Son[i]a #282 Zenaida Osorio
Imagine that you are Zenaida Osorio.
Imagine you are a Colombian researcher, designer, lecturer in the Arts Faculty of the National University of Colombia and an artist. Imagine you are the editor of several books and small self-published editions, including "Haga como que: la violan, le pegan" (2007).
Do as Zenaida would: investigate the univocal perception of the world in newspaper and advertising archives. Endeavour to bring to light the negotiations imposed on us by trusting what we see, and the impostures that we ignore or fail to question. Similarly, think about how these same mechanisms operate in devices for the construction of memory and heritage.
Think about Colombia, and stop to consider the case of Radio Sutatenza, a literacy programme for peasants in the Tenza Valley launched in 1947, whose extensive documentary archive is kept at the Bank of the Republic in Colombia, and which was recently included in the UNESCO Memory of the World programme. You can go back to being yourself now, go to your usual search engine and see what story and documentation it comes up with regarding Radio Sutatenza.
Now step back into Zenaida Osorio's shoes and go to the physical archives of Radio Sutatenza to examine the documents... look at both front and back, in order to unearth the parts of it that do not exist according to the institutions that now manage and glorify it. Question the spontaneous nature of the Radio Schools organised by Acción Popular Cultural. Pretend that you do not understand why Radio Sutatenza is considered the first community radio station in Latin America. Pretend that you do not understand why it is more important than other urgent memories.
Go back to the images in the remarkably exhaustive ACPO photographic archive, which preserves everything that was published... and everything that wasn't. Look closely at the peasants in the photos, their poses, attire, gestures... Spot the differences. Now compare that peasants we all want to meet with the way they are portrayed in, for example, the popular TV series Narcos. Imagine you are Colombian, and consider which image of your country you would rather see.
Now pretend you are the neutral voice of Radio Web MACBA. Change register. Talk slowly. Suggest ideas as in a word cloud.
In this podcast, Zenaida Osorio provides a critical reading of the official account of Radio Sutatenza and of the representations of peasants in the archive. Through this case study, Zenaida reflects on the contrast between the national images (in this case Colombian) that are considered legitimate by networks of civil servants, media producers, and academic researchers. We talk to Zenaida about the difference between images and memory, about wars against illiteracy that can also be read as wars against communism, about archives that we love to love and images that we don't, about anti-memory movements, exhibitionitis, and the profusion of quotation marks, Vivaldi, ponchos, mules with transistors strapped to their backs, the promise of intimacy, and other strategies for building links with the "real".