Conflicting passions: public buildings and popular religious sentiment.
My intention is to question the space of Famaillá in the here and now, as much from a passionate as from a horrified point of view; the unavoidable attraction beckons. The hybrid factor of all that is public, the popular religious sentiment, all that is state run and a kitsch aesthetics interpreted in sociological terms as something over the top, a copy, the pretence of art, its decorative function but also the expression of a new sensorium that appeals to emotions, the fondness of the sacred and of the profane. The popular religious sentiment, so present in the North-West provinces of Argentina, for example, establishes an aesthetic and hybrid passion (Barale 2004: 192) that abuses and uses the “superabundance of the ornamental” that “does not tolerate empty spaces” (Ibid).
In this sense, I believe that two passions bond together (and are confused) in the space of Famaillá: one, a passion of a religious nature that mixes sacred canonized figures and other saints and faith healers that revive popular religious sentiment, more emotional than conceptual; and two, a passion for public buildings with a budget that is used to plant figures of the Faith but at the same time is also used to show statues and paintings of artists and, even more so, of personalities of the national political history, enthroned as “saints” that appeal to the sentiment of that which is common and to identity, always from an affective point of view.
Diego Aráoz – San Miguel de Tucumán – Tucumán – Argentina
* Famaillá is a city located in Tucumán, a province in the north-west of Argentina. It is known as the capital of the “empanada” (a typical dish of the region which consists of a type of individual pie or pasty filled with chopped meat and other ingredients) and where the annual Festival of the Empanada is celebrated in the month of September.
It was in this city that the first Clandestine Centre of Detention was installed – in the “Diego de Rojas” School - shortly after the Military coup of 24th March 1976, which marked the beginning of the Military Dictatorship in Argentina.