Chilean artist Voluspa Jarpa will be representing her country in the Chile pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. Last year, the artist participated in the Seminar ARTE!Brasileiros: ARTE beyond ARTE, at the Geopolitics and Art table and presented his work with other professionals in the area. In the video, check out Voluspa's speech at the event. Below, read text about the artist's research, published in ARTE!Brasileiros 44:
One of the aspects that have involved the work of countless artists is the recovery of memory and the research of archives that can be brought to light through their works. Documents are not always accessible and, in recent years, thanks to the democratization of information, historians and researchers have made it possible to perceive how history often has flawed narratives.
Documents and archives are thematic of spaces all over the world. In Istanbul, Turkey, for example, the cultural institution Salt Galata was created in 2011, with the aim of researching and archiving documents on the culture, history, politics and architecture of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. A fundamental part of the work is focused on collecting documents and testimonies about the extermination of the Armenians in 1915. The material serves as a basis for exhibitions, debates and communication programs. In Lebanon, the Atlas Group, founded in 1999 by artist Walid Raad, seeks to locate, preserve, study and produce audiovisual material, literature and other artifacts linked to the country's history.
In a way, groups like this follow what philosophers and historians like Foucault and Agamben defend: the contemporary does not exist. That real access to the present is an inquiry into the past, and that the key to understanding is the exercise of a kind of “archaeology” based on the questions that the present projects into the past. This has been a methodology that inspires specialists from different areas of thought.
Since the 1960s, Latin America has been ravaged by dictatorships whose violence has differentiated itself from other political movements or clique coups. In Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil there were thousands of political prisoners, disappeared and murders. It was about implementing a system characterized by the organic and systematic destruction of free thought, a model that seemed to have collapsed for a long time. Communication about the facts was censored and few noticed what was happening around them. Fifty years after this sinister scenario, we are left with testimonies and documents.
Chilean artist Voluspa Jarpa, born in 1971 in Rancagua, Chile, has been developing research based on the treatment and use of archives as an aesthetic source for years. in the show, In Nuestra Pequeña Región de por Acá, at MALBA – Museu de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, held in 2016, it brought together several works created from US Intelligence Service documents, in the period between 1948 and 1994, centered on the figure of 47 Latin American leaders who occupied key places in their countries and who were murdered or disappeared under unclear circumstances. In the opinion of Pérez Rubio, artistic director of the museum until July of this year, “in Jarpa's work, the act of investigation and the artistic act are one. The story speaks through the pieces.”
jarpa writes in The symbolic form of the file: “My reasons for working with the archive do not come from the foundations of historiography, nor do they come from the need to verify and oppose sources of information in order to narrate a point of view that challenges the historian's. my reasons to get closer and dive into the need for the archive that I have been living in the last 20 years, they come from the meeting of the erased with the erasure. They come from non-history or what is more mysterious, they come from the SECRET dimension as a security issue, from their hysteria and their muteness. My urgency for the archive is due to this symptom, to this “floating cloud of malaise” perceived through my childhood anchored in the Southern Cone of Latin America. Childhood that made me ask many times how much of my subjectivity is crossed, shaped by the facts and by the atmosphere that involved my childhood, by these military dictatorships and their codes and languages that I witnessed in my own country and also in other countries of the region for where I traveled and lived. What are the archives of the non-history of the Cold War in Latin America about? What do they reveal about this past and, mainly, how does this question us today, how does it affect us?
I have been working since the age of fifteen with the archives of the CIA and other intelligence agencies. from the USA about Latin American countries that were made public over a period from 1948 to the end of the 1999th century. I started working with the files that were published about Chile (in what was called Proyecto de Desclasificación Chile) in the years 2000, 2001 and XNUMX, when Augusto Pinochet was imprisoned in London – a fact that provided a favorable international intention to make these files visible – Chile being the country that had the largest volume of files made public, declassified.
By declassified I mean that the documents that the United States brought to light in Latin America were classified under the condition of secret and this condition, in turn, is subdivided into others such as: confidential, not to distribute, prohibited or restricted to their circulation… So, conceptually, declassification means to take them out of this restrictive condition and make them public”.
This is part of the text written by Voluspa Jarpa on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition “En nuestra pequeña región de por acá”, at Malba, in Buenos Aires.