Last October, I presented “Translating Memory from Exhibition to Digital Collection: Reflections from Guatemala Después” at the first session of the year-long conference Translating Memory and Remembrance Across Disciplines, organized by SUNY’s Conversation in the Disciplines Program in New Paltz. It was a two day session during which I got to meet many interesting people and had valuable conversations and exchanges with scholars working in memory-related topics.
As you might already know if you’re not new to my website or my work, I have dedicated a big part of my last year to Guatemala Después, a collaborative project developed in collaboration between The New School and Ciudad de la Imaginación that explores the ways in which social and political realities in contemporary Guatemala have influenced its artistic and cultural production. The project has included participatory workshops, exhibitions, academic courses, and public programming hosted in New York City and Guatemala. Over the last semester, our efforts have been focused in building Guatemala Despues’ digital collection, a space that will document the initiative, preserve the artworks in digital form, and provide useful resources for researchers, educators, students, artists, and citizens wanting to know more about Guatemalan Arts, Culture, and Memory.
For this presentation, after doing an overview of the project, we used Guatemala Después as a case study to consider the challenges of creating a digital collection in terms of content, structure, platform, tools, curation, maintenance and distribution. This is a transnational project. The nature and format of the works being showcased are as diverse as the forms of engagement we have tried to encourage in the public. What gets lost in all these translation processes? What are the implications of capturing someone else’s memories? We intended to tackle these questions, incorporating both conceptual and practical considerations.
You can download the text and images of the presentation here. And if you're interested in memory, make sure to take a look to the program of the upcoming second session of the conference.