Political Technologies of Memory:
A genealogy (1973-2013) of the devices of registration and denunciation of human rights violations by the military dictatorship in Chile
Research project CONICYT-PCI / DPI 20140048. Execution period 2015-2018
Principal researcher: Oriana Bernasconi R.
This interdisciplinary research, conducted in collaboration with the University of Oxford in the UK, addresses the phenomenon of the violation of human rights by the last civil-military dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990) and the way this has been inscribed and re-inscribed for the last forty years through the different devices and technologies used in the practices and organization of registering, assisting with and denouncing these atrocities, and later, in their reparation and memory.
Analyzing first the archives of the civil society organizations who assisted the victims and their families during the dictatorship, and, then, the documentation of the processes of managing state violence that were led in democracy by other agencies and mandates (specifically reparation and memory), we examine and relate different material objects such as the victims’ registration records, court files and assistance folders, the statement forms or interview guidelines and the questionnaires and databases used to record and act on perpetrated violations. We observe these instruments—trivial at first glance—, used in the daily work of human rights organizations, and later, of the State, as devices capable of making us problematize how we have processed the terror, recorded, managed, denounced and resisted this repressive past, and how we have built the memories of the greatest socio-political catastrophe in contemporary Chile.
Thus, the genealogical analysis of devices and political technologies involved in these processes will allow us to determine the constitution and transformations of the repertoire of the speakable with respect to these atrocities, identify the role that the various epistemes and approaches involved have had in the recording, processing and reporting of these acts (legal, psychological, assistential, medical, etc.), uncover and analyze a specific form of State terrorism resistance originating in civil society and study how these devices have helped shape the discursive genre of human rights and perform the subject of this violence.
Link to project website:
TRAZAR UN LUGAR EN LA MEMORIA.
“Mnemonics in Miguel Lawner’s drawings of Dawson Island”
This project belongs to the research area “History and Art History” of the Art Department, Alberto Hurtado University. Execution period 2016-2017.
Principal researcher: Sandra Accatino
Along with other political prisoners, the architect Miguel Lawner was held on Dawson Island between September 16, 1973 and May 8, 1974. During that time, he created a series of drawings, and he sketched and destroyed daily plans of the enclosure in which they were held in order to sustain the memory of the places and events that occurred there. During his exile, he redrew three blueprints that record the prisoners’ rooms, the concentration camp and the northwest coast of the island. The project investigates the complex graphical plot of these documents and their relationship with some of the drawings that Lawner managed to preserve, in order to link them with the mnemonics of the ancient ars memoriae and the importance in them of the orderly arrangement in well-defined places of intense and vivid images that were associated with certain content that had to be remembered. Faced with the ars oblivionalis to which the prisoners were systematically subjected, the imperative “we will not forget” written by Lawner in the blueprint of the Rio Chico concentration camp retrieves the drawing as a device that creates, controls and perpetuates remembrance and memory.
“Construction of the image of the Latin American dictator through caricatures of Augusto Pinochet published in the foreign press”
1973-2006 (United States, France and England)
Research project CONICYT-FONDECYT 3130649. Execution period 2013-2015
Principal researcher: Manuel Gárate Chateau
Forty years after the Chilean coup d’état, the figure of Augusto Pinochet forms part of the international pantheon of dictators of the twentieth century. This postdoctoral research, in line with cultural history and representations of politics, analyzed the construction of the idea of evil and the image of the dictator through press cartoons published in Europe (notably in France and England) and in the United States. The project enabled a comprehensive review of images built around the Chilean dictator during the 1973-2006 period. Studies on the figure of Augusto Pinochet have remained focused on his biography and his influence as a political actor during the dictatorial regime and the so-called democratic transition. His death in 2006 definitely designated the end of a cycle where Chilean politics was marked by his real or even virtual presence (especially after his return from his arrest in London).