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México Noir

Rethinking the Dark in Contemporary Writing and Visual Culture

Erica Segre

These essays by critics, theorists and artists explore the allusive nexus of the dark in contemporary Mexican literature and visual culture. They chart the poetics of ‘negrura-oscuridad’ in creative media during decades of deepening crisis marked by the high-profile staging of atrocities, the re-emergence of an ironic noir aesthetic and the consolidation of forensically inspired art-making.

In the wake of Walter Benjamin’s ‘unfinished’ thinking structures, this volume operates through contiguous directions, transitions and regressions, incorporating images as part of the discussion of a ruinous visuality. Its polycentric mesh covers a wide range of art, writing, photography and film: from ritual uses of the ‘darksome’ and its legacies in pre-Hispanic cultures to colonial religious iconography of penitential blindness; from narco-noir in the novels of Roberto Bolaño and Yuri Herrera to techno-noir in dystopian border films; from the quotidian taxonomy of horror expurgated in art practice to the haunted ‘other darkness’ of the photographic blink. It also explores how we can contest the threat of dark ecology and ‘horrorism’ through sense expansion within new media and by positing fruitful blind spots in text and art.

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