The Politics and Aesthetics of Memory Chair


Protest coordinated by the United Movement of Women for Life and the Women of Chile (MUDECHI) group against censorship in the Plaza de Armas, Santiago de Chile, 1987. Photograph: Kena Lorenzini

CEach production of memory (places, architecture, documents, archives, testimonies, etc.) refers to certain productions of signs that build memory, selecting viewpoints, tracing frameworks and settings, combining arguments and rhetoric. The critical analysis of different forms of staging the traumatic past enable the distinction to be made between a contemplative memory (of static images that repeat the literal past) and an altering-transformative memory: a memory that displaces the traces of events to once again insert them as living matter in a temporality that is rarely still and always dissenting.

Nelly Richard 
Latencias y estallidos de la memoria inconclusa: Chile 1990-2015 (Latencies and Outbreaks of Inconclusive Memory: Chile 1990–2015), 2017

Education programme developed with the sponsorship of the

Santander Fundación

The Chair

Curated by Chilean theorist Nelly Richard, the Politics and Aesthetics of Memory Chair explores, in different formats — seminars, encounters, film series, exhibitions — the  conception of memory, understood not as a fixed gaze on a concluded past, but as an agent to decipher and re-read fragments and settings, procedures and narratives, rhetoric and body and image politics that continue to question the present with their force of performance. To survey these past/present materials entails strengthening multiple readings and frictions at the crossroads between art, subjectivity, social discourse, culture and institutions.

With this intersection as its point of departure, the Chair seeks to cross lines of reflection from art, theory, critique and politics to review the way in which the shadows of an inconclusive past are cast on the living weft of the present. Creation and thought are privileged areas for researching the following tension: on one side, media networks that build a superficial present with their momentary and transient aesthetics stitched from light-hearted (non-serious) images, and on the other, the “archival shift” of a cultural present with repertoires of memory that persevere with wanting to restore significance and value to truncated, censored and marginalised pasts in the official narratives of history. Consequently, images and imaginaries constitute the material to decipher for a better understanding of the challenges of this tension between neoliberal operations, which foster the omission of the past, and the necessary political-critical rescue of memory.

Nelly Richard

Curator of the Politics and Aesthetics of Memory Chair

A theorist and essayist, she curated the Chilean Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, under the title Poéticas de la disidencia: Paz Errázuriz - Lotty Rosenfeld (Poetics of Dissidence: Paz Errázuriz — Lotty Rosenfeld). As founder and director of the magazine Revista de Crítica Cultural (1990-2008), she was also director of the MA in Cultural Studies at the University of Arts and Social Sciences in Santiago (Chile). Furthermore, she has written a broad number of publications in Chile and internationally in relation to art, memory and the Chilean transition to democracy, for instance: Márgenes e Instituciones. Arte en Chile desde 1973 (Metales pesados, 1986, reissued in 2008); Masculino / Femenino. Prácticas de la diferencia y cultura democrática (Francisco Zegers Editor, 1993); Residuos y metáforas. Ensayos de crítica cultural sobre el Chile de la transición (Cuarto propio, 1998); Fracturas de la memoria. Arte y pensamiento crítico (Siglo veintiuno, 2007); Feminismo, género y diferencia(s) (Palinodia, 2008); Crítica de la memoria (Universidad Diego Portales, 2010); and Diálogos latinoamericanos en las fronteras del arte (Ediciones udp, 2014).