Colloquium | Julio Sebastián Figueroa

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 12:00pm

Julio Sebastián Figueroa

A Planetary Scale of Memory: Geontology, Deep Time and the Documentary in Nostalgia for the Light and The Pearl Button by Patricio Guzmán

In this talk, I will analyze the recent documentary work of Chilean-born filmmaker Patricio Guzmán from a planetary perspective. If in The Battle of Chile (1976) and subsequent films such as Obstinate Memory (1997) and The Pinochet Case (2001), Guzmán reflected on revolutionary politics and its aftermath from a national-historical point of view, in Nostalgia for the Light (2010) and The Pearl Button (2015) he explores instead the memory of Chilean landscape through large-scale views taken from archaeology, geology and astronomy. Focusing on deep-time encounters between the Earth and the Universe, Human and Nonhuman, and Life and Nonlife in both films, I demonstrate how they reveal the geontological forces that ground the political. While showing our profound connection with the material universe, I ultimately propose that this tele-cinematic approach also traces the landscape of our own extinction, producing singular intersections between history and nature as well as nonfiction and affective images in the documentary viewing experience.

Julio Sebastián Figueroa is a graduate student at Penn. He holds a B.A. in Spanish from the Universidad Austral de Chile (Valdivia, Chile) and a M.A. in Modern Letters from the Universidad Iberoamericana (Ciudad de México, México). His research interests include Latin American poetry and narrative, film and media studies, and critical theory. For his dissertation, he is currently working on the intersections between economy, environment and imagination in Twentieth-century Latin American literature and film. In addition to this, he is collaborating on a research project about the artistic production of the Chilean diaspora in New York between the 60s and 70s.

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