MDes Risk & Resilience Lecture: Margarita Palacios, “The Aesthetics of Memory: Ruins, Visibility and Witnessing”

Margarita Palacios will present findings of her current research—funded by the Leverhulme Trust—regarding the transformation of meaning of ex-detention and extermination sites in Chile.  In the context of increasing land values and ‘urban cleaning’ associated with global processes of neo-liberalization, she focuses on the analysis of the dynamics of appearance and erasure that accompany the life of these recent ruins, and the histories of a variety of racial, gendered and political violences that these sites precariously remind us of.  This research has been accompanied by an ‘aesthetic intervention’ done in collaboration with visual artist Livia Marin, in an attempt to mobilize questions regarding witnessing and the possibilities of representing violence without reproducing it. The product of this aesthetic work (the creation in situ of around 20 parchments made of silicone) will be shown in London, Berlin, Vienna, Buenos Aires and Santiago during 2016 and 2017.

Margarita Palacios (PhD The New School For Social Research), is the Post Graduate Research Director at the Department of Psychosocial Studies and Senior Lecturer in Social Theory, Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the author of Fantasy and Political Violence: The Meaning of Anti-Communism in Chile (VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden, Gemany 2009) and Radical Sociality: On Disobedience, Violence in Belonging (Palgrave, London, 2013). Her current work concentrates on the study of transformation of meaning of ex-detention and extermination sites in post-conflict societies and the the relation between aesthetics, cultural activism and critique.
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