Accepted paper:

Museification as memory's form of life: architecture, museum design and memory in the aftermath of violence in Chile


Paulina Faba (Universidad Alberto Hurtado)

Paper short abstract:

Through the study of the architecture and design of a memorial museum in Santiago (Chile), I argue that the museum could be understood as a particular form of 'mattering', a physical arrangement and entanglement that intends to constitute memory in itself, memory’s own form of life.

Paper long abstract:

What kind of practices, images and narratives are reproduced in contemporary museums in Chile? What forms of intelligibility of space and time they reproduce? What kind of agency does architecture and museology have in the arena of contemporary ways of relating to a traumatic past? These are some of the questions that this paper explores by the analysis of the Museum of Memory and Human Rights (MMDDHH) of Santiago (2010). Through the examination of architecture, museology, and ethnography, I seek to understand the nature of this place which is intended to be a "museum of memory", that exhibit the experience of the Military Coup (1973) and the years of Dictatorship in the country (1973-1990). I examine the historical context of emergence of the museum and analyze the 'negociations', cultural imaginaries and micropolitics that delineate the architecture and permanent exhibition designs. Finally, paying particular attention to the performativity of the museum's entangled materialities as well as to the trajectories, practices and affects reproduced by the visitors, I propose that the museum could be considered a particular form of "mattering", a physical arrangement that intends to constitute memory in itself, memory's own form of life.

panel P044
Anthropology, the arts, and new materialisms