by Nerea Arruti

Friday, 14 November 2008, 12:30 – 1:30 pm, Room G22, 43 Gordon Square 

This seminar focused on the documentaries Elephant (1989) and La pelota vasca (2003); Elephant, the film on the Northern Irish troubles by Alan Clarke, the British documentary film-maker, constitutes a highly effective visual essay on violence that relies primarily on minimalism. The documentary La pelota vasca by the Basque director Julio Medem, which draws more heavily on affect, also includes a brief visual essay on the dynamics of violence intercutting rural sport and terrorist acts. Despite its rural aesthetic, the solution to the weight of the political problem, just like in Clarke’s film ‘the elephant in the sitting room’, is given via the construction of the polis, the highly contested version of the Basque city in current contemporary debates, which is a palimpsest of the political and cultural projects of the 1960s in the Basque context.

Dr Nerea Arruti lectures in Hispanic Studies at the University of Aberdeen. Her research is focused on the relationship between text and image in Argentine literature and between memory, literature and visual culture in relation to violence in Spain and Latin America. She has edited a collection on the Guggenheim effect and on the role of art and politics in the Basque context. She has published on the narrative of Julio Cortázar and Reinaldo Arenas in the context of art as therapy in the context of literature and Aids. She has also written on the topic of photographic representations of trauma in the Southern Cone and she has edited an interdisciplinary special issue on trauma, therapy and representation.