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This summer at Kunstnernes Hus ☀️
Open today 12-17 (Restaurant 11-22)

In the Wake of Ayotzinapa: Systemic Violence and Media Distortions in Mexico

Film program and presentation
Sunday 16.04.23
Ayotzinapa 5 1600x900

In conjunction with her exhibition Images [and Talking Back to Them], which looks at the intimate tie of violence to images, artist and filmmaker Sara Eliassen has programmed two film nights with conversations at Kunstnernes Hus Cinema.

Night one of the program focuses on a seismic political incident in the more recent history of systemic violence in Mexico, when 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal Rural Teachers’ College disappeared in 2014. The film program presents works by artists, filmmakers and activists who have challenged official propaganda and media distortions in Mexico in the aftermath of the incident.

The screening features works by Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, Forensic Architecture and Teatro Ojo, and will be followed by a presentation by writer and researcher Irmgard Emmelhainz, author of The Tyranny of Common Sense: Mexico's Post-Neoliberal Conversion.

This program is a collaboration with Academy of Fine Art, KHiO.

About the program

On the night of 26th September 2014, 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College disappeared in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. The students were headed for the yearly commemoration of the notorious 1968 Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City, in which numerous students died at the hands of government forces. The Ayotzinapa students disappeared after their buses had been stopped at roadblocks at different points in the city of Iguala. The fatal incident has not yet been resolved, and was immediately shrouded in official cover-up propaganda. This has engaged activists, journalists and artists both in Mexico and internationally, in questions revolving around corruption and impunity, possible governmental implication and sensationalist media handling of the incident.

The program screens films by artist and activist collectives addressing the event in markedly different ways: from minute factual reconstruction to sharp media critique, and the production of counter-images and counter-narratives.

Film program

Rostridad / Estas son las versiones nos propone (These are the Versions Proposed)

Colectivo Los Ingrávidos | 2014 | 2 min

Tachaduras (Erasures)

Teatro Ojo in collaboration with Rafael Ortega | 2016 | 30 sec.

The Enforced Disappearance of the Ayotzinapa Students

Forensic Architecture | 2018 | 16 min


Teatro Ojo in collaboration with Rafael Ortega | 2016 | 30 sec

Sun Quartet - Part 4

Colectivo Los Ingrávidos | 2017 | 22 min


Irmgard Emmelhainz is a professor, writer, researcher and translator based in Anahuac Valley (Mexico City). Her work about film, the Palestine Question, art, culture and neoliberalism has been translated to many languages and she has presented it at an array of international venues. The Sky is Incomplete: Travel Chronicles in Palestine is forthcoming with Vanderbilt (2023). She has also published in English Jean-Luc Godard’s Political Filmmaking (Palgrave Macmillan in 2019), Toxic Loves, Impossible Futures: Feminist Living as Resistance (Vanderbilt, 2021) and The Tyranny of Common Sense: Mexico’s Postneoliberal Conversion (SUNY 2021, Debate 2023).

Emmelhainz' visit is a collaboration with The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Mexico City.

Sara Eliassen (b. 1977) is an artist and filmmaker based in Oslo. She is currently a PhD candidate in artistic research at Oslo National Academy of Arts— Academy of Fine Art, with the ongoing artistic research project Mediating Uncertainties. Current investigations explore propaganda histories, and how ideologies are normalized through contemporary images, technologies and moving image culture.

Related program

Read more about the film program on Sunday April 23: Against Neo-Nationalist Myth-Making

Read more about the exhibition: Images [and Talking Back to Them]

Sara Eliassen's exhibition is curated by Silja Espolin Johnson and part of an expanded focus on presenting moving image-based works bridging the cinema and exhibition spaces at Kunstnernes Hus, funded by Fritt Ord and Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

See also