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Radio: Publicity for Cigar Company El Bueno Tono

As a new technology of communication, the radio quickly became a favorite of Latin American avant-garde movements. Already within its name the Mexican movement estridentismo – which could most accurately be translated as ‘stridentism’ – signalled this growing concern with noise, technology and the science of communication. It is no coincidence then that the movement’s second magazine was called Irradiador, or that this concern with the language of technology quickly became one of its main poetic statements. Manuel Maples Arce, the group’s most famous writer, was in fact the first person in Mexico to read a poem in the radio, and Ramón Alva de la Canal, another member of the group, even went as far as to propose the construction of a radio station called Estridentópolis. Luis Quintanilla, another member of the group, would give concrete form to this fascination in a collection of poems appropriately entitled Radio. Poemas inalámbricos en trece mensajes (1924). The Estridentistas’ fascination with the radio, however, would be most clearly manifested in their campaign to promote ‘El Buen Tono’ cigars. As can be seen from this image, taken from Irradiador, the group skillfully played with the name of the cigars, El Bueno Tono (The Good Tone), in order to interweave it with broader concerns regarding communication, technology and futuricity. Within the drawing, the image of a radio city – with its depiction of waves, wires and networks – becomes reminiscent of Marinetti’s futurist projects and the industrial cubism of Fernand Léger.

Text: Carlos Fonseca

Publicity for Cigar Company El Bueno Tono S.A., in Irradiador (1923)