Narrative, the Chilean social explosion, and affective geography: on the catharsis of the ‘artistic candlelight vigil’ of Valparaíso

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Abstract

In response to State violence during the so-called ‘Chilean social explosion’ [estallido social], the Valparaíso Coordinator of Cultural Action [Coordinadora acción cultural Valparaíso] (CAC) in collaboration with other cultural groups of Valparaíso as well as other artists who spontaneously improvised during the performance organized on 31 October 2019 an ‘artistic candlelight vigil for human rights’ that passed through the center of the Chilean coastal town of Valparaíso, one ostensible effect of which was to rewrite the affective geography of Valparaíso in response to the violence that had erupted in the city during the 2 weeks prior. This article examines the relationship between this candlelight vigil, the revolutionary autonomist foundations of the Chilean social explosion, and the affective geography of Valparaíso, in addition to developing a broader theorization of the relationship between narrative, revolution, the politics of autonomy, and affective geography through this analysis. In the end, this article makes a double intervention: (1) The ‘artistic candlelight vigil’ in Valparaíso on 31 October 2019 memorializing the victims of State violence was an effective catharsis of the discordant affects held by Chilean protestors during the social explosion. (2) This example of catharsis demonstrates a new resolution to the relationship between narrative, revolution, and affective geography by proposing that art can work through the discordant affects of a polity in order to arrive at an autonomous urban communality from below.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-433
Number of pages15
JournalCultural Geographies
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chile
  • affect
  • affective geography
  • catharsis
  • narrative theory
  • social explosion

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