68 Memorial. University Cultural Center Tlatelolco (CCUT)

Antigua sede de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, ahora Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco (CCUT), UNAM
Ciudad de México, México
Curaduría: Sergio Raúl Arroyo y Álvaro Vázquez Mantecón
Octubre 2007

The Memorial of the 68 Student Movement is a museographic installation carried out to remember the fundamental event in the country’s contemporary history. The central idea of the design is to stimulate the reflection of the meaning and the repercussions of this historic episode.

The axis of the installation is the testimonies that over 50 people presented on the development of the Movement, thus shaping a chronology starting on July 22 and ending on December 4, 1968. In addition, the installation has valuable documentary materials from cinema, television, radio, as well as several private and public archives.

With the firm intention of creating an open, integral, stimulating museography with many numerous experimental elements and as a strategic resource so that the visitor to the Memorial may form a precise vision of both the causes of the movement and of its most significant episodes, the tour is set in three thematic units —Prelude, Development and Repercussions—, in which six modules are located to present projections related to the facts that marked the development of the Movement, thus establishing a path in chronological and thematic order. At the end of the tour an area of assimilation was conceived, this area presents different materials for reference and interactive documentation to watch, read, listen, discuss or allow the visitor to express his or her experience or leave a comment.

With the purpose of understanding and integrating the space as another element of the discourse, and the aim of transmitting and participating entirely with all the cultural and political meanings that gravitate in it, the design was placed within the old passport office (access floor) and the archive (basement), adjacent to the archeological area and the Plaza de las tres culturas (Square of the Three Cultures).

Since the discourse is intertwined throughout the tour with elements that may be considered of opposing nature, as is the case of the video projections operating with a technological support that require isolation and darkness, versus the graphic work, which demands proper illumination and a more conventional space, it was decided to disarrange the orthogonal structure of the room, based on the rectangular angles of the building. The aim was to project museographic elements with a 45º twist using height variations in the screens to create in the visitor a feeling of a better space dynamic, while achieving an acoustic and light isolation in the projection areas.

To develop a better referential context and be allusive to one of the most significant achievements of the movement —“the conquest of the public space”, that accounts of an itinerary in which streets and squares are clearly an important character, and where invariably the “aesthetic of the march” is present—, the use of graphics and constructive material that refers to the textures of the urban space was decided.

Thanks to all this, the INAH (Anthropology and History National Institute) award Miguel Angel Covarrubias of Museography and Museum Research was granted for the best work in planning and open to the public museum in 2008.