Memory exercises

Magdalena Cernadas / Christian Delgado and Nicolás Testoni / Gustavo Fontán / Ana Gallardo / Hernán Khourián / Ignacio Liang / Martín Oesterheld / Jonathan Perel / Juan Sorrentino / Carlos Trilnick

Having seen
(Recovered Images)

Whether it’s a question of thinking about the future or expressing it, even perceiving it, we do no more than activate a kind of inner cinematographer… the mechanism of our ordinary knowledge is of a cinematographical kind... 1

There’s anger in the destiny because the grey wolf is coming. So what? Because it will break down all the doors, because it will bring out the dead so they devour the living, so that there are only dead and the living disappear...2

We’ve seen it all. The images of the horror, of the torture, the places of detention and extermination, a river of corpses, we’ve heard the witnesses, the testimonies, we’ve attended the trials, the protests for justice.
No, we haven’t seen a thing.

Forty years ago the bloodiest civic-military coup in our history took place.
The start of the last dictatorship, 24 March 1976, entailed not only the rolling out of the military government’s political and repressive plans, the breaking up of revolutionary projects, the practice of State terrorism, and the systematic abduction of people, but also a profound transformation of Argentina in economic and social terms. Hunger, destruction of national industries, unemployment, poverty.
30,000 disappeared. 30,000 men, women, children and elderly, dead without a grave.

Ten years ago, at the Museum of the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero we held the exhibition Ejercicios de memoria (Exercises in Memory). Through their works, thirteen Argentine artists put forward processes of reflection as exercises in memory. Thirty years had passed since the coup. Exercises to remember. To retain images, words, sounds, gestures so as not to lose the memory.

On that occasion, we decided to invite three Chilean artists. It would have been incomplete to think about ourselves without thinking about everyone, on both sides of the Andes, with similar methodologies, the Plan CĂłndor as the plan for our continent.

To know you have to imagine, says Didi-Huberman3. To remember you have to imagine, he insists.

The unimaginable is an excuse. Images are clues, fragments of memory, possible testimonies, networks, roads or destinations. Images and sounds as triggers of processes of reflection in dialectic coordination with documents.

Without closure, without the possibility of total understanding, in its hesitation, the image proposes that it be investigated. And questioned. And announced. The image that thinks is erected in perpetual search.

No, the horror cannot be represented.
The marches fill up Plaza de Mayo every 24 March; the pavement, the memorials show what others seek to erase, the very existence of the disappeared.
Murals, books, texts, music, films, graffiti, infinite exercises in memory. The memory is present and it is intact, despite it all.

A thought that forms a thought that thinks.4

The third edition of the Biennial of the Moving Image (2016), forty years on from the civic-military coup, invited ten Argentine artists to create a work that would propose a new space of reflection, personal perspectives migrating between times and materialities. Once again, Exercises in Memory. .

Because more images are always necessary, there are ten more exercises that will be added to others. An echo, a collective construction, an insistence, an exercise. Ways of announcing one’s presence, forms of not disappearing.

Exercises that are written on bodies, in thoughts. Exercises like screams.

Gabriela Golder, octubre de 2016

1 Bergson, Henri, Creative Evolution, quoted in La evoluciĂłn creadora, Buenos Aires, Cactus, 2007.
2 Pizarnik, Alejandra, “Los poseídos entre lilas”, in Pizarnik: Poesía completa y prosa selecta, Buenos Aires, Corregidor, 1993.
3 Didi-Huberman, Georges, Images in Spite of All, quoted in Imágenes pese a todo: memoria visual del Holocausto, Barcelona, Paidós Ibérica, 2004.
4 Godard, Jean-Luc, “Capítulo 3a. El precio de lo absoluto”, en Historia(s) del cine, Buenos Aires, Caja Negra, 2007.


Magdalena Cernadas

A force erupts causing irreparable damage.


Untitled (Memory Exercise)

Christian Delgado and Nicolás Testoni

Memory exercise: to gaze from an unmarked grave.


Four memories

Gustavo Fontán

Once again the military, my father says. A radio that no longer can hide the screams. The awareness of horror. The mothers marching. Four memories, 1976-2016.


From Within

Ana Gallardo

I try to think about possible internal exiles. About the fear and silence of those of us who stay put and see nothing. I turn to my own memory, I work with biographical facts. Like a personal journal, I summarize how those years passed for me, exposing not only personal situations, but scenes of sil...


Subversion Loop

Hernán Khourián

Décollage about Videla’s speech on what they used to refer as “subversion”.



Ignacio Liang

Offices of the mind. Borda asylum inmate. Friend remembers and mixes in the fractals. Police doing dirty work. Cellars of slaves and bats. From season to season is the message. Natives killed by men in uniform. Sadly they toss them into the broken poem. Cats on the tin roofs dance, superintendents l...


Unknow People / Forgotten Places

MartĂ­n Oesterheld

The testimony of anonymous revolutionary activists of the 1970s is heard in a recently aired interview. In their account, they place me with my parents in a southern district of Buenos Aires, at SarandĂ­ and Isla Maciel, where their political action took place. They recall me as the only 4-year-old ...


5-T-2 Ushuaia

Jonathan Perel

Adolfo Scilingo was the only military officer to confess the dictatorship crimes. Among the details he gave of the way the genocide worked, throwing prisoners from planes into the water to their death, Scilingo specifies the models that were used in the flights he participated in: a Skyvan and an El...


The Last Landscape - Memento Mori (Remember You Will Die)

Juan Sorrentino

Memento Mori projected on a kinetic syncope of landscapes in transformation, as an ubiquitous poetic exercise that repeats the act of turning on and off the recording mechanism of a camera. Intimacy with the agony of birds, in silent flight; with the impressions of their length, as a gradual resonan...


Confidential Report

Carlos Trilnick

Video made with words taken directly from the “Archives of Terror” of Asunción, Paraguay, containing evidence of Operation Condor. Most of the documents found were written on typewriters, and transcribed police reports, statements of prisoners, records and internal memos. The inclusion of an in...

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