Memory for Forgetfulness
خاطره برای فراموشی
Memoria para el olvido

Memory for Forgetfulness

Many relatives and friends of those who rest in the Memorial del Detenido Desaparecido y Ejecutado Político (The Memorial for the Politically Imprisoned, Disappeared and Executed) in Santiago, Chile, no longer live in the country because they were forced into exile during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1989). Cristian Quinteros Soto’s mother, Margarita Soto, seen in the photograph installed at Tumba Library, knows many of them. She places carnations at the graves of their relatives and friends when she visits the site. Then she takes a picture of the flower and the grave to send to them. Similarly, when they visit Chile, her friends and relatives send a picture of a carnation in front of her grandfather’s grave, Hernán Soto Gálvez. Like the people buried in the memorial, the red carnation is a collective symbol of the fight for revolutionary freedom and an antidote to oblivion. By leaving flowers and documenting them, one remembers the coup and the fates of relatives and friends.

Dinner Recipe

A woman in the political organization La Agrupación in Santiago told us about how exile breaks up families and is a form of torture. Someone is physically separated from their culture and forced to adapt to another. Previous political struggles are pushed aside. Can it create enough forgetfulness to forget one’s history?
    A memorized recipe is intangible and can easily be taken from one place to another. It can be cooked in all places where the ingredients are available or with minor adjustments when any of them are missing. What are roots good for if you cannot bring them with you? Food is how we relate to the conditions of exile and migration. This is where our dinners began!
    In the summer of 2019, we organized dinners at Krögarvägen 26 in Fittja, at the residential apartment of Botkyrka Konsthall, to retrieve the histories we carry. To remember, we cooked Chilean and Iranian food that our families taught us. We shared the meals with friends from the Iranian and Chilean diasporas; together, we navigated through the histories we have inherited to understand how being is composed.
    These dinners were never only about the Chilean and Iranian diasporas but instead about how we can meet within and between diasporas. We have written down a recipe for how these dinners were created so that they can take place elsewhere.

The artists Afrang Nordlöf Malekian and Cristian Quinteros Soto collaborate on matters of care and management of memories in the diaspora. Through archival footage, films, and dinner invitations, they examine how Iranian and Chilean political movements in exile are interwoven and organized and how people in the diaspora inherit political struggles.