Bodies of water : photographic encounters of resistance, ruin and memory on the river Paraná

Ahrens, Victoria Margaret (2017) Bodies of water : photographic encounters of resistance, ruin and memory on the river Paraná. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This research is centred on the notion of landscape as a construct of marginal and multiple dialogues. It is a project that originates from a rediscovered family album of photographs of the Latin American landscape at the turn of the 20th century. In particular those that centre on the Paraná River in Argentina, a place where myth, recent history of the Desaparecidos (those ‘disappeared’ by the military junta 1976-1983) and memory collide. These early analogue photographs of the river have sparked a series of creative interventions that explore the interstices between photography and printmaking, fragmenting the initial image in order to create new hybrid photographic prints using photo-etching and photo-transfer processes. The return of the material to the flat surface of the digital is of critical concern, as the ‘uncanny’ surface is turned into a haptic object more in keeping with printmaking practices and early pictorial photographs. This leads to questions about their affective resonance, as touch and ‘noise’ return to the surface of the print as a resistance and response to discourses of acceleration and forgetting. The theoretical and practical methodology is cyclical, and the layers of discourse appear both in the printed outcomes and in the multiple voices I use to discuss the project in writing. In the ruined surface of the analogue image, therefore, a new ruination occurs, as I develop my photographic plates in situ, in the waters of the river itself. In the encounter with the landscape, the forensic traces of Argentina’s political disappeared, now part of an on-going forensic anthropological investigation, create latent marks on the surface of the photographic plates. These invisible fragments serve to embed disruptive historical narratives into the print outcomes, as the river acts as the site of convergence for these multiple histories. These geographical and metaphorical bodies of water, distorted, disappeared and ‘ruined’ both by a history of dictatorship cover ups and the failings of memory, are able to reappear in this research, as latent and liminal imageobjects in an open-ended encounter with the multiple narratives of the river.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Arts > History of Art & Screen Media
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2017 11:42
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2017 11:42
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/245

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