A double bill followed by a panel discussion that considers the debate over artifacts, cultural property and historical stewardship in Mesoamerica. In Paradox (2001, 30 min.) Leandro Katz alternates between static views of the stone altar of the mythic Dragon of Quiriguá in Guatemala and imagery of controversial labor practices at nearby banana plantations. Jesse Lerner and Sandra Rozental’s documentary La piedra ausente (The Absent Stone, 2013, 82 min.) recounts the fate of the largest carved stone monolith of the Americas, which represented the pre-Hispanic water deity. When moved in 1964 from San Miguel Coatlinchan to Mexico City’s National Anthropology Museum, the extraction sparked a local rebellion. The stone eventually became an urban monument and altogether different icon of Mexican identity, while back in Coatlinchan, replicas of the absent stone appear everywhere, still resonant in the community’s memory.
In person: Mariana Botey, Jesse Lerner, Sandra Rozental and others