Martha Rosler. Chile on the Road to NAFTA, 1997, 10:46 min, color, sound.
b. Brooklyn, New York, 1943.
Rosler creates a kind of whirling music-video burlesque to offer icons and reminders of the conjunction in Chile of U.S. corporate presence, popular musical strains, and victims of political terror. Chile, at the southernmost end of South America, is on the fast track to admission into the economic alliance known as the North American Free-Trade Agreement. In the globalizing economy, Chile has been hailed as a miracle of economic development, but in view of its recent history of political repression, this news provokes a certain amount of skepticism. Rather than lapsing into a political tract, Rosler presents visuals that include a gigantic upraised fist that turns out to be a Coke billboard; warships; and a cemetery memorial. Music includes a Star Wars suite played by the band of the repressive National Police; a blind street singer, and folk musicians. The video’s drive-by style suggests the thematic backdrop of tourism and internationalizing elites versus the indigenous poor. For those whose historical memory needs jogging, a short epilogue details the 1973 coup and its aftermath.