The Colombian capital provides the starting point of the project "The Future of Memory". Under the curatorship of Mapa Teatro, artists and experts from different disciplines will reflect on the pain, remembrance and oblivion faced by the victims of the armed conflict in the country. At the same time, a performance action will open the dialogue between the participants to rethink those conflicting memories and their territories. Thus, the story, the imprint left by it and its poetic reinterpretation will be the central outcomes of this meeting which seeks to create a space for artistic exchange away from official discourses and practices.
Chat Radio / Frontier House
A text that refuses to be told as synthesis, to be “recovered” in its content, to be subsumed into a single voice. It’s in that concert of voices, made to dialogue there where they might have never met, where stories begin to emerge as a true identity laboratory. Nothing is defined beforehand, not even the beginning of the story. No identity is fixed, invariable, here or there. Instead, there are drifts of a discourse, hesitation, sudden discoveries, reactive forms of self-affirmation “there,” or transvestisms of assimilation (“being like them”), emphatic—and sometimes late—acknowledgments of “us.”
"Chat Radio" (Radio Conversa) is a radio space that promotes meetings, stories, and conversations about memory and territory, social fabric, and culture. Its interest lies in preserving and disseminating the memory of various communities in Colombia using the voice of the people and social leaders of the regions; therefore, it travels around and is broadcast from different places. The possibility of conversation opens the way: it means spinning words and listening carefully to advance in the demonstration of affection, acknowledgment, and thoughts.
A wooden house, 3 meters wide by 6 meters long and 2.5 meters high, is the scenario where the conversations take place. This house incorporates the sculptural processes of the “Frontier House” art project, inspired by some spatial and material characteristics of progressive self-construction houses, which are built by families living in the first stages of forced migration, having just arrived to the peripheries of the big cities.
Built by Juan and Manuel Bermúdez—inhabitants of the Bellavista neighborhood in the municipality of Soacha—, the house has wooden beams, shelves, and tongues and grooves enclosing a single space, zinc roofing, a door, windows, and an adapted mounting-dismounting system enables its transfer to different sites.
“Chat Radio / Frontier House” is, therefore, the aesthetic device chosen for the second action of the “Mnemofilia and lotofagia” lab, created by Óscar Moreno Escárraga with support from the Observatory of Social Poetics of Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano. This activity will give continuity to some elements explored in the first encounter led by Mapa Teatro in Bogotá.
“Ancestral Citizenships” discusses citizenship as a process of recognition built by communities over time and in connection with the territory. This configures various forms of collective action and appropriation of public space as a common good.
The second show, “Chat Radio: Cultures of Memory,” recorded in the district of Ciudad Bolívar on November 5, focuses on artistic and cultural practices as living memory processes in their capacity for poetic and political agency, from different communities.
On October 28, the house was moved to the district of Usme, in Bogotá, to record the first show, “Chat Radio: Territories of Life.” This program addresses the logics of the growing urbanization and capitalization of life regarding forms of social organization rooted to ancestral memories and a different use of natural resources.
A journalist of the Arcadia magazine accompanied us in this action, and her article “Memory in Four Walls” is a good summary of what happened that day.
Plastic artist Leonel Vásquez and some inhabitants of the Bellavista Parte Alta neighborhood in Soacha conducted the recording of various sounds from domestic and common neighborhood spaces to create a sound piece that was shared with the community of the area and the attending audience last October 22.
Inside the house, there were several chairs and a center table with tea. People entered the house in groups to hear the 45-minute long recording, so that it could be reproduced several times throughout the evening. Additionally, a live radio broadcast was conducted for the people of the neighborhood.
General production: Óscar Moreno Escárraga.
Production of the sound piece: Leonel Vásquez.
Voice of the presentation: Ivonne Martínez.
Music of the presentation: Dany Ledesma (voice and percussion) y Marvin Posadas (saxophone) from the Mache Mache musical group, and Daniel García (vibraphone) from the UNAL Music Bachelor.
Laboratory Mnemofilia and Lotofagia: Consumption of memory and drivers of oblivion
After listening to the testimony of one of the victims of the armed conflict in Colombia, under Experimenta/Sur, five Latin American experts from different disciplines, a Brazilian-Argentine anthropologist (Ludmila Da Silva); a Caribbean writer (Roberto Burgos Cantor); a Colombian judge (Gloria Guzmán); a Brazilian psychoanalyst (Suely Rolnik) and a Colombian political scientist (Iván Orozco), will present their respective proceedings of memory: anthropological memory, poetic memory, judicial memory, memory of trauma and historical memory.
The testimony, collected as part of the Colombian Women’s Truth and Memory Commission, will be introduced by Alejandro Valencia Villa, a Colombian lawyer and expert in truth commissions, accompanied by philosopher Adriana Urrea.
Subsequently, specialists and artists will jointly activate these proceedings through five apparatus of memory/oblivion, designed by Mapa Teatro. The objective is to spatially, temporally and poetically restore the inaugural story in order to visualize and problematize the large and complex mechanism of memory, particularly in the context of violence such as that experienced in Colombia. Twenty artist fellows, six experts, invited artists and curators and ten witnesses will participate in the laboratory. At the end, the public will be able to experience this authentic and collective exercise of symbolic elaboration on stage.
Performance The Factory of the Common: Conflictual memories and territories
"The Future of Memory" will culminate in Bogotá with the presentation of The factory of the common, conceived and directed by the art collective Kom.post. Conflictual memories and territory are put into a performative arrangement of conversation, in which those interested in discussing this dimension of memory can participate.
The scenic arrangement consists of heterogeneous meetings at several tables, where different interlocutors exchange knowledge and practices to create a common experience. "The Factory of the Common" is written from singular words and languages, since gestures, bodies in movement and peoples’ demeanor also "speak". This cycle, proposed in the framework of the France-Colombia year, was inaugurated in late January in Cartagena and will now pass through other cities such as Bogotá and Barranquilla.