Paz Encina became a public figure in Paraguay after her first film, Hamaca Paraguaya (Paraguayan Hammock, 2006), won major awards and put Paraguayan cinema back on the international map for the first time in decades. In 2012, she was invited to “do something” visual with the Archivos del Terror (Archives of Terror) to mark the twentieth anniversary of the discovery of the heinous archives. Encina is not the only artist to make use of the Archives of Terror. Argentine Carlos Trilnick's Proyecto Archivos del Terror: Apuntes sobre el Plan Cóndor (Archives of Terror Project: Notes on the Condor Plan, 2013) also utilizes them. Natalia Brizuela posits that Paz Encina's use of the archival material from the Archives of Terror is different than Trilnick's. Her pieces demarcate specific spaces and insist on location, in contrast to Trilnick's work that is made to be packed up and reset in any space. Second, Encina's installations insist on disjointed forms of reenactment to establish a tension between embodiment of the spectator and disembodiment of the tortured bodies. She has since made three works that utilize the Archives of Terror. Her interest in the archival material never sought to generate a new archive but rather to engineer the spectatorial conditions for a site-specific experience. The fully embodied subject that emerged through the sound recordings became the motor for the work Encina produced on and around the Archives of Terror and the lengthy state-of-exception government that structured her country's life in the longest dictatorship to date in Latin America.
A Sense of Place: Paz Encina's Radical Poetics
Natalia Brizuela is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Latin American Literature and Culture as well as Film and Media at UC Berkeley. She is the author of Fotografia e Imperio: Paisagens para um Brasil Moderno (Editora Schwarcz S.A., 2012), Depois da fotografia: Uma literatura fora de si (Editora Rocco, 2014), and co-editor of Y todo el resto es literatura: Ensayos sobre Osvaldo Lamborghini (Interzona Latinoamericana, 2008) as well as a special issue of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies (2015) on photographers Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola. She is a contributing editor to Film Quarterly.
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Natalia Brizuela; A Sense of Place: Paz Encina's Radical Poetics. Film Quarterly 1 June 2017; 70 (4): 49–64. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2017.70.4.49
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