What connects George Orwell to Nowhere?
Carlos lives in Zaragoza and first came to Nowhere in 2010. He’s the driving force behind our Nowhere bus service, and has let us in on some little-known local knowledge that connects Nowhere to 1984 author George Orwell…
As one of the few locals involved in Nowhere, I have been observing how people enjoy Nowhere and then leave without knowing much about the region where it takes place.
For the few locals who have attended the festival, the desert of Monegros is more than an empty canvas. But I’d like to point out one detail in that canvas that not many have paid attention to…
Many foreigners (and some locals) might be surprised to learn that George Orwell, the author of 1984 and Animal Farm, spent several months just a few kilometres away from the festival site. Orwell left England in 1936 and spent some months fighting fascism in the Monegros area – throwing grenades and living in trenches, being shot at, and crawling across a ‘no man's land’ in the mud. He was part of a revolutionary militia called POUM. He collected these experiences in a book, Homage to Catalonia, where this quote is from:
‘I was in contact with something strange and valuable. One had been in a community where hope was more normal than apathy or cynicism. One had breathed the air of equality...’
These experiences shaped Orwell's repulsion to authority and totalitarianism. Orwell's most famous novel, 1984, portrayed a totalitarian state where social control is carried out to the extreme.
I believe that the book's critique against social control is still somewhat relevant today, where we still need to come to Nowhere to truly be ourselves, without any social pressure to stick to acceptable forms of expression.
- Would you like to take part in an art project related to Orwell for Nowhere 2012?
- Before or after Nowhere, you might follow Orwell's steps at Ruta Orwell, just a few kilometres from our site.