Nonoalco-Tlatelolco was the last in a cluster of housing projects designed by Pani for the state that materialized his patron’s conditional hospitality, especially with regard to the controlled conviviality envisioned among its 70,000 planned residents. Although it was promoted as a “city apart from the city” that suggested it was built on tabula rasa, Pani design drew from the informal housing he sought to displace and residents would eventually restore traditional forms of encounter and exchange as well as introduce new forms. Taking cues from the 68 Movement’s spatial imagination and fellow narrators’ phenomenological and affective accounts, Poniatowska’s La Noche de Tlatelolco and Fons’s Rojo amanecer reactivate Tlatelolco’s palimpsest and uncanny qualities. The October 2 massacre revealed the violent and unjust structures that lay behind the complex’s modern surfaces and the PRI’s hospitality. Both Poniatowska’s anthology of testimonies and Fons’s film would emphasize space and the body as key sites for knowing and memory, including the bodies and locations of their audiences. The aim is not mere aesthetic shock or the defamiliarization of spectatorship but an ethical implication to bear witness in spite of geographic or temporal distance.
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