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Spaces of memory, that is, sites consecrated to rememorating events, people or specific moments, are erected in order to normalise memories, to funnel the past into a specific point, thereby generating one only reading of it and one way of relating to it.
With this piece, Jaime Vallaure instances an interesting meditation on the ways in which the past is constructed, and how it can emerge and disappear in specific places without having to be instrumentalised, monopolised or monumentalised. The narratives that define what is and isn’t a historical event, the constructions that define what can and cannot be remembered, collapse in this piece, which, despite having a very simple structure, manages to instance many questions which at this moment are the topic of the day.
A fixed camera is placed in what seem to be the ruins of a building. In watching the space we are given hardly any specific information about the space itself. But, as soon as we grow accustomed to the place, when the gaze is no longer examining the space looking for solutions, suddenly, snippets of images begin to appear, traces of people, who, having nothing specific to say or to articulate, inhabit this space. These traces of past moments are not intended to communicate anything specific, they don’t create a predetermined message. When the gaze gets used to watching expecting nothing, when the desire to understand is suspended, we realise that in this piece a million things are suggested that could be, but that, in the end, only occur (or actually, have occurred). Only then does this work become a critical and thought-provoking tool allowing us to see beyond the politics of memory and opening the doors to things which have been and therefore, can be again.