Jesús Martín Barbero: Arts of Memory and Regimes of Visibility


Photo/Foto: Marlène Ramírez-Cancio

Arts of Memory and Regimes of Visibility

The fundamental issue still pending in Colombia—unresolved in theory, as in action—is the very special relationship between politics and violence in the fabric of its memories and history. It is the density of violence that unfolds throughout the history of what Paul Ricoeur calls the structures of the terrible, those "forces" of instinct and exploitation inscribed in politics from its foundation. The journey of memory, however, defatalizes the past, recuperating its incompleteness (Walter Benjamin). The past is shaped not only by events but also by tensions that destabilize the present and engender the future. In Colombia, an increasingly broad and dense imagination/social creativity is revealing itself in the strategies of physical and cultural survival practiced by millions of citizens, as well as in the the new visual art created by women and the audiovisual and literary narratives of young people, allowing us to see the political magnitude of their arts.


Jesús Martín Barbero is a semiologist, anthropologist, philosopher, and specialist in communications and media who has produced important theoretical syntheses on post-modernity in Latin America. His contributions to the intellectual field include his analysis of culture as a web of mediations, the semiological study of globalization, the alienating function of the local media, and the function of telenovelas in Latin America. He has been the the president of the ALAIC (Latin American Association of Communications Researchers) and a member of the Advisory Committee of the FELAFACS (Latin American Federation of Schools for Social Communication). He is a member of the Scientific Committee of Infoamérica.

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