Political Equator IV Buenos Aires, Argentina

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The haudenschild Garage is collaborating with architect  from UCSD’s Center for Urban Ecologies, Alejandro Meitin of and  Mauricio Corbalan of on the 4 taking place outside of , Argentina (2013-2014). Events with visiting artists and the public took place from July 11 to July 26, 2014.

The Political Equator meetings began as a special collaboration between the haudenschildGarage (Eloisa Haudenschild) and UCSD (Steve Fagin and Teddy Cruz) in 2006. The Political Equator has taken the form of nomadic urban actions and dialogues involving the public and communities, oscillating across diverse sites and stations between San Diego and Tijuana. These conversations on the move take place outside the institutions and inside the actual sites of conflict, enabling the audience to be both witness and participant while producing new models of urban pedagogy towards citizen action. The meetings seek to amplify the cultural imagination of marginal communities, and the impact of their generative socio-economic and political knowledge in the rethinking of existing exclusionary urban policy. The Political Equator unfolds around a series of public works, performances and walks traversing these conflicting territories and serving as an evidentiary platform to re-contextualize debates and conversations about local and global conflicts across environmental, socio-economic and political domains.

The Political Equator 4 will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is co-curated by Alejandro Meitin of Ala Plastica, Maurico Corbalan of M7Red and Teddy Cruz from UCSD’s Center for Urban Ecologies.  Continuing the debate opened by Political Equator 3, exposing the conflicts between geo-political borders, urban-ecological networks and marginal communities, the Political Equator 4 will engage similar conditions in Argentina. The Buenos Aires event will amplify local River Basins as Trans-border Laboratories to reimagine global environmental and public policy. The haudenschildGarage has enabled the first stage towards this event, taking place in 2013, comprising a strategic preliminary research period, which will yield a series of Cartographies of regional interfaces between river basins, urban ecosystems and specific marginal communities in the periphery of Buenos Aires.

– Teddy Cruz

 

 The River Plate Basin (where Buenos Aires, Argentina is the largest city and its last standpoint) is specifically challenging because it has become a laboratory to observe, for example, the dynamics of the global food crisis as a result of the large-scale exploitation of resources in this region over the past decades. This situation has brought to the region (and mostly to the small and medium scale cities along the basin) new geopolitical possibilities and uncertainties. There are institutional plans and projects testing the controversial Hidrovia Paraguay Parana which is expected to link the cities of Sao Paulo, Brazil and Buenos Aires in order to test potential connections with other mega-regions like the Chinese manufacturing cities along the Pearl River (Shanghai, China).

The role of the basin as a global provider of mineral and food commodities for Asian countries is reconfiguring the whole region which contains cities with large, urban metropolis areas like Buenos Aires, but also is empowering medium size cities like Curitiba, Brazil or Rosario, Argentina which have developed new sustainable approaches to urban conflicts.

The Tijuana estuary and the River Plate basin are connected beyond their different sizes, both embody basins as an “entanglement” of spheres which were seen not long ago as separated fields: environment, politics and technology. These “entanglements” are framing the conditions in which these large-scale experiments are taking place.  The River Plate basin is a unique mega-region where many types of actors and institutional drivers operate in the same field. Although this presents synergistic opportunities, the complex geopolitical scenario creates many controversial situations.

Extractive networks and resource logistics are materially redistributing the ecology of the basin. The basin is connected with other distant regions (such as genetically modified crops to Asia and Europe, biofuels to the US, and energy between the countries of the region). But these dynamics also have consequences: migrations, forced re-localizations and new population settlements. These controversies are creating renewed connections between the local and the global, mutually influencing them and scaling the regions to a new geopolitical role. The basin in itself is a powerful visualization process of how borders are redistributed today.

Political Equator 4 (ECUADOR POLITICO 4) is an extraordinary platform to visualize the basins as new laboratories for trans-border regionalization and “environmental governance.” ECUADOR POLITICO 4 will be a platform to develop visualization tools for these complex scenarios by interacting with their stakeholders, amplifying their voices and promoting these tools and actions to extend a new environmental and geopolitical imagination. For the next edition of the Political Equator, we propose to adopt the format of an “itinerant research platform.” The research will be divided in stages that will be set up in cities representative of the most controversial scenarios of the basin.

Fellow researchers will be invited to explore conflicts and controversies along the proposed itinerary. The researchers will connect along the basin to produce insights, hold interviews and prepare reports about the specific issues on the proposed scenarios and will take part in meetings with local representatives traveling across enclaves and scenarios of the “Cuenca del Plata.” This itinerary will conclude with a final meeting in Buenos Aires where the teams will share and discuss their experiences along with their research.

– Ala Plastica+ m7red
Buenos Aires/La Plata, Argentina

For more information visit: http://cuencaslab.wordpress.com and their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ecuador-Politico-Nodo-Sur