Currently viewing the tag: "Chile"

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.

Panel 14, May 31, 2011, 2:00 pm-3:30 pm

Moderator: Richard Phillips, University of Florida
Presenter: Carlos Gutiérrez, Cinema Tropical
Rapporteur: David S. Nolen, Mississippi State University

This panel featured a screening of the film Nostalgia por la Luz, directed by Patricio Guzmán. Carlos Gutiérrez from Cinema Tropical presented an introduction to the film itself and answered questions before and after the screening. Gutiérrez began by explaining that Cinema Tropical was founded in 2001 and is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Latin American cinema. As part of this mission, Cinema Tropical is involved in distribution and promotion of films, including activities like publicity campaigns, film festivals, and film series (like the one held at the University of Arizona each year). He introduced this film by mentioning Guzmán’s earlier film, The Battle of Chile. Gutiérrez considers Nostalgia por la Luz to be a film essay on theoretical ideas of memory. It was financed by Guzmán himself. Chris Moore (Sol Productions) asked how to order the film. Gutiérrez answered that it could be ordered through the Icarus Films website. Paloma Celis Carbajal (University of Wisconsin, Madison) asked if Cinema Tropical also covered European cinema as well. Gutiérrez responded that Cinema Tropical only works with films from Latin America, which includes films from Brazil but not from the English-speaking Caribbean.

The film focused on the themes of the preservation and study of the past as represented by images and people associated with the Atacama Desert. Guzmán began by discussing the widespread popular interest in astronomy throughout Chile, and how the region of the Atacama has attracted astronomers from around the world because its environmental and atmospheric conditions provide a uniquely suited place to study the night sky.

In a conversation between the director and an astronomer, Guzmán introduced the idea that astronomers are primarily concerned with the past because they are observing light that has traveled over time from distant places in the universe. He also used this conversation to express the belief that the present is actually the sensory perception of the recent past because there is always a time-lapse effect when observing light.

The film highlighted the connections between archaeologists and astronomers. Both groups attempt to reconstruct the distant past from the evidence they find in the present. The Atacama Desert functions as a gateway to the past for both groups: astronomers take advantage of the unique geography to study the origins of the universe and of mankind, while archaeologists are able to study the remains of past civilizations because of the preservation of artifacts caused by the extremely dry desert conditions.

Guzmán used this theme to note the difficulty of the past for Chile. While astronomers and archaeologists work to uncover the distant past, Guzmán asserted that the recent past in Chile is mostly hidden and least considered.

From that point on, the film shifted to the stories of Chileans impacted by the Pinochet regime’s repression, transposing their stories with the archaeological and astronomical research into the past. One segment of the film told the story of political prisoners learning about astronomy while at Chacabuco, the largest prison camp used by the Pinochet regime. The prisoners initially had the opportunity to observe the stars and study astronomy, but were then banned from doing so by the military because of the fear that escapees would attempt to use the constellations for navigation in the desert. One prisoner explained that the study of astronomy simply gave him and his fellow prisoners a sense of freedom. The film identified these men who survived their experience in the camps as transmitters of history.

Another prisoner, who was an architect, explained how he memorized the details of the layouts of five camps that he was in during his time in captivity. He measured the distances by pacing, and then made drawings at night by candlelight. Each morning, he would tear the drawings into shreds and throw them away. By repeatedly drawing and re-drawing the layout of the camps, he memorized them and then re-drew them while in exile in Denmark. When these camp layouts were published, they provided a shocking testimony of the abuses of the camps. Guzmán stated that this man and his wife embody a significant metaphor for Chile: memory and forgetting. The former prisoner remembered what he suffered in the camps, but his wife forgets more and more as she suffers the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

The film reported that the commission charged with investigating the human rights violations that occurred under the Pinochet regime concluded that approximately 30,000 Chilean citizens were tortured by the government. The commission also estimated that as many as 30,000 other victims did not come forward. Guzmán commented that the survivors are continually terrorized by the presence of those responsible in the general population, unprosecuted and unpunished for their complicity.

In another exchange with one of the astronomers, the question of searching for the past is raised again. This time, the astronomer observed that his search for the past allows him to rest well at night, while the search for the past carried out by the women of Calama likely does not allow the same peace of mind for them. He asserted that Chilean society is comfortable with his searching, but is not comfortable with the searching of the women, who continue to walk through the Atacama Desert in search of the remains of their loved ones or others’ loved ones—victims of the violence carried out by the government against its own citizens.

In a series of emotional interviews, several women recounted their searches for the remains of their own family members and the discoveries of remains of other victims that they have made. Guzmán referenced a whale skeleton that he saw in a museum as a boy and contrasted its place of honor in the museum with the anonymity of the remains of the victims of government violence that remain unburied and without a monument to honor them. The remainder of the film focused on the efforts of these women and others to search for the remains of victims and to commemorate the lives of those who disappeared.

The film concluded with the idea that memory is the key to being able to live in the present. Those without memory cannot live anywhere.

Questions & Comments:

Daisy Domínguez (City College of New York) asked if women were leading the drive to locate those killed by the Pinochet regime and bring people to justice because so many men had been killed. Gutiérrez responded that many Chilean men had been involved in those efforts as well, but the women whose male relatives had been disappeared had really taken the lead publicly.

Paloma Celis Carbajal (University of Wisconsin, Madison) asked how Cinema Tropical works with institutions of higher education on the specifics of screenings (such as logistics, funding, and speaker arrangements). Gutiérrez answered that the specifics are done on a case-by-case basis. He mentioned that the French government has a well-established system for offering reduced prices for films to universities to encourage them to organize film packages for tours. He said that Cinema Tropical is looking for ways to work more with librarians and other university organizations for screenings. Celis Carbajal responded that for many libraries, buying the institutional copy is seen as the best way to facilitate this kind of thing because costs beyond that (such as honorariums for speakers) become an issue due to limited library budgets. Gutiérrez suggested that filmmakers and university officials could work together to alleviate some of those issues, such as creating touring circuits where groups of universities collaborated, as well as bringing in local foreign consulates to help with certain aspects of the planning and expenses.

p>Panel 20, June 1, 2011, 11:00 am-12:30 pm
Moderator: Paula Covington, Vanderbilt University
Presenters: Barbara Tenenbaum, Library of Congress; Amy Puryear, Library of Congress; Donna Canevari de Paredes, University of Saskatchewan; Paul Losch, University of Florida
Rapporteur: Peter S. Bushnell, University of Florida

 

Barbara Tenenbaum‘s presentation “Putting the Mexican Revolution Online: The Library of Congress Experience” centered on a new website at the Library of Congress devoted to the Mexican Revolution. Not content with the official dates of 1910 to 1917, the site includes material from both before and after the Mexican Revolution. Some of the images to be seen include a picture of Agustín de Iturbide, title pages and covers of various books about the Revolution, broadsides, papers and pictures of President William Howard Taft and other U.S. diplomats, sheet music covers, and cartoons. Eventually the site will include film footage.

 

“The 1988 Plebiscite in Chile: A Personal Experience” was presented by Amy Puryear. She was living in Chile at the time of the plebiscite and was able to collect a wide variety of material. The day of the plebiscite was a Sunday and there were to be no gatherings of any sort (including no mass to be celebrated) that day. As a result, the day ended up being quite calm. The plebiscite itself was basically a referendum on Augusto Pinochet and the result was 45 % was in favor of Pinochet with 55 % opposed. When asked for her opinion, Puryear always kept her responses neutral. As far as collecting material, Puryear was able to gather documents of varying lengths (from single sheets to copyrighted material), buttons, and other ephemeral material from all sides and all types of sources.

 

Donna Canevari de Paredes presented “Eva Perón, Published Memory and Human Rights: The Bibliographer as Memory Keeper”. Eva Perón has been a topic for publications of all sorts (including fiction, poetry, drama) in Argentina and elsewhere for a long time. Along with Eudoxio Paredes-Ruiz, Canevari de Paredes has developed a database of approximately 2500 entries. The material included concerns itself chiefly with Eva Perón and human rights. Some of the more specific topics include race, social welfare, labor, education, social issues and women’s rights. In addition to scholarly works, popular works and everything in between is included. Finally everything is evaluated in terms of the mythology surrounding Eva Perón (positive, negative, in-between) and its research value as related to human rights.

 

Paul Losch in his presentation “The Mystery of the Fake Filibusterer: Using Digital Newspaper Archives to Reconstruct a Hoax from 1895” was able to combine Philadelphia (our host city), Gainesville, (home of the University of Florida where he works) and Cuba (always of interest to SALALM). Frank Hann, a native of Philadelphia (who lived on Chancellor St. which was also the original street of our hotel) for a few months in 1895 manufactured his participation in the Cuban revolution. He filed news reports during for a 2-3 month period. Most of these were posted from Gainesville and were reported in the local paper. However, reports were also included in other newspapers, including the New York Times, but still with Gainesville mentioned as point of origin.

 

Questions & Comments:

 

David Dressing (University of Notre Dame) asked Losch whether other sources had been checked for later information about Hann. Losch said he had found a wealth of information from various websites and learned that Hann eventually married a woman from North Carolina. It also came out that Hann had wanted to impress people. The closest he came to military service was filling out a draft card at the time of World War I.

Bushnell noted that many of the genealogical websites are based in Utah; he asked if any were connected to the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Losch did not know.

Gayle Williams (Florida International University) remarked that when she worked at Emory, they had a subscription to ancestry.com which was loaded with information. Losch used ancestry.com at the local public library since the university did not subscribe.

 

Paula Covington remarked that a listing of the links to the newspaper websites could be put on a Libguide-type source and Losch said he would check into it. Canevari de Paredes added a microfilm list would also be useful.

Finally, Bushnell mentioned that back in 1990 he had earned good money by playing flute/piccolo/clarinet for a production of Evita.