“What, exactly, is a ruin?” (p. 5). Starting from this basic question, Gastón Gordillo unsettles the common conception of ruins as memorialized and venerated relics of the past and turns his attention instead to the overlooked debris—the rubble—that waves of imperial, capitalist, and neoliberal interventions have left in the Argentine Chaco, including overgrown Spanish forts and missions, out-of-use railroad tracks, bulldozed forests, scattered mass graves, the detritus of nineteenth-century steamships, and images of venerated saints. Inspired by Walter Benjamin's ideas on modernity as a destructive process, Gordillo looks at how local memories are woven around material remains with the aim of examining the interpenetration of space, history, decline, and subjectivity. Accordingly, rubble is for Gordillo both a conceptual figure that allows him to “rethink the very nature of space by way of the destruction that creates it” and an actual “constellation” of...
Mónica Salas Landa; Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 August 2018; 98 (3): 549–550. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-6933886
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