An Aesthetic Intervention and a Meditation on Absence

Friday 3 June  – 15 July 2016, Peltz Gallery, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London, London WC1H 0PD

‘Tejas Verdes: I was not there’ is a collaborative project between sociologist Margarita Palacios and visual artist Livia Marin. Bringing together Palacios’ research on violence and Marin’s work around loss and care, the project consists of visiting several ex-detention and extermination sites in Chile and the performing of an aesthetic intervention in each of them. The result of the intervention is the production of a series of abstract realist objects that register traces of the material remains of these sites, marking the materiality of the violent event in its multiple layers of meaning and yet registering its unreadability. This aesthetic intervention explores the possibilities of representing violence without reproducing it and the challenges of non-colonizing experiences of witnessing. The exhibition includes as well a photo projection that shows numerous images of both sites and objects aiming to document the places and the experience of collaboration.

This project is part of an itinerant exhibition and academic events that starts in London in June 2016 and then visits Berlin and Vienna. In each opportunity there will be an exhibition and an academic event organised with Birkbeck College, University of London, Lateinamerika-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, and the Institut für Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften, Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna. The project will the continue touring to Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile during 2017.

This collaborative research project was funded by The Leverhulme Trust and FONDART (Chilean National Fund for the Arts and Culture) and the itinerant exhibition has been made possible through the funding of DIRAC (Chilean Office of Cultural Affairs) and the support of CILAVS.

Opening hours

Monday-Friday: 10am – 8pm

Saturday: 10am – 5pm (Unless otherwise stated)

The exhibition’s opening reception at the Peltz Gallery will be held at the gallery on Friday 3 June from 6 to 8pm. The following week, in the School of Arts a roundtable titled, ‘The Aesthetics of Witnessing: A Conversation about Violence and the Challenges of its Representation’ will be held. Running on Thursday 9 June at 6pm in room B04, as part of the Birkbeck Department of Psychosocial Studies’ summer programme 2016, the event will feature live discussion between top academics:

·  Vikki Bell (Professor of Sociology, Goldsmiths College)

·  Natalia Sobrevilla Perea (Reader in Hispanic Studies, University of Kent)

·  Jelke Boesten (Reader in Emerging Economies and International Development, Kings College London)

·  Margarita Palacios (Senior Lecturer in Social Theory, Birkbeck)

·  Livia Marin (visual artist)

This event is sponsored by Birkbeck’s MA in Psychosocial Studies programme. Find out more about the roundtable event here.