Photographer Patrick Zachmann devotes himself to the observation of groups of humans, as a means of questioning their identity and their culture. In this book, he rediscovers Chile, three decades after Pinochet seized power. His images of abandoned villages and derelict industries lost in the desert, which can be reached only by driving endless roads, help us understand the anxiety of the place.

Zachmann went to Chile for the first time in December 1998 and met victims of the dictatorship. In June 1999, he returned there to try this time to transcribe through photography what had so upset him. He explored the places of Chilean memory by travelling to the north, between Arica and Antofagasta, where the most arid desert in the world is located, and where he finds the contradictory traces of memory and time, on the one hand, and those of amnesia, on the other.

These are the traces of the dictatorship, but also the signs of a national amnesia that he tracks, from the Iquique desert to the national stadium of Santiago via the old detention center of Chacabuco. Between his own images, Zachmann has inserted some of the 900 photos of missing people gathered by the Association of Families of Detainees, because, he said, “forgetting is the worst gift one can give to the present”.

Signed by Patrick Zachmann

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