How can we explore the creative processes behind our different voices? Can the popular media of podcasts and short films assist the political process of constitution-making? How can we tell the history of Chile’s social movements from the perspective of the objects that shaped them?
On 25 October 2020 Chileans voted by a large majority in a referendum to abolish its Constitution and to elect a new Constitutional Assembly, whose 155 members were elected on 11 April 2021. These people then had nine months to design a new constitution which was presented to another referendum in 2022, where citizens choose either the old or new versions.
In a previous ‘Sound Stories’ Knowledge Exchange collaboration in 2020, Muchamedia and Matthew Brown produced El Estallido de las Cosas / The Burst of Things, a six-part podcast available in both Spanish and English which tells the history of Chile’s social movements from the perspective of the objects that shaped them: the saucepans that were banged in the streets, the yellow vests worn by protesters, the turnstile that was vaulted over by students refusing to pay fares, the face masks worn on marches and the safe house that observed these tumultuous events. The final episode, published in same week as the referendum in October, was Constitutional Therapy. (The Border Podcast)
What did the project involve?
In this project, Constitutional Therapy, the researchers wanted to transform the final episode of the podcast into a physical performance and short-film, so that its insights and impact could be felt more broadly across Chile during this crucial time. The project sought to share it with the constitutional assembly members in order to enrich their discussions with the emotional and cultural history of constitution-making.
Constitutional Therapy tells the story of Chile’s Constitution as it undergoes psychological therapy, where through a series of regressions it eventually locates the origins of its trauma: in an authoritarian, dictatorial and exclusionary past, which it has to confront in order to be able to turn the page and begin a new life.
Who are the team and what do they bring?
- Matthew Brown (Latin American Studies, University of Bristol) is a historian who works across the fields of languages and cultures leading interdisciplinary projects with applied findings to policy and shaping of public opinions. His previous projects include ‘Bringing Memories in from the Margins’ exploring marginalised communities in Colombia and ‘The Quipu Project’ a transmedia documentary, film, and archive about the unconsented sterilisations in 1990s Peru.
- Maria Court is a documentary maker, producer and academic. She develops transmedia projects and interactive strategies with audio-visual content. She is co-director of the Quipu Project.
- Muchamedia are a team that produces documentaries, transmedia projects, and communication and project advice focused on digital and immersive platforms. They put the user at the centre of the experience. They tell stories across multiple platforms, blending narrative, design, and technology to create a positive social impact. Muchamedia’s website. Muchamedia’s Instagram.
What were the results?
The output of Constitutional Therapy was a short-film of around 8 minutes in length. The short film allowed the team to promote the El estallido de las cosas podcast and enabled more people to listen to it and reflect emotionally and critically about the events of 2020. Furthermore, it allowed the team to support the national reflection about the constitution-making process, which was an epoch-marking period that could have signalled the transition from the constitution of Pinochet’s dictatorship, written in 1980, to a new democratic culture after 2022.
The short-film was launched in April 2021, to support the popular election of the 155 people who were chosen to write Chile’s new constitutional text, over half of whom were women. It was launched online, and promoted through the team’s social media team.
Below is the trailer for “The Burst of Things” and “Where Are We Standing?” the product of this transmedia project that mixes a podcast, a short film and an interactive platform, created by Border Podcast.
Below is a presentation produced by Mucha Media with members of the creative team discussing the audio series and video.
“In this presentation we will share the creative process behind the production of the audio series, The Burst of Things, that tells the history of Chile’s social movements from the perspective of the objects that shaped them: the saucepans that were banged in the streets, the yellow vests worn by protesters, the turnstile that was vaulted over by students refusing to pay fares, the face masks worn on marches, and a unique interview at a retired Police Weapons Rehabilitation Centre. The final episode, Constitutional Therapy, saw the current Chilean Constitution (created in the middle of General Pinochet’s dictatorship) decide to heal its past and go to therapy.”
An overview and summary of the produced film can be found here on FilmFreeway.
Matthew Brown and Maria Court are co-writing a summary of the project that will be released May 2023. Watch this page for future updates and outcomes.