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Journal of Latin American Cultural


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Expanded Fields: Postdictatorship and


the Landscape
Jens Andermann

Version of record first published: 24 Jul 2012

To cite this article: Jens Andermann (2012): Expanded Fields: Postdictatorship and the Landscape,
Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies: Travesia, 21:2, 165-187

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Jens Andermann

EXPANDED FIELDS: POSTDICTATORSHIP


AND THE LANDSCAPE

This paper aims to recast debates on postdictatorial memory in the Southern Cone,
suggesting that the role of landscape alongside the more familiar models and forms of
commemoration archives, museums, monuments hasnt thus far received the attention
it deserves. Landscape, as a surface of inscription and as a spatial opening, encompasses a
number of aesthetic registers, from architecture to writing and the visual arts. Here I shall
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trace its modulations through some of the memorial gardens created in Argentina, Chile and
Uruguay, to then focus on the poetic uvre of Raul Zurita and, finally, on Argentine films
made by children of parents disappeared by the dictatorship. Rosalind Krausss seminal
essay Sculpture in the Expanded Field (1978) will allow me to think about landscape as
a critical interruption of monumental re-inscriptions and emplacements, opening these
towards spaces of itinerance with a potentiality for moving beyond the temporality of
trauma or at least of rethinking the latter in terms of present political practices.

I. Gardens
In his latest film, Nostalgia de la luz (2010), Patricio Guzman proposes a radical
hypothesis: when, after the 1973 coup, the Pinochet dictatorship chose the Atacama
desert for constructing its most infamous torture and examination camps as well as to
bury there the bodies of its victims, in the belief that its sterile and remote geography
equalled absolute oblivion, it was actually confiding its crimes to nothing less than the
memory of our planet. Thanks to its extraordinarily arid climate, the desert preserves
the traces of the past better than any other environment, from archeological remains to
the origins of the universe engraved in the firmament, the light of which can be seen here
almost without any atmospheric interference. Through an astronomer, Guzman learns
of the molecular identity between the calcium of long-disappeared stars whose
combustion gave origin to the Earth and those of the remains of loved ones, which the
mothers and wives of the desaparecidos continue to seek and find in the desert more than
twenty years after the end of the dictatorship. In this shared essence, Guzman finds the
key to a dialectical image of the way in which the extinct light of the assassinated the
reflections of which his camera captures in the manner of a telescope panning the sky
continues to illuminate the present and future of Chile.
Almost thirty years earlier, in the two short poems that open and close the section
of Anteparaso titled Las Utopas, Raul Zurita had already anticipated this idea of

Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Vol. 21, No. 2 June 2012, pp. 165-187
ISSN 1356-9325/print 1469-9575 online q 2012 Taylor & Francis
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569325.2012.694810
166 LATIN AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES

illumination. He refers to the sight of a star on behalf of the tortured lyrical self,
huddled against the boats planked deck off Valparaso, where the Navy had detained
hundreds of political militants after the September 11 coup. Suddenly, he goes on,
I was struck that the storm, the night, and I were just one / and that wed survive /
because its the entire Universe that survives.1 As in Guzmans film, only the reference
to a non-human a natural, geological, cosmic temporality allows one to imagine a
renewal of the bond that has been broken, on the level of social time, by dictatorial
terror. The scandal of the most recent Latin American dictatorships, as is well known,
was not just the scale or even the perverse and systematic nature of the violence
unleashed by the state but, first and foremost, the fracture inflicted on the time of the
collective by the disappearance of the victims bodies. By withholding the body whose
death, as a marker of the difference between yesterday and today, triggers the very
process of remembering, the work of mourning, which (in Jan Assmanns terms)
mediates between communicative and cultural memory, is indefinitely suspended,
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thereby obstructing the possibility of referring individual affect to collective, public


rituals and narratives.2 From classical and pre-Columbian antiquity, the site of burial as
the emplacement of temporal becoming has also been the foundation of signification as
such, as Robert Pogue Harrison points out in reminding us of the double meaning of
the Greek term sema, which refers both to the grave itself and to the marker that
indicates it.3 In giving shelter to the dead, the earth emplaces our becoming as it
warrants the continuity of a legacy, which the living will pass on to those yet unborn.
The institution of burial thus ratifies, as Heidegger had already claimed,4 the contract of
reciprocity between humans and the earth, the former vowing to guard and defend the
latter by entrusting to it their beloved dead.
Thus, we can begin to understand why the dictatorships, rather than merely an
excess of violence, were in fact concerted attempts to undermine the very foundations
of language and, in this way, to permanently reconstruct society precisely by
withdrawing its constituent base of shared humanity. Analysing literary narratives of the
postdictatorship, critics such as Fernando Reati and Idelber Avelar have shown how this
fracturing of the national bond manifests itself in allegories of the fragmented, ruined
city.5 Here, I wish to explore a different movement which, across literature and film,
architecture and the visual arts, has on the contrary sought to oppose and contain this
rupture in the expanded field of landscape. I shall borrow Rosalind Krausss concept in
order to speak to a dimension where the absence of places for mourning can be both
drawn out and counteracted in an opening towards space, which reconstitutes the
horizon of the human precisely as it exceeds it. My point is that disappearance here
summons different, and to an extent opposed, mnemonic engagements with landscape.
On the one hand, the latter becomes the medium of an at least announced
re-emplacement and suture. On the other, it functions as a domain of unfastening from
place, of an errant, itinerant memory which, I suggest, holds a possibility of overcoming
melancholy and eternal repetition. In taking my argument through different archives
landscape architecture, poetry, and film I wish not just to focus on their different
modulations of this space/place configuration but also to suggest that landscape always
potentially contains a deterritorializing force, a line of flight which crosses and subverts
disciplinary demarcations just as it works against monumental emplacement.
The creation of memory gardens and parks in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay since
the 1990s recovers a long tradition of conferring to the mnemonic power of landscape the
POSTDICTATORSHIP AND THE LANDSCAPE 167

memory of the defeated (Indians, peasants, workers). At the same time, it emplaces
and, thus, begins to contain the crack dictatorial violence has left in the very texture of
commonality. These projects, then, invoke the therapeutic potential of the organic
elements proper to the poetics of landscape the flowering cycles of vegetation, the
bland and rocky textures of soil, the reflexive surface of water to project a beyond of
terror and traumatic amnesia, a clearing in the emplotments of city and nation. At the
same time, this power of the landscape to resist pain and terror also stems from its radical
indifference towards human life and history and, thus, its affinity with oblivion rather than
memory. As James Young has argued in the context of the Holocaust, the need for
monuments derives from a necessity to contain the obliviousness of landscape and uphold
the duty to remember. Monuments must of necessity inscribe a tension towards the place
they claim; they have to provoke the landscape through their obtrusiveness and keep
memory from receding into the landscape (and oblivion) altogether.6
The memory park, then, stages a drama to be re-played on every visit, in which
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the promise of safety and suture extended by the forms of nature clashes with the
monumental intervention and its insistence on the duty to remember. In this way, the
memorial park inherits, yet also transforms, the civic and didactic function entrusted to
the modern park in Latin America, designed to fashion multitudes into citizens
by bringing them into the presence of an orderly nature. Parks, as heterotopias
anticipating the future city, were a means of mobilizing the invigorating effects of New
World nature over the constraints of modern life, at the same time as imposing the
sovereignty of reason and culture over wilderness: the work of Roberto Burle Marx, in
Brazil, of Luis Barragan, in Mexico, or of Carlos Martner, in Chile, are key examples of
this modernist, at once national and cosmopolitan, agenda.7 The memory gardens
of the postdictatorship both inherit and contradict this modern tradition of the park-
form in Latin America, re-activating its didactic nature as a space for public education
yet also questioning its teleological, developmental temporality. The latter is being
replaced now by the more complex experience of a healing process interrupted and
perforated time and again, by the traumatic return of material fragments and shards
from the past. At Santiago de Chiles Villa Grimaldi Peace Park, for example,
inaugurated in 1997 on the grounds of the former Cuartel Terranova torture site
operated by the DINA (Directorate of National Intelligence),8 the overall design, in
Michael Lazzaras words, practices an aesthetics of smoothing down the hard and
scabrous surfaces of the past. Yet at the same time, it also includes a series of indexical
pointers interrupting the passage of strollers, and forcing them to face the subtle
evidence of the contradictions implicit in the act of embellishing a place of horror.9
Even though its original design, based on a proposal by the architect Ana Cristina
Torrealba, has since been modified and overwritten by successive layers of
commemoration, including small memorial monuments by the main political parties
whose activists were detained and tortured here, the overall structure of the Villa
Grimaldi park still remains visible. It consists of an X-shaped crossroads of pathways, a
semantically open design that could variously be read as the religious symbolism of the
Christian cross and its function as a grave marker, as representing the sign of the
slogan No of the resistance against the Pinochet regime, or indeed as a spatial
inscription of the encounter between present and past that forms the very substance of
the park, claiming the site in the way Lucio Costas famous Plano Piloto had done for
Braslia only now as a reclaiming of this former place of torment and death for the
168 LATIN AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES

commemoration and celebration of the victims lives and legacy.10 The site of
convergence of the two axes is occupied by the circular Patio Deseado centering on a
fountain made from tile shards reclaimed from the rubble of the clandestine camps
remains (Figure 1). Surrounded by intensely coloured vegetation with a variety of
flowering cycles, the fountain, in the words of an official guidebook, symbolizes the
baptismal purging of a society daring to face its darkest past: With its double meaning,
death and resurrection, the crossing of the two axes at the centre of the park shelters a
fountain, a place of encounter and orientation where one can experience contact with
the water.11
Yet this redemptive symbolism, which cites the design of classic Islamic and medieval
paradise gardens (the chahar bagh or hortus conclusus),12 is literally interrupted in its
harmonious geometry by the ruined vestiges of the Villa itself and those architectural
elements of the former torture centre that survived its demolition towards the end of the
dictatorship: a bleak concrete wall with barbed wire fencing on top, the swimming pool,
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where guards used to party but also tortured and assassinated prisoners. Left untouched,
the pool now gathers muddy and opaque rainwater, in marked contrast with the clear and
transparent waters of the central fountain. It is also marked out, as other former stations
of the torture itinerary to which prisoners were being subjected, by a plaque on the
ground (Figure 2), also made from reclaimed tile shards and inscribed with letters
recalling the heritage aesthetics of colonial-era street signs: Piscina. Lugar de
amedrentamiento [Swimming pool. Place of intimidation]; Casas Corvi, celdas de 1x1
metros. Lugar de aislamiento / Vendados y encadenados de pies y manos [Casas Corvi,
cells of 1 1 metres. Place of isolation / Blindfolded and chained hand and foot]; Sala
de guardia con sala de tortura anexa [Guards room with adjacent torture chamber].

FIGURE 1. The Patio Deseado at Villa Grimaldi Peace Park, Santiago de Chile
(photograph J.A.).
POSTDICTATORSHIP AND THE LANDSCAPE 169
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FIGURE 2. A sign made from reclaimed tile shards, Villa Grimaldi Peace Park
(photograph J.A.).

Cultural critics, most vocally Nelly Richard, have attacked the composed and orderly
[arreglada] writing of these names, mingling harmoniously with the pieces of the mosaics,
but without telling us anything of the de-composition of the victims entire referential and
semantic universe as they were being savagely reduced to inarticulateness, stammering
and shaking.13
Yet, one could ask, is it not precisely the breakdown of any possible documentation,
let alone reconstruction, of this other space-time this non-place, literally, of the
eradication of lives and consciousnesses which the beautiful colours and forms of the
signs draw out? In fact, the tile shards were also chosen to signal the camps topography,
reconstructed from the testimonies of survivors, because of their value for these as
place-markers. The tiles had been the only things of colour they would sometimes catch
a glimpse of when looking down under the blindfolds permanently covering their eyes.
They represented points of orientation, of anchorage, and perhaps even of aesthetic
experience in the midst of horror, little victories against madness and pain. The park
attempts to revindicate these experiences both symbolically and materially, yet without
pretending to reconstruct or even to describe them except in the most summary fashion.
Rather, it re-asserts them in its own landscape vocabulary, just as the elementary
structure of the axial cross refers at once to the paradise-garden, with its associations of a
nature purged of suffering, and inscribes in space the indelible connection between its
present form and use (represented by the walkway through which visitors now enter the
site) and those of the past (represented by the old access path, ending at the now-closed
iron gates through which trucks carrying new prisoners once entered the torture centre
from the nearby airstrip).
170 LATIN AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES

Instead of this literalness of the remnant, which interrupts and suspends the gardens
soothing effect with its indexical force, the Memorial de los Detenidos Desaparecidos
[Memorial for the Imprisoned and Disappeared] at Montevideos Parque Vaz Ferreira
(Figure 3), inaugurated in 2002, and the Monumento a las Vctimas del Terrorismo de
Estado [Monument to the Victims of State Terror] (Figure 4), completed in 2007 at
Buenos Aires Parque de la Memoria (itself created between 1998 and 2001), express
spatio-temporal rupture through a double gesture of inscription. Rather than to
recover in the form of the garden a place from an atrocious past that had stripped it of
the very condition of place-ness (although, in both cases, the vicinity of former centres of
repression and torture informs the overall design), these monumental ensembles seek to
allegorize the commonality of remembrance through their emplacement on an urban
border of high significance to the cognitive map of both cities: the River Plate.14 Just as
at Villa Grimaldi, two kinds of inscription (one architectonic or monumental, the other
alphabetical) interrupt the harmonious unity of place, giving tangible form to the
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absence that keeps it from closing in on itself. Both monuments deploy names engraved
on smooth surfaces: those of the victims of dictatorial terror identified thus far, with
blanks left for future inscriptions, of names yet to be confirmed. But whereas Martha
Kohens and Ruben Oteros Montevideo project centres on two glass walls running
parallel to each other, their foundations inserted into the bedrock of the Cerro
mountain, Alberto Varass Buenos Aires memorial forms a zig-zagging line of porfiry
walls softly rising, then descending again, from a mound dividing the Parks forecourt,
occupied by a sculpture garden, from the river.

FIGURE 3. Monumento de los Detenidos Desaparecidos, Montevideo (photograph


rammdesign, Montevideo).
POSTDICTATORSHIP AND THE LANDSCAPE 171
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FIGURE 4. Monumento a las Vctimas del Terrorismo de Estado, Buenos Aires


(photograph J.A.).

There are, then, two different gestures of marking as well as challenging


emplacement: in Kohens and Oteros project, the monument is located in a clearing in
the wood, the rugged character of which has been preserved in the rest of the park, so
that visitors can experience, in their winding ascent, the discomfort of uncovering the
brutal truth [la verdad descarnada], revealed in the exposure of glass and naked rock,
which literally returns our gaze to the woodland in the distance but now overwritten
with the names of those missing. By day, the play of light and shadow itself organizes this
projection or overwriting of the landscape, whereas, at night, the illuminated glass calls
out from the heights, a harbinger of the light flowing from the engraved names.15
Meanwhile, Varass monument traverses the curved shapes of the park like a wound or a
lightning ray, while on ground level it interrupts visitors movement towards the river,
pushing it sideways, up and down again in a way that echoes the vacillations of memory
itself in its movement towards its forever receding object. This interstice, at the
same time, induces acts of reading: it is here, literally between the city where they had
lived and struggled and the river where many of them died, that the names of the
disappeared resurge. Drawing productively on precursors such as Maya Lins Vietnam
memorial or Daniel Libeskinds Jewish Museum annex at Berlin, Andreas Huyssen has
suggested, the Varas monument makes place resonant with global forms, inscribing
the Argentine struggles as part of the memory of what he calls the global 68 and
grounding them within the site-specific interplay between city and river, as
traumatically signified spaces of absence, which monumental place makes recognizable
as such: The monument can [ . . . ] be read between two lines, on one side of which you
have the city and on the other the river [ . . . .] The voids or absences are in the life of the
city and in the flow of the river, and they are marked on those plaques which still remain
172 LATIN AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES

empty.16 That is, the memorial denies and defers the suture of the sign that is proper to
a sepulchre in re-inscribing the name but simultaneously suspends the act of presence
this writing announces, through the negative figuration of its architectural support.
Instead, it forces it open again by unleashing the absence the sign in-scribes back into
urban and natural space, across city and river.
These monuments then, to return to James Youngs formulation quoted earlier, do
not so much take their place in the landscape as they provoke and challenge it,
interrupting its spatial continuity as a way of insisting on the impossibility of reconciling a
temporality fractured by state terror with the historical teleology of postdictatorial
narratives of transition.17 Huyssen, in order to capture this wider intervention of
monumental place into the space of city and nation, draws on Rosalind Krausss notion
of the expanded field the latter developed in a seminal October essay first published in
1978.18 There, Krauss had observed the effects on contemporary sculptural practice of
the increasingly blurry opposition between the very categories that had once laid down
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its boundaries: landscape and architecture. This blurring or becoming-indifferent, itself


the consequence of the crisis of the city and of the increasingly evident ecological fall-out
from industrial modernity, Krauss argued, affected the very notions of duration,
materiality and unity of place which had until then differentiated sculpture from adjacent
artistic disciplines, pushing it towards itinerant and temporally unstable experiences
focused on this very transgression of limits (such as land art, kinetic art, environmental
art, etc.). Indeed, we could recall here Lotty Rosenfelds 1979 sculpture-performance
Una milla de cruces sobre el pavimento [A mile of crosses on the pavement], in which
the Chilean underground artist attached white bands to the traffic lines of Avenida
Manquehue in Santiagos fashionable North, to form a line of crosses of about 1,700
metres length. Here, the dictatorial rupture of the sign provokes unlike in the
monumental crack or fault line which even in its formal negativity, according to
Huyssen, still mediates between city and river, architecture and landscape a
politicization of itinerance, a setting-in-motion of a denied mourning. This itinerance is
similar to the way in which, in Nestor Perlonghers poem Cadaveres (1984), phantasmatic
absence turns into the ubiquity of bodies insistently propping up and nestling into the
very folds of intimacy and of language. In these and other artistic manifestation, a
spatialization of mourning occurs which, deprived of a place on which to settle, chooses
to turn itinerance into a performative practice that encounters landscape not so much
through the rootedness of the garden as through the mobility of the journey.

II. Itinerance
Even the most cursory overview of Raul Zuritas work cannot fail to observe there the
importance of two poetic models, each of which associates the enunciatory time of
the voice with a spatial movement of pilgrimage and exile: the Divina Commedia and the
Canto General. As is well known, Dantes poem is among many other things an
allegorical discourse about civilization and nature, in which the divine mandate of
recovering the lost Eden by submitting wilderness to the sovereignty of human ratio
strives towards its realization in the itinerary from the initial selva oscura to the selva
antica and on to the ascent to Paradise itself.19 In Neruda, meanwhile, poetic language
also decrypts and thus foreshadows, as revolutionary becoming, the silent longing for
POSTDICTATORSHIP AND THE LANDSCAPE 173

freedom and justice already engraved in las tierras sin nombre y sin numero [the
lands without name or number].20 Zuritas uvre, from its very titles (Purgatorio,
1979; Anteparaso, 1982; La vida nueva, 1994), echoes this eschatological tension
running through its precursors, of a redemptive voice calling from Hell, or rather,
from the purgatorial in-between time of suffering and messianic hope. His poetic
geography (a kind of experimental mapping of the terrorized, raped land) spurns the
valleys and centres of population donde todo Chile se mora [y] se pario a s mismo /
hecho un dolor [where all Chile was dying and gave birth to itself like pain],21
instead seeking out its utmost borderlands. Deserts, coast and cordilleras inert,
uninhabitable, mineral nature provide locales of refuge here to which the radical
longing for a new life beyond violence can adhere. The extreme tension assumed by
this poetic voice, which moves back and forth, in a non-allegorical movement, from the
body and the corpse to the errant space of their itinerance, becomes clear in two pairs
of stanzas from the long poem Canto a su amor desaparecido (Song for his Disappeared Love,
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1987), another of Zuritas works which, right from the title, explicitate their Nerudian
filiation.22 The pairs position on opposite borders of the page embodies the silent
dialogue between them, which frames as well as suspends the almost unbearable image
in between, of the lovers bodies being thrown into an anonymous mass grave:

Murio mi chica, murio mi chico, desaparecieron todos.


Desiertos de amor.
[ My girl died, my boy died, they all disappeared.
Deserts of love.]

The second pair of exclamations, Pegado a las rocas, al mar y a las montanas
[Stuck to the sea, the rocks and the mountains], resignifies the past participle
desierto from the second line of the first couple as a noun, such that abandonment and
desertion turn into the very soil that gives shelter to, and becomes the place of, love. As if
to embody and act out this spreading of love in and through death, the poem repeats
these lines twice in little variations, almost like a refrain:

Pero mi amor ha quedado pegado a las rocas, al mar y a las montanas.


Pero mi amor te digo, ha quedado adherido a las rocas, al mar y a las
montanas.

Pero a nosotros nunca nos hallaran porque nuestro amor esta pegado a
las rocas al mar y a las montanas.
Pegado, pegado a las rocas, al mar y las montanas.

[ But my love was stuck to the rocks, the sea and the mountains.
But my love I tell you, is caught on the rocks, in the sea and in the
mountains.

But they never found us because our love was stuck to


the rocks the sea and the mountains.
Stuck, stuck to the rocks, the sea and the mountains.]23
174 LATIN AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES

In its own language-material, then, the poem enacts an opening or clearing for the
re-inscription of love into the very place of abandonment. As William Rowe argues,
this cleared land

can become another skin, a site of perception that can be imagined as unviolated:
thus events can be inscribed and read, without the amnesia caused by trauma and
without the selectivity which public discourses impose upon memory [ . . . ]. The
land becomes an alternative body, resistant to the repressive effects of pain.
[Landscape becomes] that place which torture cannot penetrate, a surface it cannot
mark.24

But, different from the memorial garden, here adhesion does not attempt to force
out the appearance of a place for mourning and, thus, the re-composition of a frame of
figuration, shattered by the absence of proper burial. Neither the earth nor its poetic
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invocation are capable any longer of providing such a place, once the very texture of
signification in which both place and figure must be grounded has been suspended by
disappearance. Hence, it can now only be called upon in the form of ruins of figures
incomplete and damaged: ros and nieves muertas, escombros del Pacfico, un
pas roto [dead rivers and snow, the rubble of the Pacific, a broken land];25
images that turn on their own negativity. A land, then, incapable of aspiring to the
imaginary fullness of an aesthetic experience of place: instead, it can only engage the
land in a state of errant itinerance. It is in this sense of a radical disaffection and not, as
in the high modernism of, say, Leopoldo Lugoness Libro de los paisajes (1917), as a
means to wrest a national sublime from the poetic flight across geological extensions,
that Zurita turns to the desert, the sea and the mountains: as surfaces that resist not just
the marks of historical violence but any kind of enduring inscription. In relation to the
time of nature, all writing becomes ephemeral, but it thus also breaks through, or
perforates, historical time: this shared dimension of ephemerality in the face of natural
rhythms is, I think, what the lines from Anteparaso that Zurita wrote in the sky
over New York in 1982 have in common with the enormous geoglyph of the final
words from La vida nueva, bulldozed into the Atacama desert in letters extending over
3 kilometres in length.
Yet precisely as supports for weak, minor enunciations an itinerant, mobile set
of counter-meanings that adhere and stick to the surface rather than inscribe into it
the desert, the sea and the mountains are also the spaces of a radical experiment of
trans-figuration: of a constant, performative un- and remaking of the founding
metaphors of nationhood and their articulation of bodies and territories, of the people
and the landscape. From the first of Zuritas books, which shows on its front page the
authors face with a burned cheek, a self-inflicted stain [mancha] as if to release
poetic language into the time of the suspended scream, this metonymic binding
together of body and land provides the foundation for the space of writing, yet
exhibiting its own fractured nature on the very level of syntax: YO USTED Y LA
NUNCA SOY LA VERDE PAMPA EL / DESIERTO DE CHILE [I YOU AND THE
NEVER I AM THE GREEN PAMPA THE / DESERT OF CHILE].26 As a space hostile
to life, as a non-place that denies dwelling (the very reason, too, why the dictatorship
decided to take its dehumanizing violence there) the desert is where Zurita chooses to
figure the very collapse of figuration, in an openly paradoxical gesture of recovery.
POSTDICTATORSHIP AND THE LANDSCAPE 175

Thus, in the invitation at the start of A las inmaculadas llanuras [To the immaculate
plains] i. Dejemos pasar el infinito del Desierto de Atacama / ii. Dejemos pasar la
esterilidad de estos desiertos [i. Lets let the infinity of the Desert of Atacama pass /
ii. Lets let the sterility of these deserts pass] (P, 38) the intransitive verb pasar at
one and the same time calls us to open ourselves and grant passage to an
incommensurable negativity and announces the latters paradoxical overcoming in
time, so that vii. Entonces sobre el vaco del mundo se abrira / completamente el
verdor infinito del Desierto de / Atacama [vii. Then over the worlds emptiness the
infinite green of the / Desert of Atacama will open completely] (P, 28). The space
opened up in this tension between the two meanings of the verb pasar is that of an
infinite figurability, which has emerged from the very fracture of the sign, to the point
that i. Los desiertos de atacama son azules / ii. Los desiertos de atacama no son azules
ya ya dime / lo que quieras [i. The deserts of atacama are blue / ii. the deserts of
atacama arent blue go ahead say / what you will] (P, 42).
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This tensional space in which poetic language and historical becoming face up to and
cross each other out also convokes two kinds of logic that come to coincide on one and
the same plane of enunciation. On one hand, eschatological hope translates into
messianic images of blossoming pampas and sprouting plains. On the other, starting with
the propositional structure characterized by the frequent use of causal and conditional
adverbs (si, cuando, entonces) and of axiomatic postulations introduced by
numerals, Zurita displays an ongoing fascination with the non-Euclidian or differential
geometry founded by Bernhard Riemann in the nineteenth century. Zuritas interest is
in particular with the theory of higher dimensions and with the non-planar character of
space-time geometry, the curvature of which becomes calculable by heuristically
attributing numbers (so-called tensors) to various points.27 These registers here do not
have a figurative character, in the sense of images from which a figured content could
be derived. Rather, as in El Desierto de Atacama (Appendix 1), the tension carved out
by the poetic language in its juxtaposition of a Dantesque demonological-messianic
space-time (llanos del demonio, mas alla de la vida) with a Riemannian topology
(convergentes y divergentes), all the while referring these to the geography of Chile
with its social and political connotations, forces a chimeric [quimerica] opening in the
poematic surface itself, cleared from the marks of violence to make room for alternative
inscriptions yet without erasing these marks on the level of history. Moreover, the
convergence and divergence of the landscapes as they unfold in the Desert of Atacama
(that is, in the poem bearing this title and in the desert that is nothing but this very
unfolding) also point to their own paradoxical relation with whats there and yet never
was there: with the tangible presence of the geographical desert and its no less real
curvature towards alternative dimensions of experience.
Similarly, in the poem Las espejeantes playas [The sparkling beaches] from
Anteparaso (Appendix 2), the representational relation invoked by the notion of the
espejo [mirror], and its attribution to the beach as a limit and a zone of encounter
between water and earth, is immediately countered by a critique of the name that
collapses under its own failure to produce reference, to name. But this very wave that
breaks the name of the common on the rookeries Chile entero no fue mas
que un apodo [All Chile was only a nickname] and the capacity of language to
establish shared meanings and lines of parentage Nuestros hijos fueron entonces un
apodo rompiendose / entre los roqueros [Our children were then a nickname
176 LATIN AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES

breaking / among the rookeries] is itself inverted or folded into the paradoxical
figure of a baptism. Indeed, through its very negativity the breaking wave effectively
re-inscribes those with no name the unburied dead as fathers and sons, or
germinal children, of a community founded on this very bursting of the name and of
language, which also encompasses the notions of genealogy and legacy as foundations of
historical time: Todos los sin nombre fueron as los amorosos hijos / de la patria; para
que nombrados / ellos mismos fuesen all el padre que les clamaron tantos hijos [All
the nameless were thus the beloved / children of the country; so that named / they
themselves could be there the father that so many children cried out for] (A, 18).
How can we think of this crisis of the sign, taken literally to the limits of the
patria and forced to surrender to the impossibility of circumscribing the common,
together with the aforementioned attempts to recover spaces of memory through the
artifice of the garden and the monument? On the one hand, following critics of
monumental commemoration such as Nelly Richard, Graciela Silvestri or Hugo
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Achugar, we could denounce these attempts to localize an itinerant remembrance in


the context of a wider critique of the culture of transition and its desire for suture and
reconciliation. The garden-landscape would then be but a rhetorical device for
pacifying remembrance until it melts into the sedimented indifference and
forgetfulness of the everyday city.28 However, from the extatic vantage point of
Zuritas dead and resurrected landscapes, it also becomes possible to conceive of the
impact the breakup of the sepulchral pact has had on the very forms of nature to
which the garden entrusts the reconstruction of commonality. Indeed, we can catch a
glimpse of this mutually corrosive effect on the earth and the sign in Marcelo Brodskys
photo-essay El Bosque de la Memoria (The Garden of Memory, 2000), collecting
images taken in the homonymous park on the outskirts of Tucuman one of the areas
of Argentina most afflicted by dictatorial repression four years after its creation.
Here, the seasons and cycles of organic life have left their marks on the letters and
messages lovingly attached by friends and family to the trees planted in memory of the
disappeared of Tucuman, often to the point of erasing the words given into their
custody. But rather than a failed remembrance, a kind of second disappearance of
those they were trying to remember,29 as Brodsky suggests, his photographs in my
view reveal something much more complex and incisive, difficult to put into words
because what is at stake is the very impossibility for words to encounter a resting place
in the earth. The earth consumes the name however, Brodskys photographs, with
their short, intimate focus lengths, leave us in doubt whether to understand this erasure
as an act of aggression or rather of an intense tenderness.

III. Places whatsoever (espaces quelquonques)

Among the films which, over the last fifteen years, have become known as the New
Argentine Cinema a surprisingly large number have turned their attention to the past
of dictatorship and revolutionary struggle, as if to give the lie to critical readings
emphasizing the absolute contemporaneity,30 the pure present of a cinema turning its
gaze on a world that has distanced itself from its past to the point of making it
incomprehensible or ridiculous, yet without being able to imagine a future, and whose
plots therefore appear to transcur in an eternal present.31 In fact, there is much
POSTDICTATORSHIP AND THE LANDSCAPE 177

common ground between this naturalist or neo-realist observation of characters


adrift, marginalized from historical becoming (from the criminal youths of Pizza, birra,
faso to the near-speechless woodcutter from La libertad or the apathetic thirty-
somethings of Slvia Prieto) and those films which, rather than contribute to the
recomposition of historical narrative, take as their main object the act of memory and
its implications for present, past and future. This is perhaps their most fundamental
difference with regard to the reconstruction of a generational memory of survivors, as
undertaken by films such as David Blausteins Cazadores de utopas (Hunters of Utopia,
1996), Mariana Arrutis Trelew (2002) or Gabriel Corvis and Gustavo de Jesuss Errepe
(2004). By giving voice to the survivors of repression, these last reconstruct through
their editing of interviews and archival materials a group narrative which, in giving
testimony, also re-imposes its representational power over the historical defeat that is
the object of the story.32 By contrast, this capacity of testimony to resist terror and to
reinstate ties of affection and continuity is radically called into question by films that,
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starting with Mara Ines Roques Papa Ivan (2000) and Andres Habeggers (h)istorias
cotidianas (Everyday Stories, 2000), speak from the affective and historical orphanhood
of the subsequent generation. Here, the testimonys act of justice and reparation
clashes time and again with the impossibility of recomposing a temporality marked by a
lack of origin, as well as of reconciling historical knowledge with the blurry memories
from early childhood. Rather than being invited, as in Blausteins film, to attend and
participate in the mnemonic and affective reconstruction of historical continuity, here
the viewer is confronted with an errant act of memory (in the double sense of adriftness
and of confusion of the facts), which has to forge a narrative and political stance from
the formal operation of anachrony33 towards an absent other who nevertheless
continues to interpellate the subject of mourning. As Roque puts it in Papa Ivan, I feel
that what I miss the most is his look. The look of your parents confirms you, it makes
you, it constructs you. And this, its its like growing up in the dark.
The sentence is superimposed over a sequence of black-and-white panning shots
over treetops and pastures fleetingly glimpsed from trains and cars in motion, the flight
into space responding to the frustration of remembrance. The journey, figured through
mobile shots of the landscape and allegorizing both the search for the past and the
latters constant retreat, is a key element in the visual grammar of all second
generation documentaries, even if it had already featured in distinguished forerunners
such as Carlos Echeverras Juan, como si nada hubiera sucedido (Juan as if Nothing had
Happened, 1987) and Andres di Tellas Montoneros, una historia (Montoneros, a Story,
1994). In the more recent films, however, the landscape is not exhausted by this
rhetorical or figurative dimension: movement in space is also the concrete, tangible
form taken on by the work of mourning, as the directors and their crews venture out in
search of witnesses and settings from the past, thus also registering its marks and lasting
impact on their own present. There is in these films a genuine interest in the present of
enunciation, inscribing them firmly in what Gonzalo Aguilar calls the nomadic
tendency in new Argentine cinema.34 But here this present appears as if perforated in
the very heart of its presence, as in the sequence from (h)istorias cotidianas which shows
Victoria Ginzberg, a young journalist, attempting to relocate in the city the places
where some family photographs from her childhood, prior to her parents
disappearance, had been taken. The family snapshot and the daughters adult body
returning it to its now almost irrecognizable place of origin compose before
178 LATIN AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES

Habeggers camera an antigonesque gesture, one that, to quote Huyssens reading of


the Varas monument, forces out the voids and absences in the life of the city. Hers is
then an act of melancholy in Christian Gundermanns expression a gesture
whose at once intimate and political character is also highlighted by the parentage (yet
not identity) between its two medial supports, photography and film.35
Indeed, I would argue that the cinematographic form of these new practices of
mourning responds directly to their use of landscape and itinerance (principally through
panning and travelling shots yet also, as we shall see, through more complex
compositional procedures). In Papa Ivan as well as in Albertina Carris Los rubios (The
Blondes, 2003) and in Nicolas Privideras M (2007), the contrast between the film or
video cameras mobility and the photographic instant frozen in the family archive is a way
of marking the generational, historical and political specificity of the act of memory
which we are called to witness. At the same time, the scanned or rather, suspended
temporality of the photographic image (of a past returning to the present but always
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punctuated, in Barthess terms, by the future preterite of a death that will have already
occurred) enters into a contrast with the mobile take of cinema, which in spite of
the complex relation cinematic time maintains with the photographic instant in its
spreading-out of death 24x second, in Laura Mulveys expression is not so much
temporal but spatial.36 It is the same opposition as the one that pins the memorial
gardens monumental place against the mobile space of an itinerant work of mourning. The
cinematic chronotope is the very dimension that mobilizes and itinerates a melancholy
caught up in monumental immobility, be it of a photographic, architectonic or discursive
kind. It is no minor aspect that many of these films share a certain iconoclastic tendency,
sometimes directly expressed as in Papa Ivan and in M as a critique of monumentality
but also more generally through an irreverent attitude towards the cliches and habits of
the survivor generations discourse, in particular their well-intentioned attempts to
enshrine the disappeared in the conventional figures of hero and martyr.
The itinerance of mourning, however, is not just about the documentarists and their
crews rambling through the physical spaces of city and countryside: this is just one of its
figures. Rather, it is about constructing cinematic time and space by employing the
tricks of the trade, from shot composition and mise-en-sce`ne to the use of actors and even
of dolls and maquettes, to jump cuts and continuity editing of proper and found footage
as a constant denial of monumental place. The final sequence from Nicolas Privideras
M offers one of the most interesting examples of this perseverant struggle, on the very
level of the filmic image, against monumental closure. Endings, of course, are a critical
moment for maintaining open beyond the films limit the space of itinerance these are
seeking to open up. The most controversial and well-known among them is
undoubtedly the sequence from Los rubios, which shows the film crew walking towards
the horizon wearing blonde wigs, a Charly Garca popsong Influencia playing on
the soundtrack. Privideras sequence starts just after the last sentence uttered by the last
witness he interviews (an ex-colleague of his disappeared mother, Marta Sierra), with
whom he had discussed the frequency of betrayals and denunciations in the Seventies:
I know that hatred can drive you to everything. Against the sheer enormousness of
such a statement, the film falls silent, surrendering in its quest for truth and
understanding or not quite, since this moment of capitulation, suggested by images of
burning pages from the authors archive, while on the soundtrack footage of the dictator
Videlas chilling press conference about the disappeared is playing, is itself enframed by
POSTDICTATORSHIP AND THE LANDSCAPE 179

a series of shots composing, in their montage of proper and archival material, a


dialectical image or thwarted fable, to use Jacques Rancie`res notion for the critical
work performed by film in its unique capacity for constructing emplotted sequences, the
temporality of which is constantly interrupted by the images photo-indexicality.37
Here, the sequence starts with shots of Prividera visiting the collection of indigenous
mummies at the Museo de La Plata (war booty from the extermination campaigns the
Argentine army carried out against the Indians of the South in the late nineteenth
century and, thus, pointing to the violence underwriting the States very foundation),
followed by a fragment of a Super-8 home movie of little Nicolas and his mother. The
museal chronotope, where a dead object (a body) is exposed to the visitors gaze
(the adult Nicolas) producing, in the constellation of a gaze that cannot be returned, an
allegory of power-knowledge, contrasts with the intimacy of the domestic interior
registered by the home movie, yet it also problematizes the latters status as an archival
document capable of offering any knowledge about Marta and the impact of her
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absence.
Then, after close-up shots of the burning archive ending with the pages of a
history of ESMA being consumed by fire, leaving intact only the chapter title, Final
Abierta [Open End] a panning shot from the shore over the waves of the River Plate
(the likely final destination of many of the disappeared) appears to contradict this
opening. But actually this sequence turns out, yet again, to be in dialogue with
another, starting with an almost identical pan over the rolling waves of the sea, cut
against the first one and thus highlighting, in the materiality of the image (digital video
versus Super-8), the historical abyss separating them. Two reverse shots follow,
showing, first, Nicolas the son/director looking towards the river, then Marta looking
out towards the sea, whose rolling surf, in Super-8, returns to the screen in the
subsequent shot. The episode ends with another shot/reverse shot sequence showing
Martas face in close-up, smiling as she looks out to the sea, followed by the muddy
brown waves of the river, and finally a zoom-out with a shift in focus length that makes
us notice the previously invisible wire fence separating river and camera. This
sequence, then, synthesizes in a succession of moving images the personal, political and
formal quest Privideras film had been undertaking all along: to construct on the very
level of the filmic image, with its conflicting dimensions of intrinsic duration and of
fragmentation and recomposition of seriality through montage, a third time, a shared
horizon where, if only for the duration of projection, past and present, the absent gaze of
the mother-actress and that of the director-son can come together. Yet this landscape or
horizon of an acquatic nature where both gazes may or may not coincide depending
on our own reading of the sequence is not a place, for it is not invested with any
permanence or density beyond the spatio-temporal work of cinema projecting it on the
screen: a screen the film as a whole is attempting to metamorphose into a haptic image.
Very different is the function of landscape in Albertina Carris Los rubios, in which
images taken in and around the campito in the interior of Buenos Aires, where
Albertina and her sisters were taken in by relatives once the dried-up flow of letters
from their kidnapped parents made their assassination increasingly likely, do refer to
a place charged with affective value and personal memories. As Joanna Page has noted,
the rural world represents in Los rubios a space for cinematic experimentation and for
companionship among the members of the film crew, in marked contrast with the tense
and emotionally devastating research carried out in the suburban neighbourhood where
180 LATIN AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES

Roberto Carri and Ana Mara Caruso had been tracked down by a kidnapping squad,
and the urban centre, the place of intense and concentrated editing and studio-based
shooting work.38 At the same time, the film does not occlude but actually forces out
(as in the shot of corraled animals, which leads over into Albertinas discussion with an
ex-desaparecida who takes photographs in slaughterhouses) the sinister dimension of
this place of shelter, which is haunted by the terror in its very name: el campo [the
countryside/the camp], las tareas del campo [rural work but also the special tasks
groups or clandestine kidnapping squads], expressions that re-introduce into this other
place that which it was supposed to keep at a distance. Carri, however, insists on
defending and recovering through cinema this childhood experience of freedom, even
and especially in the knowledge of its tragic dimension, as a space of improvization and
self-construction that can and must be shared in order to forge new political and
affective ties.
Thus, the campito is a kind of spatial figuration of the radical operation the film as a
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whole sets out to perform: a stage for somatizing and putting into play intense and
contradictory affects of longing and resentment, pain and rage, unleashed by the
parental absence that permeates even the most inconspicuous corners of this rural
nature. But it thereby also provides an open field for the construction and performative
combination of fluid subjectivities and collectives constantly on the move. In a sequence
slightly more than half an hour into the film, we witness the crew at work preparating a
shot and thus, as so often in Los rubios, also recording and reflexively duplicating the
very process of cinematographic production of meaning, camera operators and sound
engineers trying out angles and positions, while Albertina Carri is giving instructions to
Anala Couceyro who will play her in the sequence about to be shot. But thus, the
distribution of roles director, actress, camerawoman is also being complicated
to the point of making them interchangeable, and this fluidity of the cinematic process
spills over into the space and time of the shot and indeed the landscape setting the latter
is capturing, until it involves in its game of dis-identifications the very gaze of the
spectator. Interrupted by brief close-ups of natural scenery a column of ants, a pile of
sticks, the thicket of undergrowth the segment that ensues on these preparations is
constructed along two travelling shots: the first a lateral left-to-right pan across the
pastures and the line of trees on the horizon, superimposed to Carris voice-over as she
explains a shot sequence to her crew; the second a hand-held, circular pan around
Albertina and Anala as they discuss the intonation of the latters lines in the shot about
to be filmed.
In both shots, then, a gap opens up between the visible image and the one that is
being described in the voice-over. In her instructions superimposed to the first panning
shot, Albertina describes a series of lateral pans (some of which are effectively edited,
albeit with substantial variations, into the rural episodes of Los rubios), in which the film
and video cameras record each other as they pass the image on between them, with
Anala appearing in both kinds of shots and thus further confounding the distinction
between documentary reality and internal fiction. She will be talking Albertina
says about Albertina. She speaks in the first person. However, the film cameras
pan we are watching continues beyond the end of her instructions without either Anala
or the video camera appearing onscreen. Rather, a jump cut eventually introduces the
second, circular pan around Anala and Albertina preparing for a shot in which the
former will narrate the abduction of the latters parents when she was just three years
POSTDICTATORSHIP AND THE LANDSCAPE 181

old. The conversation between the two women, of a markedly technical nature and
tone, is mostly about how to avoid using the first person by employing a passive
grammatical construction (they were assassinated that same year). Indeed, we could
say that the question underwriting the sequence in its totality is that of personhood, in a
grammatical mise-en-abyme which is echoed in the very construction of the shot, aiming
at an undecidable point-of-view. Consequently, landscape which, in the tradition of
Western painting is a device of positing (of localizing) the bearer of the gaze in relation
to a detached space-object, made calculable through linear perspectivist convention
is here being submitted to a radical dis-orientation, brought about by the use of circular
pans (the first, starting as a lateral pan, once it continues beyond the extension
permitted by the so-called 180 degree rule39 also ceases to deliver a transparent,
univocal space in relation to the viewers vantage point, which instead comes under
challenge from a movement of profound decentering). The grammatical confusion of
first, second and third person as well as the visual decentering of the audiences point of
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view, in fact, both result in opening personal experience towards a dimension of radical
intersubjectivity, unfastening the place of the subject by transforming it into an open
field of experimentation: a place whatsoever, in Deleuzian terms, a space of virtual
conjunctions, encountered as a place of pure possibility.40
All of Carris project in Los rubios could perhaps be summarized as this attempt to
take the question of personhood her own but also the identities of her absent
parents, which the National Film Institute, justifying its dismissal of funding, felt to be
insufficiently in evidence, and those of her collaborators and interlocutors into a
place whatsoever, where affect becomes available to what Deleuze calls a spiritual
decision, an act of faith that is, for an investment that is at once emotional and
political, and oriented towards a radical becoming. This is why place whatsoever is also
the opposite of monumental place as a marking and clearing inscription: not because it
erases those marks (as already suggested, Carris film on the contrary highlights and
draws out the ways in which el campo bears the marks of violence and loss) but
because it radically performatizes and thus questions the ways in which they address
their beholders as private or public subjects of remembrance and memory. The
place whatsoever is individual and specific, as is the one in which Albertina Carri finds
herself through her parents disappearance, but it is also, as in the films final shot, the
campo de experimentacion in which everyone can decide to take their share by donning a
blonde wig. The expanded field is essentially nothing but this displacement of memory
from monumental place to a place whatsoever; its potential is for a radical politics not
of reconciliation but of uprooting, perambulation and dissent.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Carolina Aguilera and Ana Torrealba at Corporacion Parque por la
Paz Villa Grimaldi (Santiago) and Florencia Battiti at Parque de la Memoria (Buenos
Aires), as well as Claudia Feld, Elizabeth Jelin and the members of the Nucleo Estudios
de la Memoria at IDES, for their insightful indications about the process of creation of
these landscapes of memory, their present and future role. To Daniel Mosquera, Rory
OBryen and Ben Bollig, I am grateful for their insightful readings and subtle suggestions
for improving previous drafts.
182 LATIN AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES

Notes
1 Zurita, Zurita and And We Saw the Stars Again, in Anteparaso Anteparadise: 4 5,
40 1.
2 Assmann, Das kulturelle Gedachtnis: 60 3.
3 Pogue Harrison, The Dominion of the Dead: 20 1.
4 Heidegger, Bauen, Wohnen, Denken: 139 56.
5 See Avelar, Algoras de la derrota; Reati, Nombrar lo innombrable.
6 Young, The Texture of Memory: 7.
7 Thus, the urban park was also a model space for overcoming the tensions resulting
from a modernity which, through the expansion of capitalist production,
communications and transport and the resultant rural-urban migrations, brought
nature and the city within reach of one another as never before, confounding their
boundaries. The urban park showed how this interpenetration could be turned to the
advantage of a national modernity, clearing a space for development. On the cultural
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history of parks in South America, see Gorelik, La grilla y el parque.; Mazza Dourado,
Modernidade Verde; Rossetti, Arquitectura del paisaje en Chile; Torres Corral, El paisaje y
la mirada. On the genealogy of the modern park in the Renaissance garden, as a
simultaneous invocation of passion and its taming by virtue, see also Cosgrove,
Gardening the Renaissance World, in Geography and Vision.
8 Between its appropriation by the Pinochet regime in 1974 and approximately 1978, Villa
Grimaldi, a former country mansion on the outskirts of the national capital, functioned as
an experimental space for systematic torture and assassination, soon to be extended to
the whole of Latin America. Of an estimated 5,000 detainees at least 240 were killed and
disappeared. In 1987, the then head of the secret service arranged for the site to be
sold to his familys property development company, which leveled the buildings in
order to build upmarket condominiums, provoking a public campaign to expose the
compounds recent history of terror. Following the ascension of the Concertacion
government, in 1995 the grounds were returned to the state and declared a memory
site. As at many similar locales, this recovery was surrounded by heated public debates
on whether Villa Grimaldi should be left in its ruinous state, reconstructed to document
the functioning of the torture centre, or transformed into a park to symbolize life rather
than death, the option largely preferred by relatives associations. As Teresa Meade
argues, the abstract, non-documentary aesthetics of commemoration entrusted to the
park also enjoyed favour with the Concertacions non-confrontational approach to
political and judicial accountability for the dictatorships crimes, acknowledging the
abuses, while refusing to press for reparations or to hold the military responsible for
human rights violations. Meade, Holding the Junta Accountable: 136.
9 Michael J. Lazzara, Tres recorridos de Villa Grimaldi, in Jelin and Langland (eds.),
Monumentos, memoriales y marcas territoriales: 133.
10 For an extended review of Torrealbas project, see Rossetti, Arquitectura del paisaje en
Chile: 109 11.
11 Arteagabeita, Parque por la Paz Villa Grimaldi: 38.
12 Moore, Mitchell and Turnbull, Jr., The Poetics of Gardens: 13 14; Aliata and Silvestri,
El paisaje en el arte y las ciencias humanas: 21 2.
13 Richard, Sitios de la memoria, vaciamiento del recuerdo: 13.
14 Levey, Struggles for Memory, Struggles for Justice: 128 31, 137 41. On the polemic
surrounding the selection of the site of Buenos Aires Parque de la Memoria, see
Silvestri, Memoria y monumento.
POSTDICTATORSHIP AND THE LANDSCAPE 183

15 Memorial de los Detenidos Desaparecidos Uruguay: n/p.


16 Huyssen, Memory Sites in an Expanded Field: The Memory Park in Buenos Aires, in
Present Pasts: 106 7. See also Maestripiero, Memoria y paisaje, 43 5.
17 Young, The Texture of Memory: 14.
18 Kraus, Sculpture in the Expanded Field, in The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other
Modernist Myths: 282 4.
19 Pogue Harrison, Forests: 81 7.
20 Neruda, Canto General: 5.
21 Zurita, Anteparaso: 106, 108. All following quotes referenced in brackets with the
letter A and page numbers.
22 The reference here is, above all, to Cancion desesperada in its engagement with
parting, separation and severance, although several other Cantos of a more overtly
political nature, foremost among them Canto a Estalingrado, are implicitly invoked as
well. I thank Rory OBrien and Ben Bollig for pointing me to these intertextual crossings.
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23 Zurita, Canto a su amor desaparecido: 8, 9.


24 Rowe, Zurita and American Space, in Poets of Contemporary Latin America: 286 8.
25 Zurita, In Memoriam: 31, 65, 19, 15.
26 Zurita, Purgatorio: 32. All following quotes referenced in brackets with the letter P
and page numbers.
27 Stoker, Differential Geometry: 294 9.
28 Richard, Sitios de la memoria: 12.
29 Marcelo Brodsky, Nexo (Buenos Aires: La Marca, 2008), 78.
30 Wolf, The Aesthetics of New Argentine Cinema.
31 Aprea, Cine y polticas en Argentina: 69.
32 On Cazadores de utopas, see Aguilar, Maravillosa melancola.
33 Amado, La imagen justa: 165.
34 Aguilar, Otros mundos: 41.
35 For Gundermann, in acts of melancholy, la incorporacion de las imagenes del pasado
no cumple con una funcion de collage nostalgico [ . . . ] sino que emerge coom estrategia
melancolica [ . . . ], es decir, re-presentacion del pasado con el fin de reanudar las luchas
previas que fueron derrotadas (las de los padres desaparecidos), pero cuya derrota
sigue afectando negativamente el presente (en forma de explotacion neoliberal),
imponiendo como necesidad el retorno al momento historico de la derrota para
deshacerla. See his Actos melancolicos: 25.
36 Barthes, La chambre claire: 23; Mulvey, Death 24x Second.
37 Ver Jacques Rancie`re, La fable cinematographique (Paris: Seuil, 2001).
38 Page, Memory and Mediation in Los rubios: 31.
39 See Reisz and Millar, The Technique of Film Editing: 216; also Heath, Questions of
Cinema:19 75.
40 Deleuze, Cinema I: 155.

References
Aguilar, Gonzalo. 2006. Otros mundos: Un ensayo sobre el nuevo cine argentino. Buenos Aires:
Santiago Arcos.
Aguilar, Gonzalo. 2007. Maravillosa melancola: Cazadores de utopas, una lectura desde
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Appendix 1

EL DESIERTO DE ATACAMA VI
No suenen las aridas llanuras
Nadie ha podido ver nunca
Esas pampas quimericas

i. Los paisajes son convergentes y divergentes en el Desierto de Atacama


ii. Sobre los paisajes convergentes y divergentes Chile es convergente y divergente
en el Desierto de Atacama
186 LATIN AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES

iii. Por eso lo que esta alla nunca estuvo alla y si ese siguiese donde esta vera darse
vuelta su propia vida hasta ser las quimericas llanuras deserticas iluminadas
esfumandose como ellos
iv. Y cuando vengan a desplegarse los paisajes convergentes y divergentes del
Desierto de Atacama Chile entero habra sido el mas alla de la vida porque a
cambio de Atacama ya se estan extendiendo como un sueno los desiertos de
nuestra propia quimera alla en estos llanos del demonio
THE DESERT OF ATACAMA VI

Arid plains do not dream


No one has ever managed to see
These chimerical pampas
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i. The landscapes are convergent and divergent in the Desert of Atacama


ii. Over the convergent and divergent landscapes Chile is convergent and divergent
in the desert of Atacama
iii. Thats why whats there never was there and if it were to stay where it is it would
see its own life turn around until being the chimerical plains deserted enlightened
fading away like them
iv. And when the convergent and divergent landscapes of the Desert of Atacama
unfold themselves all of Chile will have been the life beyond because unlike
Atacama they are already extending themselves like a dream the deserts of our
own chimera over there in these plains of hell

(Raul Zurita, Purgatorio Purgatory, 1979)

Appendix 2
LAS ESPEJEANTES PLAYAS
i. Las playas de Chile no fueron mas que un apodo para las innombradas playas de
Chile
ii. Chile entero no fue mas que un apodo frente a las costas que entonces se llamaron
playas innombradas de Chile
iii. Bautizados hasta los sin nombre se hicieron all un santoral sobre estas playas que
recien entonces pudieron ser las innombradas costas de la patria
En que Chile no fue el nombre de las playas de Chile sino solo unos apodos mojando
esas riberas para que incluso los roqueros fueran el bautizo que les llamo playa a
nuestros hijos
iv. Nuestros hijos fueron entonces un apodo rompiendose entre los roqueros
v. Bautizados ellos mismos fueron los santorales de estas costas
vi. Todos los sin nombre fueron as los amorosos hijos de la patria
POSTDICTATORSHIP AND THE LANDSCAPE 187

En que los hijos de Chile no fueron los amorosos hijos de Chile sino un santoral
revivido entre los roqueros para que nombrados ellos mismo fuesen all el padre que
les clamaron tantos hijos
vii. Porque nosotros fuimos el padre que Chile nombro en los roqueros
viii. Chile fue all el amor por el que clamaba en sus gritos
ix. Entonces Chile entero fue el sueno que apodaron en la playa aurado esplendente
por todos estos vientos gritandoles la bautizada bendita que sonaron

THE SPARKLING BEACHES

i. The beaches of Chile were only a nickname for the unnamed beaches of Chile
ii. All Chile was only a nickname before the coasts that were then called the
unnamed beaches of Chile
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iii. Baptized there even the nameless became a calendar of the saints above those
beaches that could only then be the unnamed coasts of the country
In which Chile was not the name of the beaches of Chile but only some nicknames
washing those shores so that even the rookeries could be the baptism that named our
children beach
iv. Our children were then the nickname breaking among the rookeries
v. Baptized they themselves were the calendars of these coasts
vi. All the nameless were thus the beloved children of the country
In which the children of Chile were not the beloved children of Chile but a calendar
reborn among the rookeries so that named they themselves could be the father that so
many children cried out for there
vii. For we were the father that Chile named in the rookeries
viii. Chile was there the love for which they clamored in their cries
ix. Then all Chile was the dream golden resplendent they nicknamed on the beach
shouting to all these winds the blessed baptism they dreamt
(Raul Zurita, Anteparaso Anteparadise, 1982)

Jens Andermann is Professor for Latin American and Luso-Brazilian Studies at the
University of Zurich and an editor of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies. His
most recent book is New Argentine Cinema (London: I.B. Tauris, 2011).