STATE OF DISAPPEARANCE
Disappearance is marked by a devastating absence. It constitutes a form of violence that rips open a wound in time, offering no viable recovery and no meaningful justice. It provides alibis to perpetrators while denying victims their humanity. For those who are left to live with its presence, the terror is infinite.
State of Disappearance brings together the power of artistic testimony and witnessing with critical voices to ask deeper questions about extreme violence, the normalization of human vanishing, state and ideological complicity, and memorialization, along with wider concerns about what it means to be human in the twenty-first century. A full-published gallery of dedicated artworks by Mexican abstract painter Chantal Meza inspires each chapter, bringing the aesthetic into critical conversation and leading to a multidisciplinary collection that charts a new path for recovering humanity in the face of its annihilation. Featuring contributions from theorists of violence who are concerned with the issue of forcibly removing humans from the surface of the earth, while also appreciative of the complex layers of appearance and disappearance in the contemporary world, the book attends to the many ways disappearance occurs and the ethical questions this raises.
State of Disappearance traverses the difficult terrain of human denial to rethink some of the most devastating chapters in human history and their enduring relevance to our lives.
Published in the fall of 2023 by McGill-Queens University Press.
If art is to deal with the question of violence, then it must confront the kidnappings, femicides, repressions, clandestine graves, enforced disappearances, the murders of journalists, extrajudicial executions, as well as the indifference to such horrifying crimes.
Interview with the artist: