Panel 6, May 31, 2011, 9:00 am-10:30 am

Moderator: Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez, Princeton University
Presenters: Corina Norro, Archivo Nacional de la Memoria de Argentina; Margarita Vannini, Universidad Centroamericana; Graciela G. Barcala de Moyano, Academia Nacional de la Historia; Daniela Fuentealba, Museo de la Memoria; María Luisa Ortiz, Museo de la Memoria
Rapporteur: Tracy North, Library of Congress

Corina Norro began her presentation “Los Archivos Audiovisuales: Aportes para la Memoria en Construcción” by lamenting that there is not enough money or political will in Argentina right now to preserve cultural heritage. However, she enthusiastically reported that the Archivo Nacional de la Memoria is attempting to preserve audiovisual materials. She explained that the Archives are for citizens. They are important so that no one will forget. All of history is written; this audiovisual documentation is equally as important for history.

In 2007, Argentina created the Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos with the idea of capturing the memories of the victims and perpetrators of the atrocities. The goal is to collect the many stories and experiences of all of those involved in the Dirty War. Corina made the important point that there is not just one story, but rather a diverse group of experiences. The Archive is attempting to collect stories in all formats: images, videos, oral history, etc., in order to trace the trajectory of culture throughout the Dirty War. They are collecting movies, music, radio and television broadcasts so that scholars and citizens can dissect the recordings to analyze censorship or other influences of media production during the time period. For example, they are trying to recover broadcast recordings from the 1978 World Cup which they suggest covered up the truth about what was really happening in Argentina in the midst of the Dirty War.

Margarita Vannini followed with her presentation “Memoria e Imagen: Los Archivos Audiovisuales del Instituto de Historia de Nicaragua y Centroamérica de la UCA.” According to Vannini, the Instituto de Historia has a collection of photographs to promote and disseminate information. Vannini talked about the notion of circulating information through books, journals, and photographs as a way to broadcast the cultural patrimony of the country. The goal is to share the experience with future generations. Vannini explained that Nicaragua has experienced a tumultuous political history for the past 50 years (e.g., Somoza, Revolution, Sandinista, neoliberalism, Post-Sandinismo, etc.). She explained that small museums have taken on the task of attempting to preserve the memory of the nation. In working for a more just society, they are collecting and saving images of murals in public places (e.g., plazas and other central locations). They are also trying to capture music from the different periods of their recent political turmoil.

Vannini noted the ending of a decade of the Nicaraguan Civil War and the election of Violeta Barrios de Chamorro to the presidency in 1990. She ran her campaign and took office with a peace and reconciliation platform. The Instituto de Historia is not attempting to erase the memory of the Sandinistas and the revolution; rather, the goal is to preserve the memory and cultural history of the nation: to recover the thousands of burned books; to remember the changed names of the schools, etc.

Graciela Barcala de Moyano next followed with her presentation “Clasificación Temática de Archivos Orales Sobre Derechos Humanos: Aportes para una Metodología.” Barcala de Moyano began by noting that the archivists and librarians who are cataloging the memory of the nation are working today for future generations, 20-25 years from now. They want to simplify the recovery of memory and the cataloging and preservation of oral testimony and audiovisual resources. They are seeking to develop common terms through a linguistic examination of the resources. Barcala de Moyano made the point that we use words today to describe past events but these words are different from the words that were used during the actual time period being described. She explained that the cataloging process must be objective. She discussed the unique challenge of cataloging oral history. For example, there is not a unique title for each testimony. The people who are speaking out and telling their stories are not well-known; rather, they are family members of the disappeared, so chances are there are not established authority headings for their names. With the cataloging rules constantly changing, the goal is to standardize the thesaurus so that common terms are applied across collections for future searching and access to the collections.

In their joint presentation, “Difusión y Acceso Público del Patrimonio del Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos Mediante su Centro de Documentación”, Daniela Fuentealba and María Luisa Ortiz discussed the importance of the Chilean exile experience of 1973-1989, and described the urgent need to collect, organize, store, and provide access to the vast array of resources created by Chilean exiles which are dispersed throughout the world in many formats (mostly music, some fine arts, graphic design, and photography), languages, and themes. Most of these materials are held by the exiles themselves, whether they live in Chile or in the country of asylum. The findings indicate that there was no systematic attempt to identify, collect and provide access to resources about the Chilean exile experience.

The artistic output of Chilean exiles covered many different avenues. For example, there was an abundance of literature – poetry, fiction, and non-fiction – being produced by Chileans abroad. Film and theater production have also proliferated among Chilean exiles. The films served as an educational post-dictatorship tool to show young Chileans what life was like during the Pinochet dictatorship. In addition to the primary sources (for which more research is needed to bring together and catalog all of the rich production), some valuable secondary sources also attempt to investigate and explain the massive Chilean exodus during the dictatorship and its role in shaping the history of the nation. Ultimately, there is an urgent need to attempt to identify, collect, and make available the production of Chilean exiles in all formats, languages, and themes in order to create a more comprehensive view of Chilean history during the dictatorship (1973-1989), and the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos is the ideal venue to collaborate in undertaking this significant activity.

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