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projects curated

Diego Cerna Aragon


Diego Cerna Aragon is a media and technology researcher.

Diego Cerna Aragon (ODL researcher 2020-2021) is a media and technology researcher. He holds a BA in Communication from the University of Lima and a SM in Comparative Media Studies from MIT. His research interests include technologies of mediation and technoscientific expertise, with a special focus in the Andean region. While at ODL, Diego explored the production of innovative forms of documentary and the institutional infrastructure of national media ecosystems in Latin America.

Spatial memories in Latin America

Memories are sustained by attachment. Memories can be either more affectionate or solemn but it is the existence of an attachment that remains constant: attachment to people, objects, or actions. All of these evoke personal experiences or social narratives. Space plays a key role in the conjuration of memories. Memories are spatialized, as experiences happened in specific places, and narratives are situated in particular settings. With a long history of social and political strife, Latin America is a region where we can perceive this interplay between memories and spaces.

This playlist collects Latin American media projects that explore the spatial dimensions of memories. Among the selected projects, we can appreciate how creators documented and preserved the state of a space during moments of social struggle. We can also observe how authors recreated and (re)presented episodes of political violence in the history of their countries. Additionally, projects here also examine how certain technologies open up the possibility of a mediated access to a place, and the experiences and memories they evoke.

_La Ciudad como Texto (The City as Text)

La Ciudad como Texto (The City as Text) is a multiplatform project that documents street art made during the 2019 Chilean protests in Santiago.

During the 2019 protests in Chile, various efforts were made to register manifestations of discontent expressed by the citizenry. One of them is La Ciudad Como Texto (The City as Text) by Carola Ureta Marin. The project documents 2.4 kilometers of street art after 36 days of protests in Santiago, Chile’s capital. The project follows the route between Dignity Square – one of the focal points during the protests – and Palacio de la Moneda, the national house of government. With the hashtag #noseborra (#itwillnotbeerased) constantly accompanying the path of the viewer, the project fixates all these visual manifestations of political struggle in the history of this momentous revolt.


This project began during the October 2019 protests in Chile as a way to collectively create a 3D database of the effects of these protests--such as graffiti--on monuments and architecture throughout Chile.

Antes del Olvido (Before Oblivion) was also born during the Chilean protests of 2019. This project employed photogrammetry techniques to create 3D models of interventions made in monuments, sculptures, and emblematic buildings during the protests. These models were later geolocalized in a map, so any viewer could remember the manifestations of political discontent in these specific locations. The project included a series of workshops through which these techniques of capture and modeling were shared, making the efforts of memory preservation effectively collective.

_4 Ríos

4 Ríos is a multi-platform transmedia project that tells the stories of the armed conflict in Colombia.

4 Ríos is a multiplatform project about the Colombian internal conflict. Its first story – El Naya – narrates a fictionalized version of the Naya Massacre, a tragic episode in which dozens of farmers, indigenous persons, and Afro-Colombian people lost their lives at the hands of paramilitary forces. In Elder Manuel Tobar’s story, the Naya river takes a particular relevance. The river after which the incident was named and where some of the bodies of the victims were found is a place portrayed as the container of their voices – voices that do not stay quiet and ask the viewers to not forget them.

_Memorial Rocas AR

Memorial Rocas AR is an interactive Chilean documentary that employs augmented reality technology to recreate Rocas de Santo Domingo.

Pepe Rovano’s project takes on the difficult task of recreating a place that no longer exists. Originally built as a vacation resort for working-class people during Salvador Allende’s government, Rocas de Santo Domingo was transformed into a torture center by Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship. After the return to democracy, the facilities used by the military remained under their control and later on were dismantled. Through the use of 3D modeling, VR, and AR technologies, Rovano digitally rebuilds these facilities so the acts committed there are not erased from the collective memory.

_Forensic Landscapes

Forensic Landscapes is an innovative web documentary that invites visitors to explore the territories shaped by the enforced disappearances and what the author conceives of as 'forensic resistance' in Latin America.

On occasion, the multisitedness of a phenomenon complicates the possibility of representing it visually. In their collaborative project, Anne Huffschmid and Pablo Martinez-Zarate approach the efforts of recovering the remains of disappeared persons across Latin America. The authors reimagine the spaces as virtual environments where these political, legal, and scientific practices take place in order to represent how different actors are involved in the delicate process of recovering and mourning a missing person.

_Under the Skin WordPress CMS

A first-person interactive VR doc about state-promoted violence inside the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and its effects on the community of residents.

In his 360 VR documentary, João Inada offers a snapshot of Complexo do Alemão, a favela in Rio de Janeiro that regularly experiences episodes of armed violence. By employing tools of interactive storytelling, the author crafts a narrative that involves the viewer in one of these episodes – a police raid. Through the engagement with different characters, the story evokes these past episodes, and provides the viewer-turned-participant with an enhanced understanding of the complexities of living in a favela.

_Going Back Home VR

Going Back Home VR is a Chilean transmedia project that aims to remove prejudice about incarcerated people in addition to building a bridge between prisons and the outside world.

Volver a Casa (Going Back Home) by Catalina Alarcón seeks to close distances between places. Through 360 degrees videos and VR technology, the project offers incarcerated persons and their families the possibility of sharing glimpses of their lives. Their asynchronous interactions allow them to remember their times together while they are apart. The project is actively concerned with raising awareness about the conditions of confinement that inmates have to go through, particularly in cases that involve the separation of parents and their children.


projects curated by

MIT Open Documentary Lab


projects curated by

Liza Faktor


projects curated by

Wendy Levy

33 Pl Playlists

33 playlists, a changing roster of prominent documentary makers, festival organizers, technologists and critics sharing their top picks.

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