Places of Memory in Buenos Aires

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Student Research Reports, Summer 2018

The author at La Parque de la Memoria, in between the blank plaques for the unknown disappeared and Nicolás Guagnini's sculpture 30,000. (Photo courtesy of Diana Ruiz.)
The author at La Parque de la Memoria, in between the blank plaques for the unknown disappeared and Nicolás Guagnini's sculpture 30,000. (Photo courtesy of Diana Ruiz.)

Places of Memory in Buenos Aires
By Diana Ruiz

My project, Aesthetics of Justice: Forced Disappearances and the Politics of Display, considers the exhibitionary complexes surrounding memorial representations of state-enforced disappearances in the Global South. This project began with archival research and close readings of films and photographic works surrounding state violence in Mexico. The purpose of my Tinker research was to visit sites in Argentina and Chile dedicated to victims of state violence, and better understand how the memorials and museums present immersive and pedagogical experiences to its visitors. I visited key sites in the debates around the transformation and repurposing of clandestine torture and detention centers, as well as more artistic memorials that operate in a different framework of collective memory and . Though I originally planned to visit sites in Chile, severe illness while traveling abroad limited my ability to leave Argentina.  I would still like to visit Chile for further research, however this focus allowed to more visits to the Argentine site and therefore more in-depth spatial and media analyses. These visits are invaluable for my research, and dramatically changed my ability to theorize how visual media operate in these spaces—something I could not garner from the available scholarly literature about these sites.

Video projection in the Storeroom at Museo Sito de Memoria Ex-ESMA, where military officials kept stolen goods. (Photo by Diana Ruiz.) 
Video projection in the Storeroom at Museo Sito de Memoria Ex-ESMA, where military officials kept stolen goods. (Photo by Diana Ruiz.)

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