Resisting extractive uses of the archive in Colombian experimental non-fiction

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María A. Vélez-Serna


In the first two decades of the 21st century, a cluster of Colombian filmmakers developed a distinctive body of work engaging with the country’s histories of violence through critical documentary and experimental devices. A nuanced use of appropriated footage is a recurrent feature in these works, signalling their engagement with historical events through mediated representation and a ‘suspicion of the archive’ (Suárez 2020, 542). This paper identifies distinct patterns in the filmmakers’ relationship to the materiality of archive materials, focusing on selected works by Camilo Restrepo, Laura Huertas Millán, and Juan Soto. It argues that the remediation of digital found footage, personal and private archives enacts reflexive and distancing strategies in order to obstruct extractivist uses of images. In their choice and use of appropriated and archival moving images, filmmakers grapple with their own social and geographic positionality in ambiguous ways. 

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