Glitching the State: The Mechanics of Resistance in Ricardo Piglia’s La Ciudad Ausente

Henry Osman

Torture is a storytelling device in that it attempts to (re)narrate and extricate the lives of others, often in the name of a potentially fallacious official memory. In the torture chamber, violence is posited as a search for knowledge whose veracity is not always necessary. States around the world have used torture to extract information and reaffirm their own narrative; due to this legacy of state violence, many post-trauma works aim to reveal the extent of the practice and the damage it causes as a form of resistance. This is particularly relevant to contemporary Argentina, where the legacy of state violence, particularly forced disappearances and torture during the military junta’s Dirty War (1976-1983), is still being dealt with in the public sphere and in institutions such as the Supreme Court, which last year controversially allowed the early release of hundreds of convicted human rights abuses.

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Henry Neim Osman is an M.A. student in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. His interests include surveillance, machine vision, and hapticality. He is currently finishing his thesis, “The Kiss of the Electron: Haptic Surveillance, Sensuous Governance and the Caress of the State.” He also works as an independent curator.

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