Friday, March 2, 2012
Light snacks/refreshments provided
"La boca del Prestige: Speech and Silence in the Nunca Máis Movement"
In 2002, the Prestige oil spill and subsequent ecological disaster launched a popular movement known as Nunca Máis, quickly becoming a widespread democratic response to the government's tepid statements about the crisis. Representing over 300 labor, cultural and civil organizations, Nunca Máis united over a quarter million people towards a greater awareness of the fragility of environments and the ongoing threats imposed by a burgeoning system of late capitalism.
In A cuerpo abierto (2008), Manuel Rivas poetically attributes the roots of this movement to the sea itself. His claim suggests that human mobilization involves collaboration between humans and nonhumans. This talk takes its queue from Rivas's observation and explores how the response to this major ecological disaster investigates the prospects of new kinds of space for regional and global identities in Galicia. In order to evaluate the importance of this movement, I examine the flux of speech and silence at work in Rivas's literary "viaje de periodismo indie," which begins to divulge a view of human and nonhuman communities as mutating, open and nonconformist.
"The Museum of Memory: Spectral Presences and Metaphoric Re-memberings"
Objects hold a unique place in both testimonio and projects of memory. In testimonial accounts of experiences of captivity, the speaking subject recounts the loss of his or her subjectivity, the carrying out of the perpetrator's project of the reduction of the self to an object without agency. In memory projects, the object rises to the level of symbol, as exemplified by the now iconic image of the scarves worn by the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and the widespread recognition of the blindfold used in the detention centers of the dictatorships.
This paper will discuss the spectral presence that haunts memory projects that turn past possessions of the disappeared into museum artifacts, drawing from Jacques Derrida's analysis in Specters of Marx: The State of Debt, The Work of Mourning and the New International to argue for a specific testimonial function for the object. To exemplify this value, this paper will turn to a discussion of one particular subset of objects that appear in the group Memoria Abierta's virtual exposition Vestigios - clothing - and, building upon Nelly Richard's discussion of the residual and the clipping, will argue that clothing is an object with a unique memory value that directly evokes the spectrality of the disappeared person, giving testimony to both his/her past presence and continued presence in post-dictatorship society today.