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Accepted Paper:

The sound of silenced photographs. Images, storytelling, and memory of the Portuguese colonial/liberation wars  
Maria José Lobo Antunes (ICS-Universidade de Lisboa) Ines Ponte (ICS-Universidade de Lisboa)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing from a research-based exhibition of Portuguese soldiers’ photographs of wartime in Angola, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique (1961-74), we propose to listen to a photo-story told by a veteran and to discuss the challenges of rendering public the ambiguity that surrounds violent colonial pasts.

Paper long abstract:

Between 1961 and 1974, Portugal fought colonial/liberation wars in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. Roughly one million men were conscripted and trained by an authoritarian regime, and deployed in a three-front protracted conflict. The 1974 Carnation revolution overthrew the regime and paved the way for the independence of former colonies. Six decades later, the colonial/liberation wars are still territories of contested meanings and multiple silences.

The exhibition “A War Kept. Photography of Portuguese Soldiers in Angola, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique (1961-74)” ran for three months in Museu do Aljube, in Lisbon. Drawing from ethnographic research with 40 veterans and their photographic collections, the exhibition explored the circulation and uses of soldiers’ visual mementoes of wartime.

For the panel The Sounds That Bring Us Together, we propose to listen to a photo-story told by a veteran, which was part of the ‘Spoken Photographs’ section of the exhibition – visitors could listen to it on their mobile phones through a QR code. Recorded during an interview and backed by a consent form, this edited and mixed stereo audio clip is subtitled in English and coupled with two photographs in a mp4 file. What are the challenges associated with opening wartime personal voices and visions to the public? Does the human voice and affective storytelling add layers of meaning to stories of colonial violence?

Panel P122b
Sound Programme: The Sounds that Bring us Together
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -