Decentralized Archive

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Documenting the documentation


As a photo journalist, Astrid Jahnsen visited the Public Prosecutor's Office in Trujillo at the beginning of 2011. She attentively walked through the halls, offices and deposits provided only with a photo camera until she discovered in amazement the Decentralized Archive (place where the legal documents corresponding to judicial cases are stored) and the deposit of confiscated goods (space that stores the objects related to the legal cases).

With a journalistic and a skilled photographic curiosity, Astrid stops in these two places and goes around freely. She uses her skilled gaze and makes of the most of the camera to outline her investigation, which is not brief, like those made by reporters seeking to record a specific event; her investigation is extensive, extremely meticulous and analyses every detail. In its Decentralized Archive, Astrid shows the vague limits, both formal and conceptual, of the different photographic genres, which in this project are restricted to the documentary approach, graphic journalism and art.

Using wide-angle photographs and paying attention to every detail, Jahnsen leaves for a moment the role of a journalist to assume the role of a documentary maker. In this role she forgets the proximity of the event that recently took place and stops to look for what is behind: the story of the individual, the pain and injustice. The stories took place in a particularly violent moment of our country in which the growth of the cities, especially in the north, was marked by a period of extreme violence and criminality within a questionable and paralyzed Judicial Branch.

Therefore, there is a stronger commitment- Astrid assumes the role of the artist - where the aesthetic position, the social context and the cultural value relate to each other in order to arouse a greater interest. Furthermore, Jahnsen's Decentralized Archive illustrates this interrelation using its most photographic characteristic: the evidence. The documents and assets (including documents) found in the Public Prosecutor's Office in Trujillo form an invisible infrastructure that reflects the current social reality. Astrid's photographs (including documents) analyze such reality and highlight it, thus making the invisible, visible. Those photographs support the documentation; reevaluate the testimonials, in other words, they represent memories.

Carlos Caamaño.