Unmaking/Remaking Memory Work: Centering Community Narratives of Latinx Lived Experience

panel / roundtable
  1. 1. Marisa Hicks-Alcaraz

    Claremont Graduate University - The Claremont Colleges

  2. 2. William Camargo

    Claremont Graduate University - The Claremont Colleges

  3. 3. Joseph Valencia

    University of Southern California

  4. 4. Samantha Cabrera Friend

    School of Visual Arts, The Visual Desk

Work text
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Panel Abstract:This panel locates itself within a growing social movement of new community-centered archiving and curatorial initiatives that has risen in recognition that traditionally ignored communities should have a role in how their histories get told. Our papers showcase a range of projects and vantage points aimed at giving visibility to Latinx lived experience, while taking steps to radically unmake/remake archival practices and memory work in a way that is accountable to and in participation with Latinx communities. Our projects are grounded in justice and community-oriented work spanning disparate academic and artistic fields, including photography, critical curatorial and archival praxis, visual studies, and digital humanities. We ask and then demonstrate: What might be alternative means for recovering hidden stories of the Latinx diaspora? How do we practice memory work in a way that is accountable to and in participation with its subjects? What might be new methods for archival and curatorial work that are in accordance with the lived realities of the communities we are working with? We invite discussion to help further develop community-centered initiatives and hope that audience members will leave with new ideas for community-engaged and justice-based work.Paper Abstracts:Marisa Hicks-Alcaraz, PhD Student in Cultural Studies at Claremont Graduate University and co-founder of ImaginX en Movimiento"ImaginX en Movimiento: Building a Rasquache Digital Archive"ImaginX en Movimiento (IXeM) is a Los Angeles-based moving image archive and collective I co-founded (with one foot in and one foot out of academia) in May 2019 in effort to counter exclusionary practices that prevent community access and participation in cultural memory work. This paper is an ethnographic case study that provides critical reflections on the strategies employed by IXeM that respond to particular constraints and challenges pertaining to labor and cost, including operations, acquisition of equipment, funding, and collaborative initiatives for community engagement. This case study will posit labor and cost solutions against a background of scarce resources as well as forge new ideas for community-engaged and justice-based recuperation methods in academia.In particular, this paper reflects on the way IXeM expresses a rasquache defiance that is situated within digital ethnic studies and the larger movement of community-based archiving, as well as in the interrogation of traditional (Anglo, heteropatriarchal-centric) archival authority. According to Chicanx art historian, Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, being rasquache is the visceral response to lived reality and an attitude rooted in resourcefulness and adaptability (1989). The Chicanx phenomenon of rasquachismo, or the view of the downtrodden, encourages its practitioners to use the materials available at hand to create something that is accessible and belongs to the people. A deliberate choice, rasquachismo is political and subversive; a tool of activism and an anti-elite practice. In this paper, I develop the idea of digital rasquachismo as a way to dismantle traditional archival practices that reinforce oppressive systems that disproportionately subject Brown and Black bodies to generational inequities and inspire alternative methods that retool digital technologies to center the lived experiences and wellbeing of those at the margins.Blurring the divide between choice and necessity, IXeM is driven by both a socioeconomic imperative and a deliberate choice to challenge the authority of top-down knowledge systems by retooling commercial content sharing platforms as archival databases (see: @veteranas_and_rucas, @blvckvrchives, @latinx_diaspora_archives, @quinceaneraarchives, LA Freewaves), which some scholars have viewed as revolting and others an avenue of revolt. Going beyond just “making do,” IXeM enacts a radical politics of resistance by grabbing hold of the tools of social media to transform cultural memory work and its publics; in effect, using the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house.While we see such platforms as presenting opportunities to transform the practice of social memory, we also firmly acknowledge the ways in which they can be (and have been) used to cause harm and facilitate surveillance and oppression. As such, this talk will consider both the ethical risks and opportunities afforded by these new tools, especially as they pertain to documenting Latinx grief and trauma in the wake of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, its economic fallout, and the current uprisings against racist police brutality.

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Conference Info

In review

ADHO - 2020
"carrefours / intersections"

Hosted at Carleton University, Université d'Ottawa (University of Ottawa)

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

July 20, 2020 - July 25, 2020

475 works by 1078 authors indexed

Conference cancelled due to coronavirus. Online conference held at https://hcommons.org/groups/dh2020/. Data for this conference were initially prepared and cleaned by May Ning.

Conference website: https://dh2020.adho.org/

References: https://dh2020.adho.org/abstracts/

Series: ADHO (15)

Organizers: ADHO