The People’s Paving Stones: The Material Politics of International Human Rights in the Baldosas por la Memoria of Buenos Aires

Terrell Carver, Dolores Amat, Paulo Ravecca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Baldosas por la memoria are memorial paving stones handcrafted by loosely networked activists. Produced continuously from 2006 to an informally established protocol, they memorialize “the disappeared” and others murdered by the state terrorism of the Argentinian dictatorship (1976–1983). As a synecdoche of the “down and dirty” everyday pavements, they function as a metonym for democratic struggle and popular sovereignty. Aesthetically, they work against the “forgetting” and kitschification to which conventional memorials become subject. Through remediation into books and a DVD documentary, they participate in controversies within the international politics of human rights. Using a “material turn” within visual analysis, yet distinct from the “new materialism,” this article explains how they function within familiar genres of memorialization but in wholly novel ways. Baldosas create ethical complexity and moral ambiguity by troubling collective memory. Thus, we examine their relation to guilt, complicity, trauma, and affect.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberolab009
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Political Sociology
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2021

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