FRAGMENTS - COUNTER MONUMENT
DORIS SALCEDO + GRANADA GARCES ARQUITECTOS
DORIS SALCEDO + GRANADA GARCES ARQUITECTOS
MINISTRY OF CULTURE - NATIONAL MUSEUM OF COLOMBIA
MINISTRY OF CULTURE
JUAN FERNANDO CASTRO - PHOTOKAS
FRAGMENTOS, is a space for contemporary art and memory, whose floor or foundation is literally made up of 37 tons of weapons handed over by the FARC guerrilla. These weapons were melted down and reconfigured as the physical and conceptual support on which this site of memory is erected. Standing on this floor, everyone will be in an equitable, stable, and free position from which it is possible to remember and—difficult to forget—the legacy of war.
Fragmentos is a counter-monument, conceptually it opposes the triumphalist character of the monument. Fragmentos’ architecture is, discrete, almost invisible, horizontal and without hierarchy. The building incorporates the ruins of what once were a domestic colonial house. Its courtyards and rooms, articulate an architectural dialogue of the old and the new, in which emptiness, silence, different surfaces are intertwined.
Fragmentos presents emptiness and absence, because it is precisely through these elements that the absolutely irredeemable character of war can be manifested. Art and architecture cannot compensate for the horror caused by war with beauty, and for this reason Fragmentos does not give an aesthetic form to loss, damage, or violent death.
Fragmentos, has as its mission to produce and exhibit, during a period equivalent to the duration of the conflict, different works of art that expand upon the memory of war.
In this sense, we will not have only one monument, but multiple counter-monuments that will be changing, polyphonic, and alive. Art and architecture allow us to think a vision of the future, in which adversaries can coexist peacefully.
In 2016 the Colombia government and the Farc guerrillas sign a peace accord to end a civil war that raged for more than 50 years. In the agreement it was decided that a monument should be build using the metal of the arms the guerilla voluntarily gave up.
When we received the 37 tons of weapons deposited by the guerrilla in order to build a monument , we thought of the pain, death an destruction caused with them, and came to the conclusion that it was not possible to monumentalized them.
In this historical moment, in Colombia we lack symbols that can be turned into monuments, capable of granting our society as a whole a unique version of what happened to us during this long conflict. However, a fragmented and heterogeneous society like the Colombian one, can try to unite its divergent experiences and memories in a common space.
The most important part of this project was to invite a group of women who were raped by armed men to give shape to the weapons. For days we hammered this metal to mark the symbolic end of the power relationship imposed by these arms.
Allowing the active participation of these survivors of sexual violence in the creation of an artwork and in the formation of this space that commemorates the end of the armed conflict is part of the symbolic compensation that our society owed them.
Fragmentos opened on December 2018, since then it has had three main uses:
-We are proud to say the space has been appropriated by victims’ organizations, in order to develop different activities like encounters, conferences and workshops. We have also provided legal assistance to victims in their search for justice in a country where impunity reaches an astonishing 95%
The space has been the site where the Transitional
Justice System (JEP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CEV) have presented their annual reports.
-Fragmentos is a space committed to exhibiting and producing site specific art works, created by national and international artist. All the art works exhibited at Fragmentos are an attempt to promote critical reflection on war, political violence, memory, and peacebuilding, not only in Colombia, but also in other parts of the world.
Fragmentos has an academic forum entitled Argumentos, in which academics and victims give lectures on subjects that complements and expand on the mission of our space. Cycles of lectures have been given on topics like: Testimonial injustice, Philosophical perspectives on sexual violence in the context of war, Performative Monuments.
A forthcoming one, will be on Migrations and Climate crisis.