The Calm Before the Storm: De-hechos

How do we document a natural disaster that was over within just three minutes? How do we remember a geography that changed or was destroyed so rapidly? How do we communicate pain, grief and memories into one single moment? The De-hechos photographic exhibition has some answers.

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy Sady Mora Gallardo

Held at the Estación Mapocho, the exhibition presents the work of Claudia Inostroza Morales, Fernando Melo, Jorge Pasmiño, Manuel Morales, Nicolás Sáez and Sady Mora Gallardo who take a look at the before and

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy Manuel Morales

after of the earthquake rather than its exact moment of impact. They document precise periods of time, enabling us to view and understand them in retrospect. The photographs contrast the noise of the event with silence, the chaos with stability and the confusion with understanding.

The title of the exhibition De-hechos (from facts) plays on the word “desechos” (waste). In the initial abstracted form it intends to divert the viewer's mind away from any preconceived idea of the exhibition. The photographs are also a means of mocking the ways in which various media sources treated the pain, reflections and memories of the most affected regions in and around Concepción.

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy
Jorge Pasmiño

Images such as these treat the earthquake in a subtle, abstract and sympathetic style, allowing room for us to draw upon our own experiences and to add our own unique interpretations, reactions, sounds, smells and feelings to the compositions.

Jorge Pasmiño takes us to the beach where holiday makers and families enjoy the summer sun unaware of the destruction about to hit the very same spot. We walk along the paths and avenues of escape with Fernando Melo which appear dark and unconvincing, yet act as “the only routes of escape that save lives,” the photographer explains.

We play voyeur with Manuel Morales as the worst-hit survivors of the quake continue with their daily lives without houses, running water or food. Nicolas Sáez takes us to a heritage building recently converted into piles of bricks and rubble. Sady Mora shows us a bridge which once linked communities, now serving no use at all.

Santiago Chile
Photo courtesy Claudia Inostroza Morales

We take a peak at our own human indiscretion and personal needs which are exploited in the aftermath of a supermarket raid.

Finally, we dip beneath the water with Claudia Inostraza and witness the debris and other reminders of destruction above water now floating beneath the surface.

De-hechos exposes an acknowledgment of social and geographical change and how this change affected everyday life just as much as the environment. The magnitude of the earthquake is brought to our attention for us to remember, reflect upon and consider the reality of its before and after. In the words of Sady Mora, the exhibition is a demonstration of “the silence of the spaces and territories which existed amongst the chaos.”

June 3 to July 4, 2010
10 am to 2 pm and 3 to 6pm
Monday to Sunday
Free entry
Estación Mapocho
Plaza de la Cultura s/n
Metro: Cal y canto (line 2)
Telephone: (2) 787 00 00

Participating photographers
Claudia Inostroza Morales
Fernando Melo
Jorge Pasmiño
Manuel Morales
Nicolás Sáez
Sady Mora Gallardo

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