Stencilled Collective Memories in the Cityscapes of Buenos Aires and Rosario in Argentina

By Emilse B. Hidalgo.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper looks into the contemporary artistic implications that the stories of the “disappeared” (victims of State Terrorism) have in the cities of Buenos Aires and Rosario in Argentina. I explore how these stories, which are pedagogically used by the Rosario Memory Museum to teach human rights and democratic values, find an echo in the public sphere through the city’s street graffiti and stencils. In contrast to the established view that trauma can only be defined in terms of silence or of representational and narrative blockage (Lyotard’s “art does not say the unsayable but it says it cannot say it”), I argue that collective traumatic disruption can be rendered transmissible through artistic production. Following Howard Morphy’s theory of art as a mode of action, I first look into the artistic exhibitions of the Rosario Memory Museum and argue for an exemplary and critical-reflexive approach to art, which then finds an echo in the more anarchic and performative art of the streets.

Keywords: Stencils and Graffiti, Collective Memory, Trauma, National Identity and History, Politics of Memory, Art As Activism

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.99-114. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.236MB).

Dr. Emilse B. Hidalgo

PhD, Part-Time Lecturer, Department of Latin American and Hispanic Studies, Department of Critical Theory and Cultural Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

Dr. Emilse Hidalgo is a part-time lecturer in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham. Her areas of research include modernism and postmodernism, hybridity, contemporary postdictatorship cultural productions in South America, memory museums and memory/historical archives, and the development of a pedagogic political culture that fosters social activism and human rights.

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