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The Sitio de Memoria museum

The significant body in the urban narrative of Córdoba
Angela de Aguiar Araújo et Luciana Leão Brasil


For this article, it is detached the Sitio de Memoria museum, in Córdoba, Argentina, to analyze its artistic interventions in the urban narrative. The place recollects the dead and missing people during the military governments, in the twentieth century. By showing for the pedestrians facts of the political history of the town, these interventions have effects on the urban narrative outbreaking the “significant body” of the “city in movement” in its relation with the processes of urban subject identification.

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1To present the object of this research implies the recognition of the moment when we, researchers which focus finds located in the discursive materiality and processes, questioned the urban narrative textualization (Orlandi, 2004) and its relation with the discursivity of History. That moment happened in 2011 during a sciences congress held in Córdoba, Argentina. After two days of intense theoretical reflections about the memory, we were walking down the streets in the historical-commercial center downtown.

2Being extremely touched by the strong “revisionist” appealing of a recent history and by the predominant History discourse, we were in a space dedicated to the reflection about the memory fecundity. This appeal looked like overlapping Truth / History and Truth / Memory. The restlessness came up from the truth meaning naturalization in the scientific discourse having an effect upon the historical subject. With the belief in the possibility of a more righteous history by the conscious act of (re)viewing the past, this historical subject sounds to be constituted from the textualization marked by moral inclinations and valuable judgments – and with the value of “reconciliation” with / by the true History. As well as that belief sounded to be sustained by the intentional act to avoid the repetition of the past mistakes. Of course, this intentional act is naturally possible by the (re)view of awareness : a new conscience by the conscious historical subject. In addition, the proofs or the evidences that could permit talking about a new history (by this conscious act to rethinking the (already) thought of the history and in the History) sounded to be a guarantee of a more righteous reality in the present and in the future. At the same time, the “revisionist” movement seemed to approach the meanings of History (with its objects of memory) / Justice / Truth.

3We were in the historical and commercial center of Córdoba city. In the zigzag without a pre-established itinerary, we went randomly guided by apparently spontaneous discovery of the explanatory plates of historical marks, anchored points in the indication of that, in the city space, is highlighted as memorable (and therefore dignified to have a treatment that permits its preservation) by the science work and public policy work dedicated to the memory objects. That report, across the plates, represents-presents-(re)represents to the pedestrian (inhabitant, tourist, worker, etc) a series (although dispersed) of events. That description permits interpretations that would give outlines of meaning to the history of the city by a frame chronologically possible by the link past-present, before-after, cause-consequence. In the midst of a mosaic composed by images and sounds (plates, signboard, adds, lights, colors, cars, bodies, voices, horns, songs, plants, buildings, etc), the historical was disputing meanings for the urban, in the space where the commercial appeal imposes itself. However it was just from the movement of closeness and movement away in an attempt of framework (of something that sounded an artist intervention) for photo shootings that something was detached. We had just captured something in the urban scene from the “spot for a view (a body) in movement” (Orlandi, 2004). We were in front of the “huellas” (the word, in Spanish, several times mentioned during the scientific event in Córdoba, but it was unknown for us) or, as a screaming of a signed view, “it is a fingerprint”.

4The framing gesture was repeated several times by both until we could observe a plate that was indicating : this place is the Sitio de Memoria. Located in the Pasage Santa Catalina 64/66, it is a museum and the Archivo Provincial de la Memoria (State Archive of Memory). In the building that held the museum functioned in the 70s and 80s a clandestine center destined for the detection, the torture and the extermination of politic prisoners.

5The space was known as Departamento de Informações da Polícia de Córdoba (D2) – Information Police Department of Córdoba. During the period above mentioned, approximately 20,000 people were conducted to it as illegal prisoners.

6The political persecution was already observed in other Argentinean history moments : in 1909, during the Semana Roja, and in 1019, during the Semana Trágica. On March 22nd 2006, it was approved the Law 9,286, named Law of Memory. In this same date was celebrated 30 years of the last Argentinean dictatorship. It was through this law that the building, which installations were used by the repressive activity, has become the Museo de Sitio or Sitio de Memoria. According to the information folder, it represents :

A historical fact in the process to the fighting by the human right organizations. Fighting for the construction of the Memory, Historical Truth, Justice and Social Reparation facing the serious violation to the Human Rights.1

7The Law 9,286 has also instituted a Memory State Commission that is composed by several institutions and organizations : the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo ; the Familiares de Desaparecidos y Detenidos por Razones Políticas ; the Hijos e Hijas por La Identidad y La Justicia contra El Olvido y El Silencio ; the Asociación de Ex Presos Políticos ; the Servicio de Paz y Justicia ; the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba ; the executive power ; the legislative power and the judiciary. This gathering of institutions is responsible by the monthly meetings.

8Considering that the corpus of this article has resulted from some incursions in Córdoba, our investigation just started in that moment when from a foreign view it was observed the “policy of view” when something slides from the digital photo for the fingerprints. This permitted to say that the meaning is also “the window from which it is seen”, deflagrating the “significant body” of “the city in movement”. We propose to reflect about the urban narrative as an “organized view and, at the same time, an (urban) organizer that is totalitary” (Orlandi, 2004 : 29-30).

9In the following issue, the theoretical assumptions of Discursive Analysis will be presented. The social memory and the discursive memory are two important concepts to understand the relation between the processes of the subject and meaning constitution.

Discursive methodology

10For the Discursive Analysis, the simultaneous subject and meaning constitution are considered as effect of the ideological interpellation. Considering its constitutive relation with the History, the language is not viewed as a system of formal rules, but as a practice that is changeable, affected by the symbolic and the political. The Discursive Analysis observes historical language materiality.

11In the form of a forgetfulness named by Pêcheux (1998) as the forgetfulness number 1 and number 2, the subject results as the saying origin. At the same time, the meaning results for the subject as a direct relation between thoughts and the world. Although the evidence of subject centering and the referential meaning illusions, it is forgotten the long process that constitutes the social and historical meaning affiliation network. Only just few remembrances result as the evidence of subject centering as meaning origin. The assumption is the relation between the saying and that has already said before, that is, the relation between the memory (the inter-discursive axis) and the topicality of the saying formulation (the intra-discursive axis). The methodological practice of the discursive analyst is an interpretation gesture to show, from the surface linguistic to the discursive process, the relation between one discourse and other discourses.

12The discursive memory and archive concepts formulated by Pêcheux (1998) can be used to think about analysis procedures. The first nominates the set of possible sayings, quotations. Although from the assumption that there is a discursive knowledge sustaining and coming back to the discourse as a pre-built, the archives are the possibility to join a set of available documents about a theme. Organize a corpus of analysis is to join dispersive documents to show the interpretation gesture division in the archives as a power division projection in the society.

13The authorized interpretation gestures identified by the analyst represent how the social memory results from the interpretation disputes in the historical process. The social memory permits

the guaranty of an imaginary effect of continuity between the epoch, or, in other words, the maintenance of a coherent narrative for a social formation according to the reproduction / projection of hegemonic meanings (Mariani, 1998 : 34).

14The social memory, the discursive memory and the archive are important to understand the interpretation disputes as well as the sustenance of the simultaneous subject and meaning constitution in the discursive process. In addition, the cutting procedure, a discursive fragment, can also contribute to understand that the interpretable is crossed by the forgetfulness / silencing. As remembers Orlandi (1994), the saying takes place of other things that haven’t been said. To think about the city as a symbolic space demands to perceive how the urban narrative results from a discursive process sustained by the discursive memory and projecting some (re)interpretation.

Recent History

15The 80s trigger a new moment to the democracy installation after the long period of dictatorship in South America’s countries. Vasconcelos (2009 : 1) describes the modifications in the political order :

The persecution and repression of political dissidents, in different levels of intensity and achievement, were present in all of regional dictatorship. The “novelty” introduced in the repressive state-owned apparatus, responsible to break with the precedent authoritarian tradition, was a huge use through the forced disappearance as a strategy of “bad subversive” elimination. Other serious violation of human rights, as the arbitrary arrests, the summary execution, the torture procedures and the relatives’ kidnapping made part of the list of crimes performed by the authoritarian regime organ.

16However, the military dictatorship, as a political system, exhibits its trail in the transition process. It was common in the beginning of these democratic regimes an attempt to efface the marks of violent political past. Not resolved questions have resulted as historical demands in the contemporaneity as well as the updating of these demands by and for the subjects. These questions are considered underneath the discursive point of view. It’s possible to think about the enunciative strategies to question the history by a narrative that clamors for the true history. This discourse extrapolates the national ambits pointing the “celebration” / “commemoration” of values considered as universal. The target is to achieve the consensus to break with the past of violent / repressive governments as well as to celebrate, with the furtherance of social movements, after the process to come back to the democratization. According to Vasconcelos (2009 : 209) :

The democratic governments are pressured by civil organized society demands for the Truth and Justice and the crime committed by the military dictatorship are far from to be forgotten, especially in Argentine.

17Thus the heritage of human rights violation during the XX Century’s second middle in South America takes part of the national and the international convention’s agenda. At the same time, in the urban narrative context opens a space lined by a “commemorative device (intellectual conferences, art exhibitions, popular festivals, etc) implemented with the target to celebrate the event in its idealized vision”, as describes Silva (2002), in the Rememoration / Commemoration : the social utilizations of the memory. According to Hunting (1994/2009), taken by Vasconcelos (2009 : 210), “the new democracies were confronted with the crimes committed by the previous regime and they faced the dilemma “process and punish” versus “forgive and forget””.

18Previously it is configured an updating narrative that was a non-event (the revolution desire, the non-conquest of the desired politic revolution) due to the violent repressive apparatus. It is charged from the History the obligation of faithfulness / fidelity towards the subject-testimony-witness of happened facts. Those materialize in new democracies as “lieux de memoire” (Nora, 1993).

19The legitimation from the historical truth for the historical subject is also a sliding of the revolution desire that has been entirely assumed by the victims’ families. As relatives’ heritage, it is meant struggle for justice, but no more as a political revolution. This historical subject is, at times, a survivor of twentieth century’s huge tragedies, whose existence has opened space for narratives that circulate meanings of obligation, uneasiness and surveillance.

20Notwithstanding the scientific discourse, as well as the political and economic discourse from the public administration, gives us mathematic elements to think about the space as an exact and logical geography, the geography can be thought as a discursive process. The city is the locus of social, economic, cultural and politic bonds through which subjects create traditions. Then the space is considered here as symbolic and political confrontation space (Pêcheux, 1998). So the space results from a process of signification / subjectification / subject individuation that gives the imaginary contour to the urban in the city (Orlandi, 2004). As a fundamental assumption for the Discursive Analysis, the political concept involves to consider the significative process crossed by the difference that divides the social in the power disputes in the society.

21The social division in the discursive process implies on the subject and meaning division. The space works as symbolic territory from interpretation gestures. The space is a symbolic continuum. To understand the urban discursive process is impossible to separate language, subject and space. For the Discursive Analysis there is the real of History, that is, the contradiction : the discursive operation in which the place for consensus production corresponds to the place for production of difference. According to Araújo (2011 : 369) :

It is important to recognize that the other crosses any attempt to form, to name, to describe, to separate the one. Thus the one is not alone – by itself or into itself – by the fact of the heterogeneity (contradictory heterogeneity) which constitutes it.

22The space also points to the end of cycles that have left words inhabited of meanings already put. In the past it was a detention center ; nowadays a place of memory. According to Vasconcelos (2008 : 236) :

Nowadays there is a growing social mobilization for the place used by the state repression to be transformed in “place of memory” and to permit the knowledge and the reflection about the recent national past. Thus it is being built in Buenos Aires a kind of “memory topography”, in order to signalize, in the urban space, places that symbolize the struggle for the human rights in Argentina.

23We propose to see this topography not only as a human rights struggle signalization in the urban space, but also as a narrative about the urban showing the symbolic marks of subject that was affected by the view that organize the city historical facts.

24A place of memory permits the “resurrection” effects of silenced meanings. The project Sitio de Memoria works as discursive position that resists to hegemonic urban organization : the urban narrative resistance. Thus the urban notion is not validated by the urban development mechanisms, but by the wealth meaning networks in which the subject can travel.

25Orlandi (2008) highlights some important points about the urban discursive order. This order works in the domain of symbolic because it is subjected to equivoque because there is a “real of the city”. In this point inhabits the comprehension of urban narrative, in its interpretation gestures. Orlandi mentions the urban organization that is characterized by an imaginary projection about the city that affects the symbolic beings in its subjective particularities : planner, public administration, economy, etc.

26Facing this urban organization there is an empirical construction from what it is impossible to escape. It can silence the real historical-material necessities of space while urban order. Thus because of the subjective space became unit and dispersion of meanings and subjects across objects, as the huellas.

27From the discursive space definition, assured by Orlandi (2004) while symbolic materiality in the space, we analyze the photos and their statements.

Huellas and the circulation flows

28The 1st photo was taken outside the Sitio de Memoria. In a narrow Córdoba street, we are invited by the signs of a historical sightseeing tour (after our "familiarization" with Córdoba city).

1st Photo – Sitio de Memoria

1st Photo – Sitio de Memoria

29This space normativity is determined by marks that lead across an uneven path built with paving stones. The circular organization links the street and the huellas design. The circular movement on the paving stone and the fingerprints can be thought considering the architecture work symbolizing the historical by installations. The artistic intervention spreads the Sitio meanings (see table 1).

1st Table – Sitio Meanings

1st Table – Sitio Meanings

30Taking the entries 1 and 5, there is the effect of overlap to cover urban meanings that are in disputes. The Sitio gives visibility not only to the historical event, but also to the derived discourses from the discursive strategies. For example, the art discourse by installations that permits to think the Sitio as a place for visitation or leisure. A place where the events inside and outside are detached attracting the pedestrian attention.

31The city centre is the place where the commercial, administrative and touristic activities are installed. An urban discourse establishes marks that work as visual identity calling to urban trajectories across its signs : street names, panels, placards, marks of the architecture, sounds, luminosity, etc. The huellas is included in this narrative as another reference that can situate the modifications, the culture and the circulation flows across the city.

32For one moment, the Sitio de Memoria loses the passage meaning to become a human rights struggle place. Tessler (2000) points out the eye / look / regarded as a lecture principle includes the spectator inside the art work. In hullas case, the spectator is attracted by a sensorial uneasiness to an artistic and political reflection ; it is expected a pedestrian reaction.

33The 2nd and 3rd photos show that it is important the movement of detachment and approximation to perceive that the installation is composed by the fingerprint draws. The fingerprints lines are drawn using the names of missing people, but only getting closely it is possible the reading. Thus the installation, as sets up Tessler, is a mixed of art as object and art as process. The meaning is possible across the interaction between the spectator and installation. Between the visible and invisible in the pedestrian approximation to the panels, the eyes are installed in the meaning filiation network from which comes the statement Memory Truth Justice.

2nd Photo – The Huellas

2nd Photo – The Huellas

3rd Photo – Detail of Huellas

3rd Photo – Detail of Huellas

34The panels cut a memorable of the historical time. Numbers refer to the periods of dictatorship. A set of names (being highlighted the surname in capital letters) refers to the missing people. All of them put together form the fingerprints. Something resists as an absence by the surname detachment : facing the absence of the body, the surname can connect the past and present by the families’ names. Something resists as absence of justification : facing the crime proofs absence, the missing people are characterized by the past participle bringing up the meaning of undetermined fact, without showing the cause but only the results of a process : dead, missing, captured, etc.

35The fingerprint is the belonging image of citizenship discursive order. Sousa (2000 : 22) describes that the identity “is the image for excellence of the fragility, of something that all of the time threatens to dissolve (…) the identity is presented not as a totality, but as a difference”. Analyzing other installation that represents a fingerprint, the author also sets up the identity as not all, but something that is missing. The Córdoba panels have an especial configuration as a fingerprint photographic memory : on transparent panels, the letters, as stylized handwriting, sounds drains on the panels, on the façade wall. The ex-prisoners currently set up : “the marks are on the walls”.

36According to Peixoto (1999), beyond its aesthetic related to art concept, the Sitio has economic, institutional and political dimensions. Affected by the symbolic, the language has a function : to attract by the artistic appeal. The fingerprint is a metaphor of the dead and missing people silence and produces a symbolic presence. The metonymic effect : the part by the all (the fingerprints by the body) ; the effect by cause (the disappearance by the revolution desire ; the fingerprints by the political activist group ; the name by the surname ; the surname by the missing people group. Guimarães (2002 : 42) sets up that the “own name” cut a memorable keeping in touch the person and the name sustained by a “memorable” and, at the same time, sustaining a “futurity”.

37The surname detachment makes visible the discursive heterogeneity, a concept used by Authier-Revuz (1998) to explain the uncompleted of sayings / subjects and the dispersion in the discourse. Across the family voice there is the embodiment of missing people not as a desire of “revolution”, but as a desire of “truth” and “justice”. The signs of time are on the deteriorated façade wall as well as the “we” marks an enunciative position that is said by the dead, the missing people, the families, the government, the scientific community. This position takes form sustaining an opposition with other discursive position : “they”, the dictatorship, the repressive government, the militaries, etc. After the dictatorship, in the democratization context, the struggle is not for the “revolution”, but for the desire to render justice facing the past / historical events.

38Retaking Barthes, Indursky (2011 : 2) explores his concepts of Studium and Punctum :

The stadium inscribes a photo as historical and political testimony. Ever the punctum breaks the studium. It takes part of the scene and inside it reaches out the spectator. “The punctum of a photo, says Barthes, is this random that, in it, stings myself, (but also modifies myself, hurt myself)” (Barthes, 1980, 1984, p. 46).

39The huellas could be inserted in a certain space and time as testimony. By the stadium property, they capture the historical. The punctum opens the symbolic space to other possibilities. The random is possible because the language is uncompleted. In addition, as highlights Orlandi (2007), the saying becomes comprehensible because something can mean before, in the discursive memory space. The city and the subject are inseparable. According to Orlandi (2004), the space configuration affects the ways of subjectivity : the subjective body is attached to the urban body.

40It is also important to consider that, after the long historical period when the subjectivity process was determined by the religious ideology, the man is signified into the new citizen discursive order. This new status quo determines the “power” meaning changes. According to Payer (2005), the body is viewed by a new perspective, if it is considered the free circulation condition. To come and go freely is viewed as a recompense for the civil obedience. The prison is the punishment for disobedience to the law. Inscribed in the history, the body is free, but responsible.

41The huellas marks the passage from anonymous condition to citizenship condition, with the inscription in the state law, with legal personality. In the next topic, we will discuss the statement Memory Truth Justice and the political event promoted by the social movements.

The Argentinean History

42The statement Memory Truth and Justice and its derivations have taken form from the World War II ending when was created, on December 10th, 1948, the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to denounce the human rights violation during extremist regimes. The date became known as the Human Rights Day.

43Most specifically about Córdoba history, there are two important facts marking the dictatorship decadence in the 80s : the economic crisis and the Malvinas War (the dispute by the island control between Argentina and England). Vasconcelos (2008) justifies that, because there wasn’t the “preparation” for a pacific transition, the collapse was followed by a new confrontation space. In 1983, the ex-president Raul Alfonsín created the Truth Commission.

44Vasconcelos describes three phases in the dictatorship crimes investigation. The first one is the phase of truth that is marked by the confrontation. The second one is the phase of reconciliation (1985-1986), when the Leyes del olvido (Laws of the forgetfulness) promoted the amnesty for the military crimes by a government project to pardon and to forget them. Promulgated by Alfonsín, the Ley de obediencia debida (Law of Due Obedience) exempted subordinates from accusation when they were carrying out orders. On the contrary, it was reinforced the social “reaction” against the forgetfulness. The word reconciliation was incorporated by Alfonsín who was responsible to bring it up to the truth and justice claim discourse. Since the 90s, the memory phase has been expanded retaking the discussion about the human rights. Vasconcelos sets up the contribution of the ex-president Nestor Kirchner creating the “lieux de memoire” (place of memories) and accelerating lawsuits that have culminated in the ex-repressors’ conviction. According to the Argentine government (​Men/​SIG-de-la-Memoria), there were more than 500 Clandestine Detention Centers - CCD.

45In the institutional and discursive space of the public policies and the social movements, the memory is meant as the possibility to publicize and to officialize the crime responsibility. In addition, the memory is considered a way to recognize the family rights as well as to become well known the Clandestine Detention Centers. The political and scientific work claims new meanings for what was meant, during the dictatorship, as “clandestine” (as “illegal”, “anonymous” and “hidden”).

2nd Table : Clandestine meanings

2nd Table : Clandestine meanings

46“Clandestine” – meant as secret, hidden, etc… - can be related to a parallel system with own rules and principles. This apparatus is in disagreement with legal system in the law rule. The CCD, as a kind of parallel “political” system in the civil society, combines the judiciary, executive and legislative functions.

47Considering the anonymous meaning, the entry suggests the hyper-autonomy effect. There aren’t any names or identification. Then, there isn’t a crime. There is no criminal liability. There is only the unpunished and untouchable anonymous society. The illegal and prohibited meanings lead to the possibility to render justice. In addition, based on the law and across the lawsuit, it is possible to require the justice.

48As Vasconcelos highlights, a prisoner condition implies in the lost identity and ceases to exist by an effacement process. While the centers were clandestine (anonymous and secret), the prisoners were unknown : neither dead nor alive, only clandestinely subtracted and disappeared from their habitual lives. As a state policy, the illegality is a strategy to discard the undesirable.

49In the 4th photo, the statement Memory Truth Justice takes form by a circular inscription that follows the fingerprint lines. Without punctuation and syntactic operators, the perspective effect results of different letter sizes what lead from outside (the street, the pedestrians) to inside (the fingerprint drawing center or inside the museum). In addition, the inside-outside tension could lead to think about a narrative that takes form outside of the official History or the hegemonic meanings.

4th Photo : The statement Memory Truth Justice

4th Photo : The statement Memory Truth Justice

50Each individual has an own set of fingerprints and this overspreads as a mark of belonging to the citizenship order. This leads to think about the forensic anthropology (and other fields) role to identify vestiges that allow to visualize each missing person identity. Not only the anonymous condition had put in suspense this possibility, but also the fingerprint panels that claim new interpretations for the clandestine. The visible / invisible (inside / outsite ; onymous / anonymous) tension is present in the movement to identify what the panels are : or the pedestrian will see the detail (names, marks), or, far from the installation, the fingerprint draws. The fingerprint is an interpretation gesture that makes visible “the” missing person, as a collective identity.

51There is a metonymic-metaphoric work where the whole is replaced by the part or, in this specific case, the part of body (the fingerprints) by “the” missing person. The “restitution” meaning gives form to the missing body, the missing voice, the missing dignity, the missing rights, etc. It is projected the legal subject who is affiliated to the new institutional meaning networks.

52The fingerprint marks the urban space in its ambiance. According to Thibaud (2008), the ambiance is not the architecture that results from normative mathematical process. This concept demands to comprehend the space subjective perception as a result of the multiple sensorial possibilities. Ambi (as duplicity) and ance (as the way to make something) lead to think about what the statement claims to the pedestrians across the art : “to look at”, “to think about” and “to put themselves inside”.

53The fingerprints, as a digital technological effect, try to restitute the existence for those who remain as unknown / anonymous in the system. Included in sightseeing tour, the Sitio de Memoria claims visibility to an unknown reality for lots of pedestrians, tourists or inhabitants.

54There isn’t punctuation in the statement Memory Truth Justice as well as the fingerprint isn’t considered a finished work. The language, incomplete, opens itself to new meanings : new names can be added. In addition, it was opened a new enunciative space. Memory Truth Justice, as the publicity statements or the political slogans, works as a collective statement mobilized in a collective space of identification : every pedestrian could be captured and led across a new trajectory of meanings in the city : “to look at”, “to think about” and “to put inside”.

55The paraphrasing exercise exposes the statement Memory Truth Justice to be said in several other possibilities. Across the reformulation, it is observed the tension between the paraphrase (the same) and the polysemy (the different). Then, three blocks are proposed to suggest different argumentative directions.

3rd Table : The statement Memory Truth Justice

3rd Table : The statement Memory Truth Justice

56The site Memoria Abierta (​index.php) shows that since the democratization process beginning, in Argentina, there has been the struggle to discover and preserve the places where the clandestine centers were installed. In addition, Cordoba is a historical city where the memory policies have tried to preserve the historical sites. Considering the 1st block, the statements have as an effect the claiming meaning. Then justice has not been done yet.

57The formulations in the 2nd and 3rd blocks permit to question the lecture effects facing to an untrue historical narrative (fictional) or a true historical narrative. Retaking some narrative categories proposed by Ricoeur, Gagnebin (2006) highlights the difference when the narrative is established from an absence (History) or an unreality (fiction). Although there are similarities in the configuration of these mechanisms, the effects could be different in the lecture configuration by the reader.

58The interpellation by the duo art and history leads to question not only the fingerprints role, but also the other actions, for example, the public events promoted by social movements. Vasconcelos (2008) describes that Argentina sheltered, in 1996, popular manifestations marking the end of dictatorship. It was the first time that The H.I.J.O.S. (Hijos y Hijas por la Identidad y la Justicia contra el Olvido e el Silencio) took part in this discussion that used to be brought up to the public space by traditional movements : Associación de Plaza de Mayo and Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo. The new generation has joined to the struggle for the human rights that comprehends the necessity of learning from the past events.

59In 1995, the ex-official Adolfo Scilingo testimony confirms the repressive activities, for example the vuelos de la muerte (death flies) : the political prisoners narcotization who still alive and were hurled from the airplanes. The repudiation reactions reinforce the new movement foundation to the human rights struggle. Silva (2002) sets up that the collective narratives are reinforced by public manifestations. These have to promote the individual remembrances, even though it is possible to distinguish remembrance, an individual elaboration process, and commemoration, collective memory construction. The narrative identity is mediated by the individual and collective memory, as sets up Gagnebin retaking Ricoeur.

60The discursive memory, as the set of all the things already said, is cut when the past narrative is retaken from one generation to another. The ancestral narrative is defined by Silva as the mediator, by the memory, between the subjects and their historical processes. As occurs in the Sitio de Memoria, the systematical promotion of events works as a movement that tries to remember the city that something has remained as anonymous, unknown or peripheral meaning in its margins, without solutions. They intend to become a ritual in urban space. Claiming the belonging to Córdoba city, the Sitio de Memoria narrative not only adds meaning to “urban”, but also produces a place of identification.

61To commemorate is to divide and to inscribe the historical narrative in the space of the universal values of Law. To commemorate is to inscribe an urban peripheral narrative in the space of universal values of History. For those who had inherited struggle for justice, the commemoration could mean the saying right. For the dead victims, unfortunately to commemorate would remain as an impossible solution.


62A new narrative claims for new meanings in Córdoba city. Sustained by the discursive memory, this narrative permits to (re)mean the meanings that were on the urban margin, as a silence / impossibility. Taking part into the legal order has as an effect a new imaginary social unit (to be equal to everybody and anybody). However there are the real of the History (the contradiction) and the real of the language (the incompleteness). The memory, as public policy and scientific theme, leads to the reinterpretation of the Memory Truth Justice statement. There is a real of the truth : the impossible conclusion as something that divides families, states and History in different discursive / enunciative positions. Thus there isn’t a unique truth (univocal, unequivocal or unambiguous). There is the real of the Justice, the impossibility to render justice for everybody and anyone. However this is the illusion for the legal subject : everybody and anyone.

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Table des illustrations

Titre 1st Photo – Sitio de Memoria
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k
Titre 1st Table – Sitio Meanings
Fichier image/jpeg, 20k
Titre 2nd Photo – The Huellas
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Titre 3rd Photo – Detail of Huellas
Fichier image/jpeg, 136k
Titre 2nd Table : Clandestine meanings
Fichier image/jpeg, 48k
Titre 4th Photo : The statement Memory Truth Justice
Fichier image/jpeg, 148k
Titre 3rd Table : The statement Memory Truth Justice
Fichier image/jpeg, 36k
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Angela de Aguiar Araújo et Luciana Leão Brasil, « The Sitio de Memoria museum »Amerika [En ligne], 8 | 2013, mis en ligne le 01 juillet 2013, consulté le 18 janvier 2022. URL : ; DOI :

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Angela de Aguiar Araújo

Universidade Estadual de Campinas
Doctorate Student in Language Sciences

Luciana Leão Brasil

Universidade Estadual de Campinas
Doctorate Student in Language Sciences

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