Memory, Atrocity, Resistance

Memory, Atrocity, Resistance

enc_01_frontPhoto/ Foto: Lorie novak

2nd Encuentro


Monterrey, México June 14-23, 2001

I want to offer you a warm welcome to México. On behalf of the many people who are collaborating with enthusiasm and hope to make this event possible for you, brothers and sisters of the Americas. The fundamental objective is to meet here together with the opportunity to reflect on the common theme: Memory, Atrocity and Resistance.

Memory. The 28th of March of 2001 marks for México, and for many other groups of the world, a time of transgression. This act is fundamental as it transforms the role of acts and traditions contained in the practices which give form to the concept of culture in the Americas. The arrival of the voice of women before the Congress, moreover, the arrival of women representatives, and representatives of the indigenous and Zapatista movement, while the passing of time finds an ancestral objective: the interruption of a past that has lasted more than 500 years, reactivated and transmitted to the present a social memory that has been latent and disturbed by the European invasion and brutal genocide since 1492. It is truly an act of recognition that this interruption coincides with the meeting of this 2nd Annual Encuentro which offers us the opportunity to discuss and make connections between these processes which unite our shared vision of the world as habitants of the Americas.

Atrocity. These processes of adaptation and resistance loyal to custom and this reiterated tradition over centuries, like a silent scream of millions of voices against the times, looked to prolong themselves, to secure themselves that someone, some day would answer the call. The scream has lost perhaps the “literal” meaning, but in its repetition it has increased the force of the trauma of genocide. Finally, the voice is heard in all the world and is [particularly relevant for its coinciding with the 2nd Annual Encuentro that unites the listeners.

Resistance. In the manner in which projects like this one of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics commit in proposals for the organization and the promotion of strategies which go to lengths to maintain communication channels – the mission of the Institute – in order to activate a critical vision, in the manner in which the voices will be heard. It is necessary to take into account, not only immeasurable acts like the genocide perpetrated in the past, but moreover to read about these acts in the present as a persistent expression of the memory in the bodies and voices of millions of Americans.

I want to give my sincere thanks to the following: To Carolina Farias, president of the Consejo para la Cultura de Nuevo Leon and to Dr. Luis Galan Wong, Rector of the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon for the understanding and support of a project with critical dimensions so necessary for this Northeast community. This stimulates and nourishes in the new age of Mexico, of the hemisphere in the far west, of the Americas. Thanks, of course, to Hester Martinez, Karen Young, and Ayanna Lee; Patricia Loya, Karina Lozano, Ricardo Villarreal, and to Reynold Guerra for sharing a similar vision for the work of art in relations to the construction of a political and cultural critique and a reflection that really represents us. I want to give special recognition to Dr. Diana Taylor, Director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, whose vision of American cultural phenomena, gives dimension to performance as a public art and as a social power, our personal thanks to her and especially to Alejandra Rangel and Dr Reyes Tamez Guerra for being pioneers of the plan and for paving the way for this kind of project.

In the frame of this 2nd Encuentro and with the support of all of these people, the city of Monterrey, which UANL and CONARTE integrated into an intercontinental project, as the 4th site of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, uniting the network between Peru, Argentina, Brazil, the United States and México and to the interchange between artists, scholars and institutions which have the opportunity to contribute to the virtual archive with edited and unedited materials. The 2nd Annual Encuentro México 2001 with all of its participants will create the fundamental for a re-envisioning of theater, dance, fine arts, music and moreover, popular culture, daily life and the urban expression from the lens of performances as a process of constants, readjustments, and resistance – always in a dynamic of transmission of traditions, of life and of reiterated movements and of performed behaviors.

-Javier Serna