Inter-regnum-um-um

CheLA, Buenos Aires

2019

in Schlesischer Park, Berlin; stands one of the few remaining Watch Towers used during the times of the German Democratic Republic which acted as a lookout and deterrent for those looking to cross the Berlin Wall and the surrounding ‘death strip’. on the first floor are small rectangular ventilation hatches that could be opened to aerate the Watchtower guard’s living accommodation. Since the Tower’s completion in 1977, the hatches facing towards the death strip have become sun-bleached and colour-faded.

Buenos Aires is often described as the city that has its back turned away from the Río de la Plata. – on weekend afternoons in Puerto Madero, groups of teenagers can be found rehearsing dance moves in the dark glass of the architecture along Calle Juana Manso, parallel to the docks and the Costanera Sur. Glazed fronts hide usual global corporate actors: HSBC, Starbucks and The Hilton. It is a recognisable feature of the modern, neo-liberalised city, where corporate space is simulated as public space. The street is empty of workers and sauntering security guards are oblivious to the teenager’s activities. Groups of teenagers assemble to rehearse and perform popular dance moves. Moments of choreographed movements shared by the teenagers collapse in bursts of laughter as focus is lost, leading to a breakdown in the routine. Choreography is picked up just prior to the breakdown and mistakes are corrected. The buildings perform too: screens and black mirrors allow the dancer to assess their performance as individual expression and to judge a proximity with each other.

at the western edge of Río de la Plata estuary is the Ecological Reserve at Costanera Sur. Part of this route was taken by a mysterious truck in Hugo Santiago’s 1969 film ‘Invasíon’. In Borges’ screenplay for Invasión, Buenos Aires is reconfigured as the city of Aquilea; where its liberal intelligentsia is threatened by an intangible unknown force encroaching upon the city’s edges in a disturbing premonition of Argentina’s military coup of the 1970s. Aquilea is demarcated by five frontiers: Frontera Sur, Frontera Norte & Frontera Suroeste, Frontera Nor-Noreste & Frontera Noroeste. One of films concluding acts and death of the main character takes place at La Bombenera football stadium in the district of La Boca.

in 1978 the original negatives reels for Invasíon were stolen from Alex Laboratories in Buenos Aires and the film was lost. Iterative copies of the film were later circulated. Additional subtitles were live projected and re-filmed for further informal distribution. Twenty years later a new print of Invasíon was created using a mixture of two 35mm positive prints developed from internegative reels. An internegative reel is a poor copy taken from an intermediate positive print made from the original.

sound mirrors were constructed at key points along the British coast in response to the perceived military threat of early aircraft during the latter stages of the First World War. These concave shapes (originally carved into chalk and later cast in concrete) provided a concentration of sound for an operator to record and listen to any slight changes or disturbances. In the 1970s as part of a coastal beautifying program many sound mirrors were buried.

 

Installation view
CheLA | Buenos Aires

 

Schlesischer Busch Watchtower | Auto-Luminograms (1977-2019)
‘#5 west-northwest’
Digital photographs
45cm x 30cm (six)

 

‘Tower Masks I-II’ (front)
Cut Greyboard
100cm x 55cm x 5cm

 

‘Acoustic Mirror – La Bombonera’
Clay Model on Concrete Block
Various

 

‘Calle Juana Manso Choreography’
15% Polarized Film on stretchers
110cm x 130cm

 

‘Hugo_Santiago_Invasion.1969.srt, 00:00:22,022 –> 00:0033,540’
Ink on Transparency
30cm x 36cm