35 MM

On July 18, 1994, a bomb destroyed the Isreali-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) building, killing eighty-four persons –members of the institution, employees and passersby– and leaving a deep mark on both the Jewish community and Argentine society in general. Despite the many manifestations of good will on the part of successive governments and despite the actions of the Justice Department, there is still no clarification of what happened and those responsible for the attack remain free.

The Jewish mutual institution, dedicates its activities to works of social solidarity, cultural diffusion and service to the Jewish community. Its building contained a library, historical archives on the Jewish presence in this country, marriage registers, death certificates, and other records and documents of diverse types intrinsic to its functions.

Following the recovery and removal of human remains, the remains of the destroyed building were loaded onto 300 trucks and thrown as landfill alongside the River Plate, in an area of the city of Buenos Aires’ riverbank then being expanded toward the north, between the University Campus in Nuñez and the river itself.

Representatives of Jewish community institutions spent several months going through the rubble, and successfully salvaged a few documents of historical value. Some time later, the remains of the AMIA were forgotten.

William Tucker was the first artist to come to Buenos Aires to study the installation of “Victoria” (“Victory”), his sculpture chosen in the contest by the panel of judges. We carried out a slow survey of the terrain. Searching out the best position for his sculpture, we considered how the light fell and how the wind blew across the brush and urban rubble. We sat down to chat a while. A piece of black granite called my attention. It had etched engravings on it, certain fragmentary inscriptions, some shaped like the angles or the vertices of a triangle…

For months, I’d been photographing the rubble scattered out there on that land. It was where the remnants of the AMIA building had been deposited. I knew those fragments would disappear once the pieces for the Parque de la Memoria (Memory Park) were installed, and I was interested in keeping the AMIA remnants from being forgotten. I had already found loose pieces of film, parts of destroyed automobiles, bits of masonry…

But what I found when I was with Tucker was different. What we had before us was the remainder of the AMIA’s black granite façade.

>>> See William Tucker’s letter to Marcelo Brodsky (Spanish)