Friday, 16 March 2018

GEOMETRY OF CONSCIENCE

Artist: Alfredo Jaar
Location: Museum of Memory and Human Rights,
Santiago, Chile
Year of completion: 2010
Researcher: Gregory Door

In creating a memorial for the victims, living and dead, of the 17-year Pinochet military dictatorship, artist Alfredo Jaar made a radical departure from the typical monumentalization of loss and grief. Housed on the grounds of Santiago’s Museum of Memory and Human Rights, the memorial is situated underground.
Access to the memorial is restricted to only ten people at a time, and viewing the piece takes approximately three minutes. Visitors descend by 33 steps into absolute darkness. After a full minute in the dark, 500 silhouettes—each representing a victim of the regime—slowly brighten on one wall, reflected infinitely in two facing, mirrored side-walls. After the lights reach their full intensity, they snap off, plunging the viewers into darkness, with an intense afterimage left on their retinas.
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