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Designer: Jella van Eck
Collaboration: We Are Human Rights


Afterimage is the result of the collaboration between Jella and Lucia. Together they looked into the visual representation of the problem of enforced disappearances in Mexico.

Issue

Enforced disappearances in Mexico have received a lot of media coverage nationally and internationally. However, they fail to create the impact and engagement that is urgently needed. The reason for this is either because these formats feel like fiction, or maybe because they seem too far away. Memorials and documentaries often don’t raise the question: What if it was me or my family members that would disappear suddenly and unexplainably?

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proposal

Jella’s proposal is a new film format that aims to show that both the disappeared person and their communities are victims. Jella shifts the focus away from the blurry passport aesthetic, which is typically associated with the media coverage of this problem. She intends to create a ‘negative’ portrait, which reconstructs life before the person disappeared and to contrast that with the transformation and adaptation that follow their disappearance. With the project the designer aims to redefine the way this issue is communicated, and thus to make it more impactful, away from the spectacle of headlines and frontline images.

Next step: prototype

She will develop this format during a field research in Mexico. As a trial, Jella and Lucia will script the film about her son, Diego. Additionally, she will investigate visual styles to find the most suitable possibilities.

Background

Lucia is a human rights defender from Mexico. She is shedding light on enforced disappearances by exposing the inaction of the authorities and supporting families of the victims. She has founded a non-profit organisation, which is contributing to bringing justice for the disappeared and their families. Their main effort is in actively seeking and uncovering clandestine graves, as a response to the lack investigation by the authorities.

 

‘I use objects and relationships to show the voids that victims leave behind in a community’

‘I use objects and relationships to show the voids that victims leave behind in a community’

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