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Place and Politics in Latin-American Digital Culture: Representing Memory and Trauma Online

A seminar by Prof. Claire Taylor (University of Liverpool) for the Centre for Translating Cultures

A Centre for Translating Cultures seminar
Date22 February 2017
Time15:30 to 17:00
PlaceQueens Building LT7.1 + 7.2

A seminar by Prof. Claire Taylor (University of Liverpool) for the Centre for Translating Cultures

'Place and Politics in Latin American Digital Culture: Representing Memory and Trauma Online'
This paper looks at two examples from the vibrant community of Latin(o) American digital artists to investigate how, in their online works, they engage in re-imaginings of and representations of offline place. The paper focuses firstly on Argentine artist Marina  Zerbarini and her 2003 work, Tejido de memoria (http://www.marina-zerbarini.com.ar/tejido/dememoria.html) an interactive online work which dialogues explicitly with the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, and engages in a critical reworking of the Buenos Aires cityscape. The paper analyzes how Zerbarini re-signifies the urban political centre, highlighting how Tejido de memoria, in its reworking of images of Buenos Aires and its engagement with the Madres, undertakes a re-signification of the city and urban space.

Subsequently, the paper looks at Colombian artist Martha Patricia Niño, in particular her Demo Scape V 0.5. The paper analyses how Niño creates resistant maps that re-draw the geographical boundaries of the Colombian nation, indicating how flows of capital, peoples and conflicts traverse the borders of the state. Here, I argue that Niño’s engagement with the complex socio-political situation of Colombia - focussing in particular on issues such as military interventions into vast swathes of the Colombian national terrain, on US foreign policy in relation to Colombia, and on the vested interests of large multinational corporations in Colombia, particularly in the defence, mining, and petroleum sectors - is a way of exploring the contemporary conditions of late capitalism as they spread across (and beyond the boundaries of) an entire terrain.

The paper concludes by arguing that the mobilizations of place-based tropes in these works, coupled with the tactical re-use of technologies, attempt to resist the co-option of new media technologies by global corporatism, at the same time as interrogating place-based practices.

Claire Taylor is Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Liverpool. She is a specialist in Latin American literature and culture, and has published widely on a range of writers, artists and genres from across the region. Her particular geographical areas of interest are Colombia, Argentina and Chile, although she also worked on literature, art and culture from other regions. Within Latin American Cultural Studies, she take a particular interest in the varied literary and cultural genres being developed online by Latin(o) Americans, especially hypertext novels, e-poetry and net art.

She has published numerous articles and book chapters on these topics, and is the co-author of the recent volume Latin American Identity in Online Cultural Production (New York: Routledge, 2012), and author of the recent monograph Place and Politics in Latin America Digital Culture: Location and Latin American Net Art (New York: Routledge, 2014). She recently held an AHRC Follow-On Funding grant for a project on Latin(o) American Digital Art, which included a series of impact and engagement events, and a book entitled Cities in Dialogue (LUP 2016).


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