Visions & Voices - Latent Memory: Present Visions of Latin American Political Past

March 31, 2017 - April 1, 2017, 7:00pm

Norris Theater

Please join us on Friday, March 31, 7pm at Norris Theater for a screening of contemporary political animation from Latin America, followed by a panel discussion with award-winning animators from Colombia and Argentina. This engaging Visions and Voices event, Latent Memory: Present Visions of Latin American Political Past, includes a related workshop on Saturday, April 1st: Data-Driven Animation. 

Reservations for Students, Staff & Faculty    Reservations for Alumni    Reservations for General Public

Program Details:

Chile Imaginario | Imaginary Chile by Claudio Díaz Valdez, 2012, 21:33, Chile

Nine Chileans who were born between Chile’s 1973 military coup and the 2010 Chile Bicentennial give personal testimonials about this particular historical period.  Animator Claudio Diaz transforms their individual memories of the past into animation cycles that demonstrate a collective view of Chile’s present.  

Darío no ha muerto |Darío Lives by     Rodrigo de la Vega, 2012, 3:30, Mexico

In 2011, during the annual protest in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico known as The Walk Against Death (kaminata contra la muerte), federal police gunned down a university student.  Using a public domain video that captures this painful event, Rodrigo de la Vega reconstructs an allegory of civil resistance against the fear that has dominated Mexico in the last several years. 

 Lupus | Wolf  by Carlos Gomez Salamanca, 2017, 9:41, Colombia 

The title “Lupus” refers both to the Latin word meaning “wolf” and to the chronic, human, auto-immune disease that inflames and damages connective tissue. The film’s concept developed from an actual event in which a pack of 20 stray dogs roaming the streets of Bosa, a slum suburb of Bogotá, devoured a night security guard at a construction site. The film examines the underlying causes of this tragic event, including unchecked urban sprawl and wild instinct.

 Carne | Flesh by Carlos Gomez Salamanca,        2013, 7:42, Colombia

Carne reconstructs an amateur video archive that reveals images around the death of an animal in a rural celebration in Colombia. Gomez’ films operate from a narrative structure that aims to construct a void, a system where the different scenes work as rumors about an uncertain and disturbing fact, linked to the latent image of the body destroyed.

Business Hours: The Life and Death of a Bureaucrat by Simón Wilches-Castro, 2015, 5:12, Colombia.

In this beautiful, experimental animation, Death visits a bureaucrat and forces him to work overtime. The film was a Semi-Finalist in the Student Academy Awards and premiered at Annecy International in 2015. 


El Empleo | The Job, by Director Santiago Bou Grasso and Writer Patricio Plaza, 2008, 7:00, Agentina

The award-winning El Empleo tells the story of an anonymous man who makes his usual trip to work, immersed in a world where people have replaced functional objects. With black humor and a critical look at the subject, El Empleo explores what it means to be human in a modern society.

Padre by Director Santiago Bou Grasso and Writer Patricio Plaza, 2013, 12:00, Agentina

Through the use of the stop-motion, the award-winning Padre recreates the stifling atmosphere of daily life in post-dictatorship Argentina 1983. Day by day, an oppressed woman meticulously nurses her bedridden military father. Although the regime is not visibly obvious, the contamination in Argentinian life is lingering and absolute. The doves that crash to the ground, serve as the symbolic evocation of the bloodthirsty experience of the dictatorship.

Grasso & Plaza’s animations confront the socio-political realities of Argentina, placing the stories within relatable human conditions. Their films meet at the delicate border between documentary and fiction, using a series of powerful metaphors that confront us with the violence and human tragedies that took place in Argentina during the military dictatorship of the late 70’s and early 80’s.

About the panelists:

Colombian Carlos Gómez Salamanca is a visual artist and film director. In his recent work, he paints frame-by-frame images to create animations that critique social and cultural aspects of his country.

Writer Patricio Plaza is a 2D animator, illustrator and comic book artist. He is dedicated to developing independent animated shorts as writer, producer, distributor, and sound designer. He has collaborated in the making of animation and illustration institutional work for social NGOs such as the Human Rights association “Madres de Plaza de Mayo.”

Born in Manizales, Colombia, Juan Camilo González  is an independent animator working at the intersection of traditional hand-drawn animation and cutting-edge web technologies. He studied visual arts at the Javeriana University of Bogotá, received an MFA in Animation & Digital Arts at USC and is currently finishing his PhD studies on “Data Driven Drawings” at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is a founding member of the group Moebius Animación, dedicated to promoting and studying Latin American experimental animation. 

Born in Popayán, Colombia, Simón Wilches-Castro studied visual arts in Bogotá and animation in Cuba. He received his MFA in 2015 from the USC School of Cinematic Arts John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts. He was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship for Artists in 2011 and has received two Adobe Design Achievement Awards, two Student academy award semifinalist nominations, and an ASIFA Annie Award nomination. 

About the Moderator: 

Laura Isabel Serna joined the faculty of the SCA Critical Studies Division in 2010.   She is the author of Making Cinelandia: American Films and Mexican Film Culture (Duke University Press, 2014).  She has published essays on a range of topics in Mexican film culture during the silent era including border film production, censorship and nationalism, and regional film cultures and edited collections including Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space (2014) and Land of Necessity: Consumer Culture in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (2010).  She regularly teaches courses on international silent cinema, Latino/o Media, Latin American and Mexican Cinema, and film history. 

Related Event on Sat., April 1st: DATA-DRIVEN ANIMATION Workshop

Taught by animator Juan Camilo González.  (Note: Advance reservations for the workshop are full. Stand-by only.)

In conjunction with the screening and panel, students are invited to participate in a hands-on, stop-motion and digital animation workshop which will demonstrate how animation and socio-political data can work together as a tool for positive social change. 

The goal is to introduce tools that can transform statistical data on various social issues into interactive visualizations and real-time web animations. Students learn about the ethical implications of creating artistic representations of social events and discover the new possibilities of animating with cutting-edge web technologies.

No  programming or animation experience is required. We welcome dancers, musicians, writers, filmmakers, animators, game designers, visual artists, engineers, or anyone interested in the creative representation of “reality."  

(Note: Advance reservations for the workshop are full. Stand-by only.)


Presented by USC Visions & Voices. Organized by Professor Sheila M. Sofian and Associate Professor Lisa Mann. Screening curated by Juan Camilo González, Hench-DADA MFA '11. Workshop taught by Juan Camilo González.

Contact Information

Phone: 213-740-0483