STATE OF DISAPPEARANCE
The historical and present condition continues to be marked by forms of violence that are defined by a devastating absence. Whether we are referring to single acts of abduction, the enforced disappearance of entire communities or systematic policies of annihilation, such violence often rips open a wound in time, offering no viable recovery and no meaningful justice. But what do we actually mean by disappearance? How should we understand and respond to the problem in the contemporary moment? And how can we make sense of a phenomena that takes us beyond all intelligibility?
The State of Disappearance project is a collaborative response that brings together the arts, humanities, social sciences and wider advocacy groups to bring new attention to the multiple ways disappearance occurs. Instigating public debate, it asks what forced absence and total human denial means for societies and how we might better understand such violence in the 21st Century?
Art Against Oblivion
Our project began in 2017 with an artistic demand. It was inspired by the artwork of Chantal Meza, who like so many in Latin America confronted the reality of disapperance. This raised many critical questions for us, which in turn further inspired an entire collection of artworks dedicated to the project.
These artworks have sought to bear witness to disappearance by attending to its apparitions, the obscure beasts that are brought into ones nightmares, the beginnings of such absence, the fragmented catastrophes they induce, the collapse of consciousness it provokes, along with creation of non-spaces of devastating habitation, we have elected to call the void.
The Full Gallery of Works:
Oct 28 - Nov 8 2023
The Inaugural State of Disappearance Art exhibition was held at CentreSpace Art Gallery in Bristol from October 27th to November 8th, 2023. Showcasing for the first time together, 75 dedicated works were presented dealing with the brutality of disappearance, and how it leaves its mark upon those who must live with the consequences.
Complimenting the exhibition, two weeks of events were featured which included a series of public lectures from internationally recognised speakers and leading authorities on different related issues from feminicide, ecology to slavery, dedicated panels exploring issues concerning memory & justice, along with student workshops and artist tours.
Queens University Belfast
Chantal Meza is a renowned Mexican abstract artist and writer. She is currently based in the United Kingdom.
Brad Evans is the founder & director of the Histories of Violence project. He is Professor of Political Violence & Aesthetics at the University of Bath