CheLA | Buenos Aires
‘Tower Masks I-II’ (front)
100cm x 55cm x 5cm
‘Calle Juana Manso Choreography’
15% Polarized Film on stretchers
110cm x 130cm
CheLA, Buenos Aires
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.