Latin American studies and memory studies scholars, especially, will be interested in the new online book by Diana Taylor. Villa Grimaldi explores the infamous place of memory by the same name — once a detention center used by the secret police of the Pinochet regime. Villa Grimaldi shares with Taylor’s previous books (e.g., The Archive and the Repertoire, Disappearing Acts) a graceful exposition of relevant theoretical debates, and critical reflexivity about one’s positioning vis-à-vis political violence across the Americas. The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, for which Taylor serves as Founding Director, circulated the following blurb about the book:
From 1973 to 1979, 4,500 people were tortured and 226 people permanently disappeared from Villa Grimaldi in Chile. This book takes the reader on several walks through Villa Grimaldi, and explores the many issues this site (and others like it) raise in terms of memory, history, place, performance, trauma, and political contestation. How does this site preserve, contest, alter, or reactivate memory? Whose memory? Who are these spaces for? What do they ask of us? How can sites, guided tours, audio tapes, video testimony, and digital books such as this one transmit a sense of what happened there, to them, and at the same time, engage ‘us’ as co-participants in the drama? The three visits to Villa Grimaldi staged in this book tell competing narratives of the relationship between place and memory.