatious nothing can be so productive, and at other times a destructive collective hysteria.


In this text we will concentrate on other kinds of secrets that play their cards from within secret-ism itself, that don’t play the game of putting things into presence and removing them, such as we set out above. Secrets that don’t put us in front of that curtain, or set us before a lack so as to get us into debt or to impeach us, but which rather manoeuvre within secrecy itself , so that at the most they implicate us or make us accomplices. In this type we can distinguish at least two kinds of secrecy. The first one is the informed/informative secret. It is informative because it makes us bearers of certain kinds of information, it makes us accomplices to a secret communication; it is informed in the sense that what it propagates is determined by information or by a particular intelligence.

Secret-ism: spaces without peepholes

The second type would be un-informed secrets, those that belong to secret societies, communities of anonymous history, or to places that produce a certain anonymous familiarity, a familiarity that we can’t picture, as if we would see a bit more than the picture, its anonymous. These societies are not driven by an information center but by friction and attachments. There are many types but what they have in common is that they do not refer us to informative segments, but rather they put us in contact with the most localised fragments, they reconcile us with uninformative experience, with the anonymous aspects of life. Secret societies, secret things, are not secret in the sense that they refuse to become public, but in the sense that they refuse to be advertised in the prevailing manner. Some see them as unnecessary, others call them a leftist hobby. I would say they represent a basic right like the right of assembly, the right of public secret-ism.
The reason why I usually feel that I am in the place I want to be, is almost always anonymous.

What a relief to think that while I felt I was in the place I wanted to be, another person felt they were in the right place at the same time elsewhere, and another person ad infinitum. It is a relief in this age where we try to create a space for everybody that nobody has the same sense of space at any one time. Spaces that bend and fold up infinitely, spaces without peepholes, spaces without eyes that watch from the outside. Not the kind of spaces that branch off from an information center that interrogates you in order to lead you to the right place.

SMC, CIA, celestina and its secrets

If we look at societies from the different regimes of the secret sphere, we see at once curious systems for the surveillance, inventory and operation of the secret sphere, with its various inspection devices:
Confessions, consultancies, interrogations, tortures, espionage, surveys .........

We have for example the SMC (secret’s management center). An SMC is an extensive inspection system, a kind of operation center that sweeps an entire extensive area creating a census of our secret-isms. For example in a confessional state, the priest is this center of operations; although his main interest may not be to make an inventory, he constitutes a surveillance mechanism. A presumed Inherent human weakness and corruptibility led the prists to a perceived need for a general and periodic inspection of the intimate sphere, and in this inspection system everything is taken in, from the most informed secrecy to the most anonymous, although here they focus is on those secrets they considered problematic, the ones called sins .We find SMCs in other kinds of extensive inspection, from random raids to marketing surveys.
Then there is another system of intensive inspection, of the CIA kind (Central Intelligence Agency). This, as its name suggests, is a central body that provides intensive supervision of informed/informative targets. Such operations move from information to information, building connections and networks, drawing circles, constructing family trees; in short, retracing intelligences. Even though it has a very similar name to the American CIA, it is not my intention to refer directly to this organization, there are many CIAs, indeed any kind of immune system with a body could be a CIA.
But there is another interesting intelligence agent (IA) that I will take from Spanish literature of the middle ages. She is called Celestina. She doesn’t belong to a specific body. Celestina is a sophisticated kind of secret agent, an heterogeneous figure, somewhere between psychologist and confessor, between an old prostitute and a debarred lawyer who defends illicit cases; she is a quack, a procurer, a matchmaker. This secret agent doesn’t belong to any central body, she is on her own. As opposed to police inspectors or the CIA, who are given to inspections, surveillance, and restoring order, she is more committed to action. Like any good alchemist she doesn’t hesitate to use her wiles and talismans to re-touch the given inteligencies, to transform them, to redirect them. She uses information for the benefit of secrecy itself, for the benefit of illicit love; she tampers with virginities, reconstructs young womens’ innocence, restoring transparency over and over again; she draws everything and everybody she can into this fiction we call legality. It is curious that Celestina, this exteriority of almost sympathetic selfishness, has come down to us as a form associated only with politicians and corrupt governments: presenting a clean face, manufacturing innocence, nowadays this involves the obscure and perverted gaze of power, the informed and informative image of the ladies and gentlemen of the central imperialism . I very much agree with Janneke on this point, that perversion must have something to do with power.

A transparent universe

To finish we also have that policy that we call the politics of transparency, which need not always imply a transparent politics. I mean that policy that says ‘if we don’t want hidden areas, or sources of delinquency, we must legalize what causes them in order to be able to give them transparency’, as if legality itself was never obscure. Of course is not just a matter of legalizing, but also a matter of conforming to our standards of transparency and this is also a mechanism of control of the type SMC. The radicalization of a surveillance mechanism of this type extrapolated to the entire social secret sphere brings us to a regime based in distrust or even fear, quite similar to a confessional state, although in this case it is not mediated by the confessionary but rather by information, by a certain demand of determination. We change the confessionary to the social showcase. It is not a question of whether to go public or not anymore, but of our aptitude for becoming public. If we bring the issue to a socio-psychological level we can even end up confusing honesty with that other form of adaptation to the universe we call transparency. To be honest is to be transparent and to be transparent is to be for a broad audience: ‘if I want to be honest I should be publishable’. Another analogy with the confessional state is that we may change the soul-washing of the confessionary for mental hygiene: ‘my psychiatrist told me that if I want to be clean I must tell you that I really dislike you’. In an SMC of the confessional kind we had to confess our sins, those secrets that were considered morally problematic. In an SMC such as the ‘policy of transparency’, the inspection may not be content with problem-evaluation, it may extrapolate the surveillance to the entire secret sphere, from the most problematic to the most innocuous secrets, the most un-informed ones.

It seems that THE SECRET is being preserved in all kind of social spectacles and collective histerias, and also that secrecy is being preserved as a necessary protective device in many fields. What happens to the spaces without a peephole?

Somebody gives me the keys to an empty room and tells me that I can do whatever pleases me secretly, no one will be informed about this action ever. I can decide to leave a trace or a fingerprint of my action or not, but to break the walls or scream in order to make myself noticeable would be absurd because it wouldn’t be a secret any more… Even the most innocuous possibility sometimes overwhelms the legal offer.

The freedom to be what one is, is not enough. I don’t want to be a man, I don’t want to be a woman, I don’t want to be gay: freedom expands in the possibility of being what one is not. I demand the freedom of being what I am not, otherwise I get bored. Some people would say that there are places where people can’t even be what they are. To simplify I will say that they are what they are allowed to be. In conclusion we all are what we are allowed to be; without secret-ism we hardly can be more than that.
To be continued ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

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