University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group > The 'Missing' Picture in the Family Album. Photographic Essays by the Children of the Victims of State Terrorism in Argentina (1976-1983)

The 'Missing' Picture in the Family Album. Photographic Essays by the Children of the Victims of State Terrorism in Argentina (1976-1983)

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‘People robbed of their past seem to make the most fervent picture takers (…) Proust misconstrues that photographs are not so much an instrument of memory as an invention of it or its replacement’ wrote Susan Sontag in On Photography (1979). Given these observations the popularity that photography has enjoyed among the children of the disappeared during the 1976-1983 Argentine dictatorship is unsurprising. In order to fill up the empty space left by the tragedy, these children challenge the past and confront received heritage by constructing an alternative and non-existent family album. Using mainly family photos (instead of ID pictures) in their artworks, these young artists aim to create an affective memory focusing on the private sphere. By doing so, they challenge uses of photos carried out by other relatives of the disappeared, such as the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, which demand justice through the collectivization of victims. In addition, these children avoid evoking their parents’ political practices and thus they distance themselves from the generation of the 1960s and 1970s, for whom the private sphere – the family and personal aspirations – needed to be subsumed under the more important and urgent struggle for revolution conducted in the public space.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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