Tierra Común – Fosa Común: On Colombian Necropolitics

"Because the nation is an entirely imagined agency,
it is capable of doing the most unimaginable things"*
– Arjun Appadurai

Under the Colombian soil lie thousands of victims of the more than 50 years armed conflict.
In 2008 came to light that innocent civilians may had been killed between 2002 and 2008 by the Colombian army and presented as "guerrilleros fallen in combat" in order to inflate the statistics and obtain performance fees, promotion and other benefits. These victims are the so-called "falsos positivos" (false positives). In 2015, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that at least 5.000 murders of this kind were committed.  Even today, hundreds of anonymously buried bodies of civilians are being found in mass graves located in poor neighborhoods all around Colombia.

In this series I constructed a material and visual presence for these victims in order to make their disappearance and absence noticeable and experienceable.

Employing a reduced visual language I photographed objects I took from everyday life and others I created, in order to address this subject matter metaphorically.

I chose and used materials such as bone, plastic, honey, wood and soil. They give visual expression to my long struggle with the emotions and impressions that I associate with the false positives.

The absence of the victims stays in this series in strong contrast to manifestations of excessive abundance, the deep psychological wounds of war as well as the apparent stability of power.


*Key-note lecture on 01.06.2018 in SAVVY Contemporary's panel
Caressing the Phantom Limb.'Heimat' –Progression, Regression, Stagnation?