“The Transitivity of the Image: Performance, Photography and Graphics of the University Feminist Movement”
In 2018, the struggle of the feminist university movement occupied for several months an important part of the Chilean news agenda, both for the forcefulness and seriousness of its demands and for its organization and political effectiveness. A significant part of its visibilization strategy -as happened with previous student movements in 2006 and 2011- was achieved through the deployment in the public space of artistic forms of protest, from the exhibition of canvases to performance, including intervention in the body of the demonstrators (artivism, Adelaide Mazwarira). The art actions of the students, among which I highlight the performative ones, participate in the ephemeral quality of the present moment of the march, but they are also conserved in the registers. They give rise to at least three “referential” archives, two external and one of their own: the photos taken spontaneously by the march’s participants; the journalistic photographs, whose primary objective is communication in the press and which is adapted to the editorial agenda of each medium; and, finally, the photos taken by the members of the movement -particularly by the art students-, which are conceived at the same time as a record of the act of protest and its continuation. Probably the first archive, but certainly the journalistic archive and the own archive of the students, are integrated into a dynamic and complex circuit of image circulation, characterized by transitivity (Guadalupe Álvarez de Araya). I distinguish at least four moments of this circuit: (1) The controlled diffusion of journalistic photography, characterized by the cutting of the event and the anchoring of the image through the informative/interpretative text; (2) the alternative diffusion of one’s own photographs that amplify both the aesthetic effect and the political content of the artistic actions deployed in each event; (3) the a posteriori appropriation of both registers, which continues its circulation in other media or supports such as social networks and publications, and (4) the creation of new images from the photographic archives, which dialogue with and reinterpret them. The present work attempts to briefly outline this route through an approach to these four stages, understanding them as moments in a process of generating a visual identity.
Carolina Pizarro Cortés is Professor at the Instituto de Estudios Avanzados (IDEA), University of Santiago, Chile. She is the director of the Master degree in Latin American art, philosophy and culture and Coordinator of the editorial project “Colección IDEA.” After receiving her PhD in Literature at the University of Konstanz, Germany, she received a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Santiago under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Ana Pizarro. Her main research interests include contemporary Latin American culture, with an emphasis on the constitution of historical imaginaries. She has published Nuevos Cronistas de Indias. Historia y liberacíon en la narrative latinoamericana contemporánea (2015) and Revisitar la catástrofe: prisión politica en el Chile dictatorial (2016, ed. with José Santos Herceg). She is the main researcher of the project Formas narrativas del testimonio: relatos de prisión politica en Chile, Argentina, Brasil y Uruguay.