After seeing the pictures of the files of the police circulating hand to hand, I wanted to photograph some real files myself. With the help of the Human Rights Organizations’ lawyers, who had spent years going through them as they searched for evidence, I was able to request and receive permission, from the General Secretary of the Federal Criminal Court in Buenos Aires, to photograph the files of the trials against the military rulers (Juicio a las Juntas, 1984).
The small room contains – piled up in an order that only a few experts know to interpret – all the legal proceedings carried out in the courtrooms of the city of Buenos Aires that responded to claims of violations of liberty, individual rights and physical well being suffered by thousands of Argentines at the hands of State terrorism.
Stacks of habeas corpus files, in alphabetical order, each one presented in the hope of finding a son, a father or a brother alive. Steps taken to no avail, proceedings that have ended without providing an answer and that now have come to rest stored on the shelves.
Bodies stacked high. Impounded books. Trial investigations grouped by the names of sinister places: Banco, Olimpo, Vesubio, ESMA (Navy School of Mechanics). Names we recognize from an ad in Página 12 (a newspaper), from a list, from a memorial or a monument, names of friends, of brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, converted into files with a number and registration code, in trials that did not end the way they should have: with the guilty behind bars.
The simple sobriety of the Archive keeps its secrets as yet undivulged.
Its rickety shelves and office binders watch as their contents pass little by little from the hands of lawyers to those of historians.
THE ARCHIVES: INTELLIGENCE