S.O.S. Militant Researchers and Public Intellectuals

with every goood reason to believe members of Electronic Disturbance Theater / b.a.n.g. lab (Amy Sara Carroll and Ricardo Dominguez) will be in attendance, it would be very interesting to use this opportunity to further a conversation in process around confrontation, occupation, translation, immigration across borders and disciplines.

Colectivo Situaciones On Militant Research [Genocide in the Neighborhood]

Redings: 2011 January 18 and 20, 4-7 pm 3512 Haven Hall, University of Michigan

Translated from the Spanish by Brian Whitener, Daniel Borzutzky, and Fernando Fuentes. Genocide in the Neighborhood (an English translation of Genocida en el Barrio: Mesa de Escrache Popular by Colectivo Situaciones) documents the autonomist practice of the “escrache,” a system of public shaming that emerged in the late 1990s to vindicate the lives of those disappeared under the Argentinean dictatorship and to protest the amnesty granted to perpetrators of the killing. The book is an example of militant research, an investigative method that Colectivo Situaciones has pioneered. Through a series of hypotheses and two sets of interviews, the book documents the theories, debates, successes, and failures of the escraches, investigates the nature of rebellion, discusses the value of historical and cultural memory to resistance, and suggests decentralized ways to agitate for justice.

Moreover, as Whitener has noted, this act of translation, reading and performance of text also actively represents ’over 30,000 people “disappeared” by the dictatorship and these were (for the most part) militants or persons connected to the left. Given 6 degrees of separation, the disappearance of 30,000 persons means that the majority of the population in Argentina knows someone either directly or indirectly (someone’s uncle, someone’s mother’s brother, someone in their neighborhood, etc) who was disappeared. This was a dirty war, waged directly against political opponents. As a result in Argentina to this day, there is a deep, unresolved sense of national shame, anguish, and anger that a state could possibly do something like this. As a result, it forms a political antagonism. This shame/anger over the dirty war is in some ways a hidden universal, something that the majority of Argentineans have access to, and it provides the ground both for consensus and dissensus. Consensus and dissensus exist together because the escrache reveals and activates an antagonism: you can agree or disagree but you can’t escape the structure of feeling, you can’t escape responding. And, secondly, this addresses the first part of your question, the genius or importance or “effectiveness” or “success” of the escrache was, in part, finding a way to activate and address this unresolved trauma of historical memory. It´s not a practice that addresses class, race, sex, gender (as such or only): the importance of the escraches is that they are one of an emerging set of practices that are attempting to address the law itself, how to think of the law, and how it is institutionally put into practice.’


A Play for All
Trans [ ] Borders

Electronic Disturbance Theater/b.a.n.g. lab, 2010

In “Numbers Trouble,” Juliana Spahr and Stephanie Young reflect on the current state of poetry and publishing. At their article’s far-from simply- number-crunching close, the pair chronicle their informal survey of several women poets, “We’d be curious if you could imagine some way that poetry, or poetry communities (again, however you define the terms) might do more to engage the living and working conditions of women in a national/ international arena.” Transcribing some of the responses they received, they go on to leave the ball in the reader’s court.Consider TBT to be our humble response to Spahr and Young’s call. Arriving at a moment when a generation of poets, artists, and activists are repeating questions about the possibilities of social engagement in what’s shaping up to be the era of the proliferating post- (post-post-modern, postpost-colonial, post-neoliberal, et cetera), TBT queries, “What constitutes sustenance?”