On 26 September 2014, forty-three students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College disappeared from Iguala, a city in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Two students’ bodies have been recovered, while forty-one students remain missing. In Los Angeles, mourning for the students has taken the form of what we call “anti-memorialization,” where traditional forms of memorialization are upended through informality, ephemerality, art, and the digital in order to politicize and bring attention to an injustice. While informal memorials have existed as long or longer than their formal counterparts, anti-memorialization moves these informal memorials into the contemporary reality of a digitally networked world, pushing private mourning to public activism. Among these informal efforts reflecting ongoing calls for justice, one piece, part of an exhibit sponsored by Boyle Heights-based arts organization Self Help Graphics and Art, was entitled 43: From Ayotzinapa to Ferguson. The exhibition anti-memorializes not just the forty-three students from Ayotzinapa, but victims of police brutality in the United States as well, linking the two social movements across national borders.
The 43: Remembering Ayotzinapa
Maricela Becerra is a Ph.D. student in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the post-memories of the Tlatelolco massacre in contemporary Mexican authors, and the exchanges between the Chicano student movement in Los Angeles and the Mexican student activists in 1968.
Lucy Seena K. Lin is a master’s student in Urban and Regional Planning at University of California, Los Angeles. Her research examines cultural production in everyday practice and in building resilience and vitality of communities.
Gus Wendel is pursuing a master’s degree in urban and regional planning at University of California, Los Angeles. He is interested in the ways that visual culture informs planning and design, the politics of place and space, and urban planning history.
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Maricela Becerra, Lucy Seena K. Lin, Gus Wendel; The 43: Remembering Ayotzinapa. Boom 1 September 2016; 6 (3): 32–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2016.6.3.32
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