TABOO: A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION - PhMuseum

TABOO: A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION

Arnau Blanch Vilageliu

2014 - Ongoing

Over two thousand people, including workers, relatives and mere observers, forced him to march 2km down the main street of the city while he was being abused and beaten. Eventually he fell unconscious to the ground. It is then that his assailants placed a rope around one of his ankles and hauled him to the central park of Atuntaqui where they tried to burn him alive but he died while he was being dragged there.

The core to this proposal are the events that took place on the 1st of July of 1965. That Thursday, the manager of the textile factory Imbabura, Josep Vilageliu Rubireta, was beaten to death by a lynch mob in the Ecuadorian city of Atuntaqui. He was my grandfather.

As time went by, the murder of Josep Vilageliu became a taboo and remains that way up to this day. Not only because reconstructing the events described by those who were present is difficult but because most of them deny being there at the time. Based on alibis that can be discredited, countless times, the individual memory is misshapen and therefore the collective memory is too. Josep Vilageliu’s taboo goes beyond Atuntaqui and its inhabitants and reaches my own family’s biography. Even though Rita Vilageliu, daughter to Josep and mother to myself, and Maria Caral, his wife and my grandmother, did not witness such a tragical event and did not suffer any personal attack they did, however, suffer psychologically and therefore, decided to move back to Spain. Since his murder, the life and death of Josep Vilageliu was crossed out and censored, becoming a forbidden subject within my family and a mystery to myself.

Taboo is a project that parts from this historical event making its way through both the history of Atuntaqui and my biography to produce, using a process of criminal investigation combined with art, a reconstruction of the incidents which includes the recovery of the past and the influence that this one has in the present.

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