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Panoramic of Santiago, Chile: city of metaphors, rhythms of the

The combination of the photographs exhibited can be synthesized recognizing the basis of their visual project. That is, a panoramic research centered in Santiago, Chile, not as the core of power but as the emplacement on the landscape. Consequently, the proposal of Fernando Rosa, conceals a concern for the urban symbolic design: what is a young city, a metropolis? How is its landscape structured? What symbolic matrixes organize its vital poles?


The response to these concerns conforms specific photographic typologies. The visual formulations are supported by two confirmations: the first, perseverance in the order and the rhythms that frame the horizontal and vertical expansions by means of  highways, streets, high-rises, transportation, etc.; the second, the reiteration from an overview gaze that ruptures the stereotypes that have been woven in the representation  of the capital of Chile, decentering its prestigious sites. In other words, this rigorous documentary photographic exercise is part of a postmodern scanning, because it emphasizes above all the surface of the landscape, intervened as a continuum. It is also a methodology of observation, but particularly of tension, where the ideological perspectives of modernity constrained in the relationships between center/periphery are being erased and now visual fields that displace and superimpose as sedimentation and urban hybridism become organized; where suburbs as well as the historical center take on an equal protagonist role.

These photographs retain the definition by Marc Riboud about setting itself up in preserved moments that testify a city in transformation, where geometry delivers an ordered common matrix, facing the chaos of the vanishing points present in a live and strongly contradictory city.  

Virilio says that photography brings nearer, with an image, a new perception of the landscape. Really, if we remember that landscape is an idea or a point of view about geography, going from the valley of Santiago towards the urban constituents that make them up today, the photographies are a final modeled finishing of multiple fragments. In summary, a synoptic vision that groups and a synthetic vision that focalizes on the rhythmic.

We must also keep in mind that the corpus of photographs we observe presents an incessant energetic multiplicity that, opening towards the world, it dispersively organizes new “micro landscapes”. Thus, in the burroughs, in the corners, where the crowds gather, left, right and center, far and wide, dislocated and individual identities are being built and expressed that, moreover, mixed sign of the popular culture as well as of the standardized culture. In the end, the micro landscapes establish a renewed authentic urban category and appropriation of the scenery. Nonetheless, the almost complete absence of persons makes these captured scenes and spaces a history and a compressed memory. In spite that the stroller as in the Benjamin photography transforms the changeability of the city into beauty, this does not occur in Fernando Rosas’s work. Because the images of this author metaphorically aspire to be “a scenography of the emptiness of progress” but symbols of a lustrous dehumanization. Anyway, demolishing overviews of so much mistreated loss of sense: of public space, of beauty, where human beings only want to be an integral part of the scenery of their city, of the day to day and the dreams.


Dr. Gonzalo Leiva Quijada

Académico/Investigador, Instituto de Estética, PUC de Chile


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