Södertälje Konsthall, Canto General, 2024

The Carnage System

Many relatives and friends of those who rest in Memorial del Detenido Desaparecido y Ejecutado Político (The Memorial of the Detained, Disappeared, and Politically Executed) in Santiago, Chile no longer live in the country because they were forced into exile during Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1989). My mother, Margarita Soto Salinas, knows many of them. When she is there, she places carnations at her father's and friends' graves. Then, she takes a picture of the flower and the grave to send to family and friends. Similarly, her friends and relatives send a picture of a carnation in front of her father's grave, Hernán Soto Gálvez, when she cannot be there.
In the days leading up to the 50th anniversary, we went to Memorial del Detenido Desaparecido y Ejecutado Político and placed a carnation at each grave together. We took photos and sent the pictures to everyone she knew.
Like those buried in the memorial, the red carnation is a collective symbol of the struggle for revolutionary freedom and a remedy against oblivion. By leaving flowers and documenting them, we remember the coup and the fates of relatives and friends.