The Political Effect of Tenderness in <em>Buena Memoria</em> by Marcelo Brodsky

  • Mariana Graciano The Graduate Center, CUNY
Keywords Brodsky, Dictatorship, Latin American Politics, Democratic Transition, Affects
Keywords Brodsky, Dictatorship, Latin American Politics, Democratic Transition, Affects


If “cruelty is the failure of tenderness,” as the Argentine psychoanalyst Fernando Ulloa stated, then the photographic essay Buena memoria (Good Memory) by Marcelo Brodsky fights cruelty. Although the two main protagonists of the book are two political activists (Fernando and Martín), Buena memoria is not the story of an ideological struggle, of the reasons why they died, or of the violence they faced. On the contrary, the book resists violence and that is the political effect of its tenderness.
   Many of the testimonies of people who were kidnapped and tortured during the dictatorship talk about the process of dehumanization that they had to suffer. Buena memoria is able to go against that basic mechanism of State terrorism; it is an alternative that combats violence in the emotional dimension. How does one stand against dehumanization but through humanization, by promoting identification with life, with the human condition? What could be more diametrically opposed to an act of violence that an act of tenderness?
   This paper argues that Buena memoria works in this sense, purging the acts and images of violence with acts and pictures of affection, attachment, sympathy, friendship. Martín and Fernando presences are relocated, re-signified.

Author Biography

Mariana Graciano, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Mariana Graciano (Rosario 1982) studied literature at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. In 2010 she moved to New York to pursue a MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish at New York University (NYU). She is currently a PhD student at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her dissertation work focuses on literature and visual arts from the Southern Cone, post-dictatorship and affects. Her first book of stories, La visita (Demipage, 2013), has earned the recognition of Talento FNAC.
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