Estefaní Mercedes’ on-going project “Luz del Dia: Copyrighting the Light of Day” seeks to restore missing violent histories, namely actions surrounding the Argentine Dirty War. Her research-based practice coupled with her personal history creates situations in which violence is given space to be remembered and simultaneously transcended, rather than fetishized, in the hope of finding reconciliation with the past.
Through radical justice, investigating copyright law and film photography, Mercedes hopes to restore missing violent histories, turning the archive into legend. Mercedes has a research-based practice that intersects law and social justice, and all of her work is in connection to the history of the Argentine dictatorship (1976-1983). By building publically accessible photographic archives, Mercedes hopes to restore silenced voices. Mercedes’ work constantly questions the purity of the documentary image, the singularity of memory, the purpose of the archive.
Mercedes was a 2016 Art and Law Fellow and a 2017 Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) Fellow at the Bronx Museum of Arts in New York. In 2017, Mercedes won the Light Work Grant and the Open Society Grant for documentary images. Mercedes also teaches “How to Use Art as a Political Tool” and “Law as Form (and Why it Should be Female),” and she lives and works across the Americas.
Description of Artwork: “Isabel,” 18x18 inches, inkjet on archival paper, 2017 – another of the altered 3,338 archival images and also a scanned negative. Two images are layered together: one is of the “anti-terrorist” police force during the dictatorship, and the other is of Isabel Peron, the president of Argentina before the dictatorship who was believed to be responsible for the first 100 disappearances.