Re-Emerging Pasts: Forums for Telling in Contemporary Argentina and Chile

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:45
Location: Hörsaal 34 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Vikki BELL, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom
Mario DI PAOLANTONIO, York University, Toronto, Canada
This paper arises from on-going research, funded by the UK’s ESRC, into the aftermath of the State violence that took place in the 1970s and 1980s in Argentina and Chile. Although that period of violence is now 'past', many facets of it are still unresolved. Beyond the legal mechanisms that continue to unearth new aspects of the last military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-83) and the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990), there are several sites at which these unresolved issues emerge for debate and verification. The research has studied a range of diverse sites that we call here 'forums for telling' (Weizman, 2011). Its premise is that the importance of telling the past is intimately linked with Justice, but that this 'juris-diction' is not confined to legal forums, since the work of speaking justice (and justly) also takes place elsewhere (Nancy, 2003; Fitzpatrick, 2004). Seeking something beyond an affirmation of the socially constructed nature of truth, we follow Stengers, to consider how truths pass through different processes of hypothesising, 'testing' and reflection before they are affirmed and allowed to emerge as true. Thus the production of truth at a museum of memory such as a museum of memory differs, both in process and in terms of the truths it seeks and can affirm, from the production of truth by the law courts, or by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team's attempts to establish identities through the testing of human remains or DNA. We ask: which truths emerge at the different sites? Which form to they take (images, objects, speech, blood)? How are they understood as relevant to the forum that debates their status? What 'tests' must they pass in order to attain their status as true? How are emergent truths presented, arranged and mediated for consumption (including aspects of digitalisation)?