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Más Muertas Vivas que Nunca

Marta De Gonzalo | Publio Pérez Prieto


In this piece Marta de Gonzalo and Publio Pérez Prieto build a public pantheon to the women victims of the killings of the Plaza de Toros in Badajoz in August 1936. This is the event that instances the denouncement, one that is formulated with poetry: in its orality and mis-en-scéne. It is an intellectual construction about memory that has the purpose of avoiding the banalization and forgetting of the traumatic events of our most immediate past.

“If the monument aims at fixing history, the archive image, the image as the source of the narration of history, continuously betrays its supposed “value” as the verifier of past facts.” (Jacobo Sucari, “Archivo, Memoria y productibilidad” [Archive, Memory and productibility])

The image participates in a new reality of the represented object or source object (as source of information). This is a reality that is part of another ontology, that has a different meaning. We are dealing with an artificiality that attempts to bear witness to events through a revision of our recent history and its audiovisual documents. There is no possibility of decypherment or authentification of a meaning that stems from other experiences. Because there isn’t a codification in the codified message, it is what it is, art-fiction. The construction of an aesthetic experience that gives way to an attitude; this attitude, in turn, instances certain vital practices.

Más muertas vivas que nunca is a personal reconstruction of memory and time that takes place simultaneously, in three moments: that of the frame, that of the archive documents, and that of the mis-en-scéne as tableau vivant. Degas’ painting ‘La Coiffure’ (The hairdo) of 1896, a study in red and vermilion of a woman in her dressing room as she is getting her hair done by her maid, is used by Marta de Gonzalo and Publio Pérez Prieto to structure a portrait of woman; woman as a collective subjected to power and desire, to a mediated childhood, to political violence and death. Gathering moments in time, of the past and of the time that came later; and memories, the remains of historical memory, the history of the image itself, of the history of art and of the potential history which goes from the innocent at play to the mutual help (to beautify each other), in an eternal waiting. We are offered an expanded rhythm in which to think the histories of the people appearing on screen. Decelerated times which empathetically search for the spectator witness, through the inherited forms of oral culture and the traditional story.

Más muertas vivas que nunca’s social critique is to the live (audiovisual) monument, as it has been manupulated and filtered by the interests, at a specific moment, of the contradictory systems of production of meaning; meaning in politics, history and identity. A live monument in which memory has a double function, the collective experience of a possible horror on the one hand, and the individual memory of potential punishment on the other. This is a critique of the monument, which is where the victims are never given voice (where the victims are always represented as anonymous).

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Más Muertas Vivas que Nunca
  • Direction: Marta De Gonzalo - Publio Pérez Prieto
  • Production: Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, Badajoz. 2002.
  • Duration: 00:06:30
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Original format: DV-Cam
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright