Colectivo Acciones de Arte: An Interdisciplinary Study of the Art Actions of CADA

Master's Thesis


In 1979, in the violent wake of one of the most traumatic events in Chilean history, the coup d'état of 1973, poet Raúl Zurita, novelist Diamela Eltit, visual artists Lotty Rosenfeld and Juan Castillo, and sociologist Fernando Balcells founded the performance art group Colectivo Acciones de Arte, commonly known as CADA. Their radical performances or ‘art actions’ disrupted civic order as effected by state terror, reacting against the pseudo-normalcy that Chilean subjects had been coerced to accept as legitimate. CADA broke the silence of a society made passive and arguably complicit in their subjection to state terror by the regime’s implementation of violent coercive mechanisms: tortures, mass killings, kidnappings, disappearances, etc. Applying trauma theory in this analysis of CADA’s art actions, I argue that these public interventions essentially promoted the development of a social discourse that would mediate between the official ‘truth’ proposed by General Augusto Pinochet’s authoritarian regime and a truth generated from below, from the margins of Chilean culture, from the people, those exposed to hunger, poverty, brutal repression, alienation, and other oppressive realities. This investigation takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of CADA’s work, drawing from the literature in the fields of social psychology, sociology, and political science, among others, in order to develop the argument that, as a social movement, CADA’s art actions promoted democratization and may have even had a therapeutic effect on those who participated in CADA’s collective action project No +.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04252012-041700

Author Hilal Omar Al Jamal
Advisor Ben Heller
Contributor Ben Heller, Committee Member
Contributor Thomas Anderson, Committee Member
Contributor Kristine Ibsen, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Romance Languages and Literatures
Degree Name Master of Arts
Defense Date
  • 2012-04-20

Submission Date 2012-04-25
  • United States of America

  • art

  • Colectivo

  • Scene

  • Terror

  • Actions

  • Uncanny

  • Simulacra

  • Social Action

  • de

  • Study

  • Juan Castillo

  • performance

  • Lotty

  • Action

  • Interdisciplinary

  • Social Movements

  • Dictatorship

  • escena

  • Arte

  • Inversion

  • Art

  • No

  • Diamela

  • Raúl

  • Eltit

  • Fernando Balcells

  • avanzada

  • Collective

  • graffiti

  • violence

  • Siumlation

  • Therapy

  • Zurita

  • Rosenfeld

  • street

  • CADA. Trauma

  • Acciones

  • +

  • Inversión

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units

Digital Object Identifier


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