Lecumberri: un palacio lleno de historia. The missing transcripts of the criminal case represent one level of archival absence; the missing instruments represent another. It first appeared as a non-championship event in before being held as a championship event from and What about them is particularly seductive? Was she caught in flagrante delictoor did rumors about her merely circulate until they reached the ears of colonial authorities?

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To browse Academia. Skip to main content. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. The Black Archive. Penitentiary and Archival Operations in Lecumberri Palace.

The Black Archive Penitentiary and Archival Operations in Lecumberri Palace1 ABSTRACT Even though the legitimizing intents of both the modern penitentiary and the archive—the latter understood as the physical deposit of memory—are radically different, could the principles central to their founding discourses and eventual consequences be similar? Opened in , Lecumberri Palace is, in the morphological sense, a modern penitentiary, the material result of an Occidentalization of dominant discourse.

During its lifetime it has housed both types of institutions. These wings fanned out from a central area once occupied by an imposing steel tower erected as a watch post for the observation of everything that happened in the palace. Its components were all laid out in a way that made its occupants feel constantly observed. The physical outcome of a structure built from an architectural plan that intended to maximize systematic operations and practices, as well as a particular kind of discourse, was the establishment of a specific place.

It thus excludes the possibility of two things being in the same location place. Thus space is composed of intersections of mobile elements. However, said materiality contributed to, but did not define the practices that would make this place a space. This distinction is important because years later, Lecumberri is generally perceived as a failed penitentiary space. Specifically, Lecumberri the penitentiary place was designated as the home of new and presumably different practices and operations: those of the General National Archive AGN , a penitentiary place turned into an archival space.

Despite having been home to two distinct spaces: A penitentiary space and an archival space, the Black Palace of Lecumberri remains to this day the same place.

Borrowing from Foucault, as a penitentiary it can be understood as part of a network of institutions technologies that all carry out certain activities to achieve the same goal: discipline. I will refer to archive as the place that becomes the materiality implicit in the domiciliation that, in his view, the concept and operation of archive requires. This physicality also makes it possible to understand the palace as a place both of origin and mandate arkhe of the institution AGN.

That is to say, it is the place of residence of a certain memory, the domiciliation thereof. It is from this secretive quality that the need for physical enclosure of the archive is derived. We can understand Lecumberri to be the circumscription, or in some cases, the object of certain operations typical of the aforementioned spaces. The first operation, that of justifying, is presumed to have equal importance in both spaces.

In the case of the penitentiary, the promise was the building of a space capable of taking in individuals sentenced as criminals by the system and reforming them so that, after serving their sentence, they would be handed back to society as redeemed individuals. The AGN makes the same promise. That is to say, it promises a future better than the current one but does so through a discourse in which the operation of classifying and determining which memories should be safeguarded guarantees the impossibility of a forgetting that could 6 For purposes of comparison, I will call archons the guardians of both spaces: the penitentiary and the archive.

The concept of archon comes from Derrida as those who are guardians of the material repository of the objects, to whom hermeneutic rights and power over these objects are granted. It also holds that these operations, which seek to avoid forgetting, are characteristic of civilized societies. Both justification operations are similar in the sense that Lecumberri-penitentiary and Lecumberri-archive justified their existence through a discourse centered on a promise for the future.

However, as an institution the AGN justified its being located in what was formerly a black penitentiary under a second promise of redeeming the place. And this is precisely where the questioning starts. This reason must also be understood as instrumental reason, the particular instance of reasoning that as an instrument of dominion best allows us to dominate nature human nature included as described by T. Adorno and Max Horkheimer in Dialectic of the Enlightment, to which Foucault makes a brief reference in the just cited work.

Derrida, Hence the operations that I will deal with—those that I consider as belonging to both spaces—of confining, enclosing, classifying and monitoring—are analyzed in each of the spaces with the intent of determining whether they are really that different. This will lead to what I propose is the failure of both spaces.

Or, in the words of Michel de Certeau, how the tactics of subjects in a space, and within the strategies implemented, never allow them to accomplish their purpose. So I pose the question: Is it possible for this archive fever which according to Derrida makes the archive always work against itself while also enabling the concept of the archive to exist to find a home in another context?

Does such a thing as penitentiary fever exist? And if it does exist, what does it have in common with archive fever? The project for the first penitentiary ended up in the hands of Antonio Torres Torrija.

At odds with a law stipulating that the penitentiary was to be built in accordance with the Auburn system, he based the concept for the penitentiary on the Croffton system and its design was modeled on the Panopticon penitentiaries conceived by Jeremy Bentham. The design was presented to the governor of the Federal District in December , and construction began in May Five years and more than two million pesos later, the Lecumberri Penitentiary was formally inaugurated by Mexican President Porfirio Diaz on September 29, They would be prepared for freedom through programs involving conditional or preparatory release.

The opening of the New Federal District Penitentiary in brought the discharge of all convicts in Lecumberri. The immediate plan was for the facility to be demolished and for all the steel that lined the walls of its cells to be sold off. The penitentiary would then be transformed into a park named Alameda Poniente.

In January of the same year, the newspaper Excelsior published an interview with Universidad Nacional history professor Eduardo Blanquel, who opposed the demolition of the building.

He proposed turning the building into a criminology museum, claiming that the 15 Ibid. Madero,20 and the imprisonment of political dissidents, in addition to other crimes. This institution had been in search of a new home in which all its collections, then scattered throughout Mexico, could be centralized.

On May 27, , following a process of architectural adaptation, Lecumberri Palace was re-opened as an archive. These complaints were welcomed by groups whose police-related interests favored the complete demolition of the building. Italics are mine. To do away with Lecumberri meant, as if by magic, to do away with repression.

Academics and intellectuals began to forge a rhetoric that play a part in stopping the demolition and was later consolidated with a plan to assign a new use to the penitentiary building to ensure its preservation. The result was a redemptive discourse, similar in its properties to the discourse of El Tiempo that had originally justified the creation of the palace.

Now the possible salvation of that building, which represented the failure of a nineteenth-century system, would come about thanks to the activities that the building would house in the future. The justification of the project that of turning a penitentiary into an archive sought to establish a binary 26 Manrique, If before it had oppressed, it should now provide freedom.

The palace that held the worst of society would now hold the best. If Lecumberri had been a place of forgetting, it would now be one of remembrance. Destruction was a way of trying to turn that which is dark into light by erasing it, and that was why the mere possibility of demolishing the penitentiary had become the real crime—here the reader can insert all kinds of ironies and similes—as the death of the building should not be its punishment.

Now not only the building, but the actual concept of Lecumberri were considered a crime, and in light of the discourse under which the penitentiary was built, it should now be saved. Within the promise included in the reason that led to its construction was the argument in favor of its salvation. If modern society had left behind the barbarism that imposed death as a form of punishment, then Lecumberri should be reformed as were its former prisoners.

And what better reformatory process than to convert this object of repression, oppression and forgetting into one of freedom, promise and memory. In the interior courtyards windows would open and bars would be removed. Everything that represented repression and punishment would be taken away. Through all of this we wanted to say that, instead of the blackness and repression of the former penitentiary, the new—old—archive would exude light and freedom.

This would be the new and promising symbol of the General National Archive. In short, we would replace operations that made Lecumberri a grim place, a place of detention, repression, discrimination, and oppression, with an institution whose operations were the exact opposite. If the penitentiary detains, the archive enables. Whereas one represses, the other disseminates.

While the Mexico City Penitentiary discriminated and oppressed, the AGN would catalogue and restore, helping to safeguard the future of the nation. How quickly we had forgotten that redemptive promise embodied in the concept of the penitentiary!

I think this is a valid question in light of the fact that the whole replacement plan was largely based on an alleged dichotomy in which future practices in the archive would serve to redeem past penitentiary practices.

Hence the strangest of strange is the possibility that all existing rationale on which the operation to redeem Lecumberri was based actually hid, or perhaps even favored, a continuation of a number of disciplinary operations: locking up, enclosure, cataloguing or classification, and guarding—the reasons for which Lecumberri was originally opened as a penitentiary.

An icy silence followed and then we saw him sit in his usual place and put his head in his hands, sobbing silently. Two of the dead were his best friends. It refers to a confinement, a detention and, therefore, the need for a place in which to perform this operation. Who are those detained and where are they held?

Convicts have their place in penitentiaries, the insane in asylums, monks in monasteries and cloisters. But do memory and archives fit into this discussion? The first objection—the easiest in regards to the comparison between convicts and memory, embodied in our case by the material that the AGN archives—concerns the subject-object categories.

That is to say, we should not be able to compare a convict, a subject, with a document, an object. So far so good, but allow us to entertain the following notion: The process of turning individuals into convicts entails losing that which made them subjects.

In other words, a penitentiary is a place destination for bodies that were determined to be useless by a disciplinary system where value is in the final utility of bodies, and the ability to know and master said bodies to later be able to use and profit from them. Among formulas of domination, we are most interested in those that exist among the disciplines, on the one hand, and slavery and asceticism on the other.

Slavery is based on domination through the appropriation of bodies. The system is not intended for the appropriation of bodies as in the case of slavery, or for dominance through the ability to determine the requirements for asceticism.

Its purpose is the mastery of the body though its transformation into a tool, into a useful subject. In a process of disciplinary distribution, the penitentiary is a place for those bodies that were found to be disobedient and worthless, and its spatial function is to re-train and re-discipline them so that they might once again be of use.

The subject that existed, that is to say the disobedient and useless subject, must be deleted if we want to eventually create a new one. To accomplish this, those who are sent archived?



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Lecumberri: un palacio lleno de historia

Lecumberri: un palacio lleno de historia. September 1, at 1: The code has three basic parts: When it is fetishized, the archive is more llemo the repository of traces of the past which may be used in its inferential reconstruction. From its ranks have come designers palavio have managed to project internationally as Alexia Ulibarri, Lydia Lavin, Alejandra Quesada and Alejandro Carlin. OCLC is a non-profit library cooperative, made up of thousands of member libraries throughout the world. Hisotria did the politics of denunciation play themselves out, and who initially denounced her? Their true potential lies in us taking seriously their invitation to rethink the very nature of desire in the past, as well as the ways that sex enters the archive in the first place. Arondekar critiques the practices of those who purport to use colonial archives to rescue and recover the lost voices of historical subjects through purportedly unmediated access to the past.

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