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Tracing the Absence: Voices, experiences and materialities of forced disappearance in Colombia

PROJECTOUTLINE

In a global cold-war atmosphere during the period of the 50s, the first cases of disappearances of people were registered in Colombia. Coinciding with the historical context of an established political violence discourse in Latin America, this period was defined by the fragmentation and isolation of its emerging cultural manifestations.

Likewise, the irregular development of the armed conflict, its characteristics, historical periods and actors involved, shaped a quite specific social phenomenon, in which a large number of people were forcibly and discriminated disappeared for longer than five decades – resulting in the lack of definition and incomprehension of the effects-and-affects present in the configuration of a type of violence – visible both in the body(s) as well as in the discontinuities of the territory.

the irregular development of the armed conflict, shaped a quite specific social phenomenon, in which a large number of people were forcibly and discriminated disappeared for longer than five decades.

The main objective of this project seeks to problematize the concept of disappearance from its different semantic possibilities, as well as a strategy of concealment of the intentions, facts and the ways in which the conflict is narrated. To this end, the analysis focuses on how those who have been affected by this type of violence give meaning to those experiences, exploring the possibilities of memory as a central resource for narrating violent experiences, considering the tensions and counterpoints of their representation. However, this proposal challenges the transitional notion, construction and inclusion/concealment strategies, as well as questions the intentions and strategies of the participatory processes arising in the resolution and post-conflict phase in the region.

On the other hand, based on a methodology of observation in context, approaches the diversity of personal symbolic practices, their modes of register and their cultural latencies; giving form to a wide corpus of mechanisms and artifacts – what like alternatives access to the past, allow the controversy of the biases of hegemonic-historical processes.

Accordingly, the research corpus includes the revision of artistic proposals (documentary, installation and photography), local commemoration practices and various private archives.

From a broader perspective, this project also includes the analysis of emerging global initiatives that consider the external voices of the conflict, such as the Musée international de la Croix-Rouge project and Cross Files (ICRC), examining the role of aesthetic manifestations in the development of critical historical mechanisms.

THIS PROJECT SEEKS TO PROBLEMATIZE THE CONCEPT OF DISAPPEARANCE FROM ITS DIFFERENT SEMANTIC POSSIBILITIES, AS WELL AS A STRATEGY OF CONCEALMENT OF THE INTENTIONS, FACTS AND THE WAYS IN WHICH THE CONFLICT IS NARRATED.

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Research, 2016 

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REFERENCES

BIO

MARÍA ORDOÑEZ-CRUZ B.F.A.

As a visual artist, I have developed my work through a multi-material exploration (audiovisual & new media approaches). I did a Master in Design in the searching of broadening perspectives, methodologies, and possibilities, bringing together artistic research and critical-participatory design. During the last years, I have been working on the query about the ways of dealing and remembering violence from personal narratives, in the frame of the Enforced Disappearance in Colombia, explored through their different materialities (archives, oral history and subjective narratives) (Las Dos Fechas – 2013 / Non-narrated-portraits – 2017).

Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in the Romanisches Seminar at the University of Zurich.

2017 I Member of the Visual Culture Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA).

MIDBO Exhibition, 2017

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Exhibitions& GRANTS

  1. Art installation: Retratosnohablados
    Memory, Peace and Reconciliation Center
    With the support of the National Center for Historical Memory
    Bogotá, Colombia. 2018

  2. Art installation: Retratosnohablados 
    MIDBO / Expanded documentary category
    International Documentary Exhibition of Bogotá
    Javeriana University. Bogotá, Colombia. 2017

  3. Art Installation: Retratosnohablados

    Public exhibition in the National Museum in Bogotá, in the framework of the main ceremony for winner
    projects awarded by the Centre of Historical Memory
    Bogotá, Colombia. 2017

  4. Artistic Research Project: Retratosnohablados

    National Grants Program of the Ministry of Culture
    Research grants for creation of museography projects about historical memory of the armed conflict:
    „Memories of War, Resistance, and Dignity”, Colombia. 2016

  5. Art installation: Retratosnohablados
    La Muestra Maestra

    Public Exhibition of Master Graduate Projects
    University of Los Andes. Bogotá, Colombia. 2015

  6. Art installation: Sin Reparo

    Art & Ceramics Exhibition. Bogotá, Colombia. 2015

  7. Project: Las Dos Fechas
    Film & written essay
    Bogotá, Colombia. 2014