In memori@m Rafadro (1967-2013) / Heriberto Yépez

In Memori@m Rafadro (1967-2013)

“In January 2011, I discovered that my cardiac risk factor was 4.0, the highest. With that condition the only possible exercise was walking.” At the beginning of the month, Rafa Saavedra had a heart attack. Last Tuesday September 17, Rafa didn’t survive his surgery.

His death leaves a tremendous void. Rafa was the writer from Tijuana. His emblematic books are Postscards de ocio y odio (1995); Butten Smileys (1997) and Lejos del noise (2002). Others came later and others will soon appear.

This summer I spoke with him about his books and his research for a Master’s in Cultural Studies at the Colegio de la Frontera Norte regarding the border fanzine culture in the 1980s and 1990s.

(Rafa, among other things, saw fanzines as antecedents of blogs.)

In 2001-2002, Rafa detonated the Tijuana Bloguita Front, a network of bloggers: Internet users, all-nighters, writers, cultural workers, artists, friends and anyone who posted and linked, in order to create a vital chronicle, to read addictively and see each other at parties, bars and endless weekends.

The TJBF was an on & off-line experiment, that alternated Internet, city and writing. It was a fabulous tribe, unrepeatable and plural.

Rafa Saavedra wasn’t the leader —there was none—: he was the electric heart. Rafa was a new type of post-total writer.

His texts exploded genres: neither chronicles nor short stories nor reviews, they were Rafa writing. Because of the leap, critics are still panicking.

Rafa wrote cool and dense: he codified nocturnal frenzy and collectives-characters throbbing in a hybrid language sprinkled with idiomatic photo-ops and things he heard people say.

Rafa would write in his notebook, copy-paste and then remake and remix on the screen, although the main component was his praise for the distinctive life.

His ear was indie music; his typing, post-media metrics. DJ Rafadro was network attitude and ethos.

He kept himself on the margins of Mexican literature. He felt more of an affinity towards his radio show, being a record selector and the street. Rafa was his own post-Mexican literature.

He decided to publish independently and to experiment within social media, combining photography and virtual writing. He was the first systematically cyberrealist Latin American writer.

Rafa loved the city. He followed the trail of new tendencies of consumption, lifestyles and languages. He was a drastic archive, full of winks, a cult author.

Rafa always knew what was next. His recent route: to crashear the academic.

As a person, Rafita was happy and mega-friendly. A disenchanted optimist and good vibes nihilist. He checked out everything that happened in order to ironize about it at an after.

Rafa Saavedra was the most genuine experimental Mexican writer of the last twenty years.

He brought writing out of the book and drugged writing with media.

Rafa’s favorite words: pals, fiesta, beyondeado, ahora, enjoy, Tijuana, my friends.


What Rafa and I wanted at the beginning of the century:

What Rafa decided to tell us recently:

{ Heriberto Yépez, Archivo Hache, Suplemento Laberinto, Milenio (México D.F.), 21 September 2013 }

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