“Mompox: Family album and construction of photographic memory around the Magdalena river.
by Paolo García Nigrinis”
My practice as a photographer is focused on studying memory, the recovery of visual heritage, vernacular photography, and the resignification of ready-made images. ‘Mompox: Álbum familiar y construcción de memoria fotográfica en torno al río Magdalena’, is a project that arises as a plan for collecting vernacular archives. The strategy of this exercise and research is based on the analysis of family albums from a community that does not have a photographic collection since the only two that have existed have disappeared in the last ten years. Mompox is a town located to the east of an island in the middle of the most important river in Colombia. Its history is crucial for the independence of the nation, and its port was the epicenter of the prosperity and commerce of the interior of the country. In the 20th century, a natural phenomenon in the river flow transformed its thick navigable to the other side of the island, burying the port forever, and thus, changing the social dynamics of a town loaded with memory. Hand in hand with seven traditional families from the town, we constructed an archive based on their photographic albums, which includes a testimonial audio capture of each image. The story operates as an activator of memory. The collected material is the starting point to understand the transformation of an amphibian community with the river in different categories. This project includes an emotional bond and a commitment to give back to a community that deserves the reconstruction of its photographic heritage. In this initial stage, a series of awareness workshops were held around the preventive storage of memory container albums. What I propose is to present an exhibition project that includes the relational work done with the families that joined the initiative. This installation consists of a selection of collected photographs that show the relationship of the town with the river, transcripts of testimonies, and plastic translations of the entire process.
© Paolo García Nigrinis