Disappearance in Three Acts | Act One

Landscapes of extermination have the ability to conceal realities of inequality and violence, normalizing a politically complex reality. Enforced disappearance, punishment and kidnapping in Mexico, have transformed rural regions into depopulated and ghostly territories dominated by organized crime and institutional corruption. These are the new geographies of conflict in rural Central Mexico.

Act One | Act of Mourning is an ethnography of violence and conflict in Central Mexico. The film investigates the historical layers of violence foisted onto this landscape, by assembling evidence from a variety of sources, such as observant participation, ethnography and in depth-interview. It appropriates visual motifs from 18th century European Romantic landscape painting tradition, with its depiction of the uncontrollable power of nature and cataclysmic extremes, echoing violent occupation of rural land in Mexico by criminal groups and local guerrillas. The film posits a decolonial approach to the visual representation of violence in Mexico, transporting us beyond the realm of suffering into a space for quiet contemplation as the violent terrain of occupation enters the frame. Through a poignant and brutal testimony of a kidnapping survivor, intertwined with the pastoral landscapes of her captivity, this film documents geographies of conflict and disappearance at the threshold of detectability.
 
Artist Statement

Disappearance in Three Acts is a trilogy that investigates political and social complexities in contemporary Mexico, such as histories of exclusion, enforced disappearance, state-sponsored violence, and colonialism. Each chapter of the trilogy manifests a political and aesthetic exploration of trauma and marginalized histories, inaugurating a renewed relationship between artistic practices, documentary and memory. By assembling evidence from a variety of sources, such as observant participation, ethnography, home movies, and archival footage, the trilogy attempts to make visible the unspeakable and the inaccessible. This trilogy is the culmination of a decade-long artistic inquiry into diverse forms of documentation and investigation, situating the making and the archiving as a way of repositioning one’s being in the world.

Act One | Act of Mourning is the first installment of the trilogy.
 
Credits

Disappearance in Three Acts | Act One
Color, Stereo
HD
15 mins.
2024

Directed by Victor Arroyo

Sound Design and Score by Christian Olsen
Sound Post-production by Christian Olsen
Post-production by PRIM
Productions Réalisations Indépendantes de Montréal
 

Preview 1 min.
 
Production Support

El Colegio De Michoacán
Centro de Estudios en Geografia Humana
Mexico

Casa de la Cultura Cherán
Mexico

Orquesta Sinfónica Infantil y Juvenil de Cherán
Mexico

Vivero Comunal Cheran K’eri
Mexico
 
Financial Support

Canada Council for the Arts
Canada

PRIM
Programme Aide à la Création
Canada
 
Exhibitions | Screenings

Galerie B-312
2024

[ LINK ]



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