Manuela Vélez Ortega


Fondo Visual - AGN (Archivo General Narco), 2022
Mixed installation

In elementary school, through novels about knights and audiobooks about the magical world of the Greeks, history is often conceived as a static idea, a byword for the past and for what cannot be changed. «Those who do not know their history are condemned to repeat it» is perhaps the most generic and typical mandate of this narrative that has been reproduced in the national media: it turns the past into a future already foretold, and time into endless cycle in which, like a teleological vision of life, we all fall and no one can escape.

As simple as denying the surprise and irrationality of the changes that have hit us in recent years is to pretend to continue thinking of history as the site of the anthologies of the past. In a world of novelty and first times that seem to be taken from dystopian films, the Fondo visual del AGN (Archivo General Narco) is the demonstration of the contradiction that anchors history to the dust of the past and to writings in stone: because things never happen in the same way, because time is as inevitable as it is unpredictable, and because the past is built at the same time as the present.

The invented categories, as well as the way of grouping the images around them and the invitation to visitors to be able to move, alter and create their own narratives from the proposal of the work constitute a gesture of invention, search and reconstruction of the stories that have been told about drug trafficking: its settlement and expansion in Medellin during the eighties, its visual and cultural dimension, and the impressions of it that remain in the generations that, more than lived experience, are part of the collective imaginary that feeds us as spectators of the novel that is a national construction.

The past, at the rhythm of our present, is in a constant state of invention; since it does not repeat itself, it cannot be as it was before. Neither stories nor images are immune to change. On the contrary, they are responsible for imagining a new one, one capable of opening up to divergent discourses and narratives, wondering about what remains and what not, about the images and absences of memory, about everything that cannot return to be like it was before.

, Colombia

Español Link