Thursday, 11 September 2014

Chile: Andrés Cruzat's photomontages of Santiago coup

Photomontages of old and new images which remind us "how things were" have become a bit of a fad recently.

See, for example, this photo slideshow of Cologne, Germany, on Youtube. The clip was extremely popular, but some people, including in the Youtube comments, express concern that it is somehow an overly patriotic view of history - something which is, from the German point of view, highly problematic. There are all sorts of questions surrounding the appropriateness of mourning Germany's loss of architectural heritage and nostalgia for "what could have been".

See also these images of the Second World War in Google Street View. The "montage" in this case is not subtle - it's just a photo pasted on top of the Google image - but the idea of the continuity of place and memory is there.

Now we come to Chile.

Andrés Cruzat's images of modern-day Santiago combined with original photos of the September 11 coup do not to me seem "suspect" in the same way that some Germans felt the Cologne ones did. Rather, they take the contemporary environment, where it is often easy to forget the past, and say "Look what happened here!". One comparison which often comes up in these montages is that of ghosts - but despite the colour, it seems to me that the modern figures here as just as "ghost-like" as the 1973 ones. You can't really decide which side is more "real", it's just a layering of memory and history - the urban palimpsest in an image, as it were.

Lots more photos to see at the link below, or look at Twitter account  @fotomemoria.

"La Persistencia de la Memoria" el fotomontaje de Andrés Cruzat (

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