Creative Approaches to Memory TFDC 2.14
Jul 04, 2023 11:30 - 13:00(Europe/London)
20230704T1130 20230704T1300 Europe/London 1.10. Remembering through the image and the body in Latin America

This panel seeks to center the image and the body as sites in which historic memory is preserved and struggled in Latin American contexts. We drew from different objects such as films, performance, photography, software development, digital maps, among others to point out how the act of remembering is a collaborative, multisensorial and a creative practice. The three papers that compose this panel deal with violent phenomena that are part of contemporary Latin America: the internal colonialism of the ethnographic gaze, the way in which political and environmental violence are intersected and the silencing of voices fighting for Human Rights. All these phenomena threaten to erase the voices of subjects that fall outside what Sylvia Winter calls the "human category". That is why we want to bring to the forefront creative proposals for remembering such as the new technologies used by Forensic Architecture, decolonial approaches to ethnography through film and embodied actions in the frame of the assassination of the black activist and feminist Marielle Franco in Brazil. These cases bring the body and the images as possibilities to build memory in a sensorial and collaborative way.

Courtney Crumpler and Rafael Rezende

Marielle Gigante: Transnational Actions to Preserve and Amplify a Collective Memory of Marielle FrancoMarch 2023 marks five years since the brutal assassination of Rio de Janeiro councilwoman and political activist Marielle Franco. A Black queer woman from the favela of Maré, Franco fervently defended the rights of Afro Brazilian women, the LGBTQIA+ community, and people from favelas, peripheries, and quilombos. Her paradigm shifting leadership based in Ubuntu philosophy ('I am because we are') impacted many lives and left an inspiring legacy o ...

TFDC 2.14 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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This panel seeks to center the image and the body as sites in which historic memory is preserved and struggled in Latin American contexts. We drew from different objects such as films, performance, photography, software development, digital maps, among others to point out how the act of remembering is a collaborative, multisensorial and a creative practice. The three papers that compose this panel deal with violent phenomena that are part of contemporary Latin America: the internal colonialism of the ethnographic gaze, the way in which political and environmental violence are intersected and the silencing of voices fighting for Human Rights. All these phenomena threaten to erase the voices of subjects that fall outside what Sylvia Winter calls the "human category". That is why we want to bring to the forefront creative proposals for remembering such as the new technologies used by Forensic Architecture, decolonial approaches to ethnography through film and embodied actions in the frame of the assassination of the black activist and feminist Marielle Franco in Brazil. These cases bring the body and the images as possibilities to build memory in a sensorial and collaborative way.



Courtney Crumpler and Rafael Rezende

Marielle Gigante: Transnational Actions to Preserve and Amplify a Collective Memory of Marielle Franco

March 2023 marks five years since the brutal assassination of Rio de Janeiro councilwoman and political activist Marielle Franco. A Black queer woman from the favela of Maré, Franco fervently defended the rights of Afro Brazilian women, the LGBTQIA+ community, and people from favelas, peripheries, and quilombos. Her paradigm shifting leadership based in Ubuntu philosophy ('I am because we are') impacted many lives and left an inspiring legacy of collective political practices. Countless actions to honor her and demand justice have been carried out in Brazil and around the world since her tragic death. This paper analyzes the transnational dimensions of the process of building a collective memory of Marielle Franco's life and legacy. It considers actions involving a range of media, from distributed gatherings visualized on digital maps, to renaming streets and establishing monuments, to public murals, demonstrations, musical compositions, and public pronouncements by politicians, academics, activists, and artists. These efforts engage people around the world in the act of collective remembering and can be understood as a contra colonial strategy of collective memory construction, following quilombola intellectual Antônio Bispo dos Santos (Bispo 2015). This process is part of an effort led by Black Brazilian women to ensure that the memory of Marielle is collective, far reaching, and representative of her struggle. The goal is to inspire a new generation of Black or LGBTQIA+ leaders from the peripheries who will carry on Marielle's mission while combatting the misinformation that her detractors have spread. This process expands existing notions of what collective memory can be through its impressive diversity of tactics and distributed network of participants. The authors are allies and co conspirators in the work of constructing this collective memory. One was a member of Franco's communications team and currently works at the Marielle Franco Institute. The other has led artistic interventions to honor Marielle's legacy and supports the Institute with organizing strategy.


Nicoly Monteiro dos Santos

Memory, subjectivity and surrealism in Laura Huerta's El Laberinto (2018) and JIIBIE (2019)

Laura Huertas Millán, a visual artist, scholar, and filmmaker from Bogotá, Colombia, creates both intimacy and wonder through her films. Her experimental approach combines unlikely elements to produce decolonial ethnographic films, engaging with the idea of ethnographic surrealism conceptualized by James Clifford in 1981. The director went from the anti-ethnographic approach of Journey to a Land Otherwise Known (2011) to a methodology that seeks to embrace subjectivities in a collaborative process. This can be seen in her more recent films El Laberinto (2018) and JIIBIE (2019). In these films, she works with Cristóbal Gómez, a member of the Muina Murui community who formerly worked with a powerful cartel. His experiences lead to a broader exploration of violence, capitalism, and exploitation of the Amazon. In addition, the stories recalled by Gómez reveal his connection with the Muina Murui cosmologies and rituals, for whom the coca plant is sacred. Both El Laberinto (2018) and JIIBIE (2019) look at memory not as evidence that needs to be examined and proven, but as an important element of oral traditions that are essential for the survival of a culture that has been preyed upon much like the Amazon forest. Millan's aesthetics are evocative of hallucinatory experiences, not only because coca-induced hallucinations are part of Gomez's narrative but for its enhancement of sensorial experiences. The images created by the director add to and expand on the subject's lived experience, immersing in their contradictions and uncovering their ancestralities. In this paper, I examine these films as ethnographic-surrealist practices that allow its subjects to develop their own narratives. In this process, the people portrayed in her films have space to unearth their memories and present a layered sense of self. I also consider decolonial literature to show that this method can be a crucial way of dismantling the predatory approach of early ethnographic film.


María Paula Molano

"La memoria de la tierra es la memoria de la guerra": Violence, Memory and the Environment in Colombia's Banana Plantations

How to deal with the anxiety of preserving the memory of violence? In which ways does aesthetics change the way violence is visualized in Colombia? In this article I analyze how the recent exhibition organized by Forensic Architecture and Comisión de la Verdad called "Huellas de la desaparición" creates a multisensorial, participative, and collaborative project (that includes both humans and nonhumans) which exposes a collective seeing that stands against the erasure of memory. Through a visual assemblage of satellite analyzes, aerial photography, and situated testimonies of the peasants of Urabá, the exhibition recreates the transformation of the landscape in a video game software to show how the erosion of the land by the sea is due to the monoculture plantations. The way the earth changes exposes the effects of enforced displacement and massacres executed by paramilitary groups visible and bring to the forefront the nonhuman bodies that were always there: the earth, the sea, and the banana plant. In other words, by looking (literally) to the earth and the sea, the exhibition elicits an embodied -not just optical- way to create historic memory of the dispossession of humans and nonhumans that existed and that persists in Colombia's landscapes of violence.

Duke University
Director of Strategy and Operations
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Instituto Marielle Franco
PhD student
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Duke University
Graduate Student
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Duke University
Graduate Student
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Duke University
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