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  • Intermittences: Memory, Justice, & the Poetics of the Visible in Uruguay by Ana Forcinito
  • Inela Selimović (bio)
Ana Forcinito, Intermittences: Memory, Justice, & the Poetics of the Visible in Uruguay (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018) ISBN: 13: 978–0–8229–6566–4, 257 pages.

As one of the leading scholars in her field, Ana Forcinito has made another significant cross-disciplinary contribution with Intermittences: Memory, Justice, & the Poetics of the Visible in Uruguay. The book's cross-disciplinary spirit remains intact and multidimensional throughout, helping us to understand the complexities of the recent Uruguayan dictatorship, both from within and beyond Latin American memory studies. Forcinito's book begins with a layered question that involves, above all, "the meaning of what is remembered—both individually and collectively—and the disputes over those meanings" after state terrorism and during Uruguay's transitional justice period.1 Focusing on cultural production in eight chapters, the author coins the term "intermittences of memory" in order to dissect the processes during which official mnemonic outcomes and forms of remembrance become questioned, countered, and interrupted. According to Forcinito, "intermittences of memory are precisely those attempts to make visible (and audible) the battles over oblivion and silence, and thus to construct an alternative narrative about the past and to expose the blind spots of the model of peace and reconciliation."2 As an epistemic core of her book, the notion of "intermittences of memory" spotlights the role of mnemonic subjects and the ways in which they engage with remembering, forgetting, and "framing" their past in the Uruguayan post-dictatorial context.3

The book's chapters insightfully engage certain theoretical specificities from multiple discursive vantage points, including those related to human rights, law, cultural studies, memory studies, history, and philosophy. Forcinito sets the book's theoretical tone in its introduction, as she elegantly intersects several key concepts that have been instrumental for generating the notion of "intermittences of memory." We trace the author's interactions with Jacques Rancière's "the ethical turn," Pierre Nora's "sites [End Page 986] of memory," Andreas Huyssen's "places of memory," and Maurice Halbwachs's "social frameworks of memory," but also with other cultural and theoretical texts by Walter Benjamin, Julia Kristeva, Paul Ricoeaur, Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag, Judith Butler, Debra Bergoffen, and Gilles Deleuze. The Introduction primarily contextualizes the subsequent analyses within broader frameworks of human rights, memory, and transitional justice. The ensuing chapters build on and further expand the initial theoretical discussions, displaying rigorous research and rich analyses of cultural production that range from testimonio, installations, videos, photography, film, essays, and literary texts to court rulings and other evidencebased documents. While calling into play a mélange of genres, Forcinito traces the ways in which "intermittent images" ultimately "are residues or spillovers from more visible and established memories."4 Such images function as politically available catalysts for usurping the mnemonic norm in symbolic and concrete ways.

Chapter 1, "Transitional Justice and the Visual Politics of Memory," connects human rights violations with cultural production "in order to rethink what becomes visible and invisible in the official cultural politics of memory."5 The chapter juxtaposes tensions between memory and transitional justice through cultural expressions that are based on evidence but also on "poetic gestures."6 The author's discussion of mnemonic inscriptions—and re-inscriptions—of the recent past through architecture is particularly insightful. In examining the transformation of the Punta Carretas penitentiary into a shopping center, for instance, Forcinito underscores the ways in which such reconstructions entail remembrance-oriented contradictions, just as they perpetuate dictatorship-driven injustice. Chapter 2, "Disappearance: Evidence and Poetics," builds on the sociopolitical and cultural context Forcinito unveils in the first two chapters and further focuses on the making of individual and social memory in order to revisit the phenomenon of "disappearances" through documentaries, novels, photography, installations, and testimonies.7 Forcinito links certain evidence-based claims to artistic endeavors in order to tackle the inevitable clashes between remembering and forgetting of Uruguay's tumultuous past.

Although differently tackled, the theme of prison survivors' voices and their reinstituted subjectivities interconnects the next two chapters. Chapter 3, "Visible Voices: Testimony and Justice," centers on "the testimonial subject as a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1085-794X
Print ISSN
0275-0392
Pages
pp. 986-989
Launched on MUSE
2020-11-20
Open Access
No
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