Post Mortem by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín challenges traditional cinematic conventions of affect and spectacle through a narrative of spaces and bodies that is neither realist, comedic, nor melodramatic. This chapter draws upon affect theories that study the spectacle of cinematic spaces and political bodies in Latin American film. The protagonist of Larraín’s film is an inconsequential morgue clerk who transcribed the details of Salvador Allende’s autopsy after the president’s death in the 11th September 1973 coup d’état. Post Mortem intentionally abstains from an explicit political commentary or sentimental release. The plot and cinematic technique combine to paint an uncomfortably naked image of evil, without guilt-ridden or heroic characters. The systematic dislocation, defamiliarization, and desecration of spaces sacralized by the collective memory allows Larraín’s film to trespass the affective boundaries of political melodrama. Spaces that should have been familiar appear eerily distant and strange, morphing into dystopic versions of themselves as hospitals become morgues and body dumpsters, city streets turn into empty battlefields, and homes are now targets, prisons, or tombs.
From his death in 1865, Andrés Bello’s body became an object of adoration. During the celebration of his centenary, a statue of Bello was revealed in the Plaza del Congreso. It was later relocated in front of the Casa Central of the University of Chile before finally being installed in its current location—in the institution’s interior patio. In 1898, Bello’s decomposed remains were transferred to a new monument crowned with a plastic form of Bello’s bust. During a commemorative event held in the cemetery, he was remembered, in part, for his educational services to Chile since his arrival in 1829. This chapter examines how and by whom ‘Bello’ and his body re-conceptualized during Chile’s nation-building process to solidify discourses of power both textually and spatially, in terms of education and, more specifically, with regards to the University. In accordance with more contemporary estimations of continual revalorizations and re-semanticizations of ‘Bello’ amidst the 2011 student protests for educational reform, this chapter also considers the recent re-appropriations of Bello’s body as a part of the rebellious responses to State-sponsored discourses.
Cultural agency operates and is mediated through social structure. This chapter analyzes the loss of indigenous cultural agency, exemplified by the case of the Machu Picchu ruins in Peru. The loss is experienced through the commodification of historical spaces (monuments, ruins, for example), both in the literal sense of the physical space and in the metaphorical sense of the social and historical elements mediated through such space. The Machu Picchu ruins have been disallowed historical uniqueness (i.e. the cultural agency tied to its historical, Inca past), becoming instead a generic image for popular consumption. Indigenous identities have come to be enacted and reconstituted into a variety of individual, national, and international cultural spheres, that in turn, are interpreted within the colonizing dichotomy of European-ness and alterity. Keeping the basic distinction of space between deadspace and thirdspace in mind, it must be noted that, although Machu Picchu remains the central focus, the loss is by no means limited only to this particular historical site.
The space of Belize in Latin America makes the territory an outsider within the geographical limits of the continent. Studying its space can help us determine its geographic political economy. Bourdieu’s notion of economic, social, and symbolic capital sees Belize as a transgressive space, a point of departure, for the lifestyle migrant’s pursuit of the American Dream. Belize is an affordable pathway for those who cannot afford to live in the United States, emerging as a leading destination for lifestyle migrants. However, not all lifestyle migration is alike nor are the impacts at the local level. This chapter explores San Pedro and Corozal, two distinct Belizean destinations that highlight a socio-spatial differentiation. San Pedro, with its island location, signifies a relatively more expensive real estate space. In contrast, the mainland town of Corozal has a much lower average housing price. Not surprisingly, the impact of lifestyle migrants on the landscapes of these two locales varies significantly and is clearly demonstrated in the visual landscape and by the perceptions of both locals and migrants.
This introductory chapter provides a conceptual framework for Negotiating Space in Latin America and divides the volume into three main parts: Reclaiming Space; Travel, Spatial Practices, and the Market; and Space and the Body Politic. The fourteen essays view space from different lenses such as social negotiation, memorialization, mobilization of people, violence inflicted upon citizens, perceptions of safety, the ‘Anglo’ eye on the mores of Latin America, and so on. The authors focus on different geographical locations and spaces: these include the rural and the urban, a newspaper in English in the port of Valparaíso, the conceptualization of a utopian island, or the interior of a room. Periods under review include the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries; historical events, current events, films, literary texts, the environment, buildings, art, and tourism are analyzed from the perspective of everyday life or from the perspective of social movements that have the capacity to transform a society.
Barrio Yungay comprises one of the most historic and activity-rich immigrant communities in Santiago, Chile. Yungay was named in honor of the victorious 1839 battle in the war against the Peruvian-Bolivian confederation. The area attracted international settlers from its foundation, but the 1940s migration of upper-class and military families to Santiago’s east side opened spaces and opportunities in Yungay for diverse groups of immigrants. Yungay’s immigrants are both protagonists and co-creators of the Teatro Niño Proletario’s 2016 play, Fulgor, staged at La Nave theater in the heart of the barrio. The play sets up and repeats visual images that draw spectators in, tug at their point of view, redirect their focus, and expose their blind spots with regard to immigrants’ personal and collective stories. With the aid of theories on visuality and affect in narrative, theater and performance, this chapter examines three recurring images in the play’s staging—the frame, plastic, and gold—to show how, through these, the performance reframes Chilean immigrant tales and activates an ‘ethical operative’ for its audiences.
This chapter analyzes La Moneda, Chile’s National Palace, as a space circumscribed by president Salvador Allende. It takes as a premise that Allende’s struggle to become president marks him and the palace. He was a candidate for the presidency in 1952, 1958, and 1964, and was elected in 1970 to a six-year term. His presidency was truncated by a coup d’état on 11th September 1973. He fought against the coup at La Moneda. When it was all over, he committed suicide there, refusing to give up. The spaces inhabited by the former president at La Moneda include physical areas as well as images, objects, and words, that is, expressions and things that ‘construct’ the president. This frame of reference yields the possibility of a multidimensional analysis. This chapter concentrates on a space of hope, when Allende became president; a space of struggle and hope, when he fought to continue his term; a space of betrayal, by Pinochet and others who had sworn to follow the constitution; and a space of renewal in post-authoritarian Chile.
Recent and older literature on social movements have given special attention to the occupation of public squares and streets as forms of resistance in Latin America and other geographical spaces. The focus, however, has been mainly concentrated on the occupation of space rather than the occupation of time. The space/time tandem is a key issue of contention for local movements and organizations. This chapter analyzes expressions of dissent in different regions of Latin America whose basis has been the rejection, occupation and creation of a non-neoliberal time, such as the protests in Lima against oil projects in the Peruvian Amazons; the ezln dialogical and decision-making process; the Chilean students’ mobilizations; and the Argentine neighborhood assemblies. These four cases shed light on time as a normative framework that, in the neoliberal context, reduces the chance for a non-market-driven life. It is also, therefore, a fundamental political and communicative element which must be challenged in order to enable the kind of dialogue and discussion necessary for democratic environments.
Domingo F. Sarmiento perceived his country’s civil strife as the struggle between the forces of civilization and barbarism. Faced with the initial failure of his generation’s project to civilize the nation, described in-depth in Facundo (1845), Sarmiento wrote Argirópolis (1850) while in exile in Chile, escaping the totalitarian regime of Juan Manuel de Rosas. This chapter analyzes Sarmiento’s two orders in Argirópolis, one utopian and one real, which relate to each other in a never resolved tension. It alludes to a politicization of the nation’s spaces and to a spatialization of its politics. Sarmiento utilizes the language of utopic desire to describe the best conditions for cities to thrive. He was not the first writer to think of the Río de la Plata region in utopic terms; on the contrary, he was following a tradition that began with the Encounter and continued with the conquistadors’ chronicles. In Sarmiento’s hands, however, the text’s utopian ideas are not aimed at entertaining or at providing an escape from reality, but at bridging the forces of civilization and barbarism.