The Political Philosopher Brad Evans & Abstract Artist Chantal Meza discuss their State of Disappearance Project.

THE PROJECT

Disappearance is marked by a devastating absence.

It constitutes a form of violence that rips open a wound in time.

It offers no viable recovery and no meaningful justice.

It provisions alibis to perpetrators, while denying the victims their very humanity.

And for those who are left to live with its presence, the terror is unending. " 

 

Brad Evans & Chantal Meza

Project Directors

This initial impetus project was conceived back in 2017 as a result of responding to the violence of disappearance, which had become an everyday reality in Chantal's home country of Mexico. As she began her own witnessing to this through art, our subsequent discussions raised a number of crucial questions for us. Not least: - How can we do justice to a shattering absence? How could we bring our own grammatical tools to bare on a problem that took us beyond the threshold of intelligibility? What could political philosophy say when confronting the limits of language and what could art say when all presence is being denied?

Confronting these questions we understood demanded a collaborative response between the arts & philosophy. It also demanded a wider conversation with a community of intellectuals, who could allow us to reimagine the truly unimaginable. Recognising this, we began this journey noting that while disappearance is undoubtedly terrifying for its victims and families, there was a need to reimagine the term disappearance itself within a more considered and intimate frame. It was necessary to account for the terror which lives on in the minds of everybody it touches, not only to focus attention on the absence of bodies, but to also consider broader issues on the roles between perpetrators, victims and witnesses, onto the ways it forces a fundamental rupture in the logics of space and time. Indeed, we felt that it was only by addressing it on these terms that we might be able to ask serious questions about what role art and critical thinking have when confronting this devastating problem, which by its very definition, exceeds the limits of aesthetic and philosophical engagement on account of its very absence and denials.

These 72 Artworks produced between 2017-2020 have sought to bear witness to disappearance by attending to its apparitions, the obscure beasts that are brought into vision, the beginnings of such absence, the fragmented catastrophes they induce, the collapse of consciousness it provokes, along with creation of non-spaces of devastating habitation, we have elected to call the void. 

OBSCURE BEASTS

State of Disappearance
State of Disappearance

Obscure Beasts I, 2018. Mixed media on paper, 115 x 86cm.

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State of Disappearance
State of Disappearance

Obscure Beasts II, 2018. Mixed media on paper, 115 x 86cm.

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State of Disappearance
State of Disappearance

Obscure Beasts XII, 2018. Mixed media on paper, 100 x 76cm.

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State of Disappearance
State of Disappearance

Obscure Beasts I, 2018. Mixed media on paper, 115 x 86cm.

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FRAGMENTS OF A 
CATASTROPHE

State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Fragments of a catastrophe I. Mixed media on handmade paper. 25 x 20cm, 2018.

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Fragments of a catastrophe II. Mixed media on handmade paper. 25 x 20cm, 2018.

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Fragments of a catastrophe XXII. Mixed media on handmade paper. 25 x 20cm, 2018.

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Fragments of a catastrophe I. Mixed media on handmade paper. 25 x 20cm, 2018.

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SINCE THE BEGINNING

State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Since the beginning. Pigment, ink, charcoal, acrylic, coal, resin & fibre glass on paper. 200 x 200 cm, 2019.

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Detail

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Detail

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Since the beginning. Pigment, ink, charcoal, acrylic, coal, resin & fibre glass on paper. 200 x 200 cm, 2019.

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APPARITIONS

State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Apparition I. Ink on paper. 35 x 270mm, 2017.

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Apparition II. Ink on paper. 35 x 270mm 2017.

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Apparition XXVIII. Ink on paper. 35 x 270mm, 2017.

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

Apparition I. Ink on paper. 35 x 270mm, 2017.

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THE VOID

State of disappearance
State of disappearance

The Void I. Charcoal & graphite on paper. 295 x 420mm, 2019.

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

The Void II. Charcoal & graphite on paper. 295 x 420mm, 2019.

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

The Void X. Charcoal & graphite on paper. 295 x 420mm, 2019.

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State of disappearance
State of disappearance

The Void I. Charcoal & graphite on paper. 295 x 420mm, 2019.

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THEATRE OF THE DISAPPEARED 
Art House Movie

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STATE OF DISAPPEARANCE will be published as part of the Outspoken series with McGill-Queens University Press in 2022. Bringing some of the most critically minded thinkers dealing with the question of violence in the world, State of Disappearance will be the very first volume of its kind to deal specifically with the problem of human disappearance from a truly trans-disciplinary perspective. Edited by Professor Brad Evans and accompanied by the artwork of the Mexican abstract painter Chantal Meza, the project will bring attention to the many ways disappearance occurs, and in the process ask about the importance or limits of the arts, humanities and critical enquiry when in comes to responding to the problem of violence in the world today.

Co-curated by the Project Directors it will feature 12 contributions and also showcase the Artwork from The Series

 

SEE BELOW

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Ana Lucia Araujo

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Adrian Parr

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Bret W. Davis

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David Theo Goldberg

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Henry A. Giroux

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Gil Anidjar

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Julian Reid

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Nuala Finnegan

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Michael J. Shapiro

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Mangalika Da Silva

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Samuel Weber

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Santiago Zabala

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

The Disappeared of History: Chantal Meza & Brad Evans deliver a lecture at the Mahindra Humanities Centre at Harvard University. The lecture is followed by a conversation hosted by Professor Susanna Siegel. 

Conversation on Art & Disappearance: Complimenting the selection of Chantal Meza's artwork for the journal Wissenschaft und Frieden, she discusses with a respective editor the questions of violence in her work. 

MUAC: At the start of the state of disappearance project, the co-director Brad Evans delivered a lecture at MUAC in Mexico City.

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