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.