Counter-archives to the Narco City


Counter-archives to the Narco City is curatorial project on art and human rights that seeks to make visible the underlying structures and experiences of everyday life in cities beholden to narco-economies along the Latin American-U.S. industrial and migration corridor.

Our goal is to offer alternative views to the dominant discourse and spectularization of narco-violence and human rights abuses in the Americas. Hosted at the University of Notre Dame’s Snite Museum of Art and the Notre Dame Center for Art & Culture in the fall of 2015, the two-person exhibition features the work of Adriana Corral and Alma Leiva on the counter-archives of Ciudad Juárez in Mexico and San Pedro Sula in Honduras.

Counter-archives presents two installations from Corral’s series Campo Algodón that reflect her research on gendered and state violence in Mexico. Corral specifically deals with a high profile legal human rights case where the bodies of eight young girls were found murdered in a cotton field in the center of Ciudad Juárez in 2001, and the recent enforced disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa rural student teachers in Iguala, Guerrero in 2014. Her work enacts a counter-archive by dwelling on these tragedies, the purposeful amnesia, the counter-memory of these victims, and a broken legal system that obscures state and organized crime. The photographic series by Leiva, titled Celdas, mines the dislocation of everyday life in San Pedro Sula, the deadliest city in the world. Through meticulous reconstructed interiors of working class homes, she stages absurd interventions that bring the outside world inside. Drawing on affect, memory and trauma, Leiva’s photographs perform as a feminist counter-archive to the narco-terror and gang violence of Honduras. While overwhelming us with intimacy, her work makes visible the way homes act as prisons and sanctuaries, recording the effects of physical and psychological violence. 


Co-curated by Tatiana Reinoza and Luis Vargas-Santiago


'Counter-Archives of the Narco City' looks at victims of drug trade's violence 
By Evan Gillespie, South Bend Tribune

Art and The Other Side of Narco Violence 
By Marisel Moreno, Huffington Post

Tatiana Reinoza