94.1 Encounters with violence: A living archive

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 10:45 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Beatriz VELIZ ARGUETA , CUCR, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom
Half torn portraits of missing people forcefully disappeared (desaparecidos) still remind inhabitants of the city of Guatemala of an ill-resolved internal conflict. These informal memorials are now silent witnesses of a new era of violence: one surpassing previous number of deaths turning the country, once again, into a human-eating monster.

Making use of photography’s ability of arresting time this project seeks to start a dialogue across time blurring the distinction between past and current experience of violence and turn it into a visual narrative of the present. In this sense Encounters with violence: a living archive seeks to actively engage with traumatic forgotten narratives – mostly unresolved – while at the same time document on new ones and thus create a bridge between memory and present. It seeks to create a living archive of collected encounters with violence. In this sense living archive aims to strengthen the collective memory – breaking an oppressive culture of silence – confronting traumatic past and present violent experiences.

Each portrait speaks of an encounter with violence - directly or indirectly - and of how irregular warfare erodes everyday life. For this the project not only records testimonies but attempts on making them visible asking participants to include their statement as an integral part of the picture.

Integral to the project is the idea of the researcher as an activist of memory raising questions and blurring the distinction around intervention, participation and research. At the same time it will explore new possibilities for visual sociology and means of healing and remembrance.

Finally the project seeks to challenge the concept of post-conflict associated with newly democratized countries and critically analyze the aftermath of traumatic events and the normalization of violence.