Relics and Selves


Jens Andermann (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Patience A. Schell (University of Manchester)


Welcome to Relics and Selves, the first interactive exhibition of the Iberoamerican Museum of Visual Culture on the web, hosted and administrated by the Postgraduate Programme in Spanish and Latin American Visual Culture at Birkbeck College, London. Historians, literary critics, anthropologists and art critics from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the US and Europe have collaborated in this unique text-image show of the national iconographies of three Latin American countries in the final decades of the nineteenth century - a moment of accelerating modernization and the emergence of new, centralized and disciplinary, state formations. The exhibition asks how this process affected representations of the people, the past, and the space of the nation. However, rather than offering straight, univocal answers, it attempts to involve visitors -students and researchers alike- in the process of their production: more than 3,000 images from the most diverse fields are displayed in the Gallery, but you will be able to arrange the showrooms yourself according to your own specific interest in the subject. It is thus up to you to generate, and study, a visual corpus that allows you to tackle the questions about identity, visuality, alterity and power that the images call forth. For inspiration, you can read a selection of critical analyses by renowned scholars in the Library, which also features a short critical Introduction to the exhibition, as well as facsimiles and transcriptions of historical documents, and bio-bibliographical summaries on some of the principal events and actors of the period. We also offer a series of Tours through the exhibition, organized along key concepts such as 'monument', 'nature', or 'the body', which may help you to construct your own critical narrative. Refer to the Help section for any queries on how to make use of the exhibition´s search forms and catalogues; and to the About section for technical information on the site, links to related websites, and credits.

We would appreciate if researchers, lecturers and students using the exhibition let us know what they have found useful and what changes they would suggest - to contact us, simply click on one of the curators´ names displayed above, or write to: We are also interested in adding critical pieces related to the subject of the exhibition to our Library section. Submissions can be made of both published and unpublished work in English, Spanish and Portuguese, as long as the work has not yet been published on the internet (in which case we are happy to include a link). You can email us on or write to:


Dr. Jens Andermann

Birkbeck College

School of Languages, Linguistics and Culture

43 Gordon Square

London, WC1H 0PD, UK

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