Disappearance in Three Acts
Act 1

‘Act l’ is an ethnography of violence reflecting on a history of conflict in Central Mexico. The video piece 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. Following the pictorial European Romantic landscape tradition with its depiction of the uncontrollable power of nature, this piece is an investigation on enforced disappearance in rural Mexico, reclaiming undermined histories of everyday violence and economic struggle.

‘Act l’ appropriates visual motifs from 18th century European Romantic landscape tradition with its depiction of the uncontrollable power of nature and cataclysmic extremes, echoing violent occupation of land in rural Mexico. Through a poignant testimony of a kidnapping survivor, intertwined with the pastoral rural landscapes of her captivity, ‘Act l’ documents geographies of disappearance at the threshold of detectability.

Artist Statement

‘Disappearance in Three Acts’ is a video trilogy that investigates political and social complexities in contemporary Mexico, such as enforced disappearance, social punishment and economic struggle. 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. ‘Disappearance in Three Acts’ 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 l – Act of Mourning’ is the first instalment of the trilogy.

Credits

Sound Design and Score by Christian Olsen
Sound Post-production by Christian Olsen

Post-production by PRIM
Productions Réalisations Indépendantes de Montréal

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

PRIM
Programme Aide à la Création
Canada

Canada Council for the Arts
Canada

Exhibitions | Screenings

Galerie B-312
2024
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victor@victor-arroyo.com