Theory of the Single Gesture

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JOHN MILTON (English version) 

You never step into the same river twice.


The irreducible maxim of one of the greatest philosophers since Classical Greece, and the only one who remained irreducible under Nietzsche's fierce scrutiny, can be credited with translating the essence of nature, in its broadest sense, as permanent movement. We may dare to bring the brilliant observation of Heraclitus of Ephesus closer to our theory of the single gesture, which is nothing more, within the scope of the microscale of the subject, than continuous, rapid and flawless movement. The work was inspired by the technique of Chinese calligraphy, but we separate the plastic expression of the ideogram from its linguistic function. To some this may sound rather heretical; for us it is no more than freedom of creation.

During some of the pandemic months, I patiently dedicated myself to the production of ten or fifteen works a day, executed in black acrylic paint on A4 bond paper; with luck, one or two convincing results were saved from each session; and I selected a small sample from the hundred I made.

The theory of the single gesture, that is, of an unalterable making, has, in our view, a certain kinship with photography or Haiku as a record that reflects the river of time. It is not given to us to penetrate the thing itself, as we know. We shall never know what it is like to be a cat or a flower. Language is the modus operandi with which we penetrate the world since there is always a filter between us and the thing itself, whether it be the cat, the flower or what is conventionally called – the similar. Translating the world, that is, time, is the attribute of Being.

Perhaps you who have followed us up to here could ask us: so can a charge of ink on a sheet of paper can be a synthesis of time? And we would answer you: yes, in the same way that a grain of sand can contain the elements that make up the star, for example.
























Ricardo Carranza, Poet, writer, and painter.

Publications in National Competition Anthologies – Scortecci, SESC DF, Literature Magazine - CULT, and Poetry and Literature sites – Zunái, Stéphanos, Germina, Cult - Literary Workshop, Mallarmargens. Books of Poetry published: Sexteto, Author's Edition, SP, 2010; A Flor Empirica, Author's Edition, SP, 2011; Dramas, Editora G&C Arquitectônica Ltda., SP, 2012. Unpublished Poetry Books – Sebo 2009-2016; Suns, 2014-2018; Pastiche, 2016, – partially published in Germina magazine. Sand Ovary 2009-2018; Memorial da Mundanidade 2018. Books of Unpublished Tales: The comedy of errors, 2011/2018 – pre-selected for the SESC Literature Award 2018; Anachronisms, 2015/2018. The Village. 2016/2017. Christmas. 2016/2017. Unpublished novel: A Sociedade de Cascas, 2017/2018. Cadernos de Insônia (58): sketches of poetry, short stories, reflections, critical theory, thorns, dreams, fragments... since 2009.

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John Milton graduated in English Literature and Spanish at the University College of Wales in Swansea (1978), has an M.A. from the Catholic University in São Paulo, PUC-SP (1986), and a Ph.D from the Universidade de São Paulo (1990). His areas of research are Literary Translation, the History and Sociology of Translation, and Translation and Adaptation.
(Text informed by the author)

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How to cite:

CARRANZA, Ricardo. A Teoria do Gesto Único. 5% Arquitetura + Arte, São Paulo, ano 17, v. 01, n.23, e212, p. 1-15 jan. jun/2022. Disponível em:



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