Accepted paper:

Social visibility in the cemeteries of Mexico City: Photography and material culture of the dead

Authors:

Marcel Reyes-Cortez (Goldsmiths)

Paper short abstract:

My research findings explores the array of complex levels of sociability found in the cemeteries of Mexico City. The spaces of the dead such as cemeteries are at times regarded as non-social spaces due to a believed negligible amount of daily social interaction and activity between the living, the dead and the ánima (spirit/soul). My paper argues that the spaces of the dead, like the cemeteries of Álvaro Obregón are clear examples of active social, spiritual and visual spaces in which the dead and their ánimas are daily socialised and memoralised through a combination of contemporary funerary practices and material culture.

Paper long abstract:

My research findings explores the array of complex levels of sociability found in the cemeteries of Mexico City. The spaces of the dead such as cemeteries are at times regarded as non-social spaces due to a believed negligible amount of daily social interaction and activity between the living, the dead and the ánima (spirit/soul). My paper argues that the spaces of the dead, like the cemeteries of Álvaro Obregón are clear examples of active social, spiritual and visual spaces in which the dead and their ánimas are daily socialised and memoralised through a combination of contemporary funerary practices and material culture. My paper analyses the phenomenon, socio-cultural and political conditions of the dead in the private and public spaces dedicated to host them by the use of visual and sensorial methods, analysis and practice of photography in collaboration with other more established ethnographic research methods. Including the investigation of life histories of the people who visit and work in the cemetery in order to explore why communities in México City have embraced and transferred agency to material objects and photography in order to bond with their dead. Digging deeper into why the wide spread embrace of material culture is playing a greater role in the contemporary rituals dedicated to the dead in the cemeteries of a megalopolis.

panel LD24
Documenting the meanings of life and death in the Americas