For the Disappeared

Fabrica remember the 43 Mexican students still missing.

21 settembre 2015

September 26th will be the first anniversary since 43 Mexican students disappeared, after they were ambushed by the police. Fabrica will remember them with the performance “For the Disappeared”, conceived by Karen Oetling, a Mexican resident in the Social Campaigns Area.

On September 26, 2014 three busses full of students from the Escuela Normal Rural in Ayotzinapa were heading to Iguala, where the students intended to take part in the protests against an education reform. The busses were attacked by police, resulting in four students being killed and 100 arrested. 43 of them disappeared. Research has led to the discovery of mass graves with dozen of unidentified bodies, unknown victims of other attacks.

Until now, no one knows what happened to those 43 students: they have become the symbol of more than 22.000 people that have disappeared in the last 8 years, most of them during the war against drug dealers in Mexico.

One year after this tragic event, Fabrica want to remember the 43 students with a performance: 43 students from Venice universities Ca’ Foscari and IUAV will lie on the floor of the courtyard in Arterminal San Basilio and their silhouettes will be drawn by Karen Oetling, the mind behind this project. The final drawing will form the shape of Mexico and will be a permanent symbol and memory of all students that have been oppressed in the past — for us to remember, and to prevent history repeating itself.

San Basilio being a university campus seems a fitting location to remember those students. With terraces surrounding the area the public will be able to see an outline of Mexico from above. Finally, the campus stands in front of “The Bridges of Graffiti”, a collateral event of Venice Biennale organized by Inossidabile, a cultural association that organized also “For the Disappeared”.

Born in 1990 in Guadalajara, Mexico, Karen Oetling graduated from a BA of Design at ITESO in 2012. She studied in London, at Central Saint Martins and exhibited her artworks in Mexico, Taiwan, United States, Italy and Bosnia. Since 2014 she has been a resident in Fabrica’s Social Campaigns Area.