hG, Spare Parts: A Crime Has Many Stories in Buenos Aires

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Monica Jovanovich-Kelley: Daily Dispatches from

This is an account of the hG, project which took place in Buenos Aires on November 29, 2008 written from the perspective of Monica Jovanovich-Kelley, Managing Director of the haudenschild Garage

I arrived in Buenos Aires the morning of the 21st to a bustling city and heat bordering on stifling. Eloisa would arrive the following morning and Steve, Wednesday morning. Little did we know how many “stories” were waiting for us in the days leading up to our event on Saturday the 29th…

Nov 21 FRIDAY – “Everything’s lost”
Around midnight, I received a phone call from , one of our artists involved in the project who I was meeting in the morning with curator Sonia Becce. Rosalba had been in Buenos Aires, a transplant Tucuman, for the last two months working in a rented loft on Paseo Colon. She had just finished her project (slowly painting the walls, furniture, etc of her apartment with her experience of the city) but through a horrible turn of events Friday afternoon, her place caught fire and burned completely. Nothing was left of her work or of the loft, in her words “there’s been a terrible accident, everything’s lost.” Luckily they were able to escape unharmed and with a video camera but with little else.

So now we needed to not only help them recover from the fire but also find a new space for her and push forward with another manifestation of her project “La despedida escrita en el espejo”…

Nov 22 SATURDAY – Mapas y Chorizos
After trouble shooting the problem of Rosalba in the morning, Eloisa, Rita, Alejandro and I went to the opening of Fundacion PROA’s new building in La Boca. Around the corner, just two blocks from Boca Junior’s stadium, La Bombonera, is and we stopped by to say hello and check on the progress of our catalogs and survival kits. is a literary collective who publishes stories by well known Latin American authors and makes their 5 to 10 peso books from recycled cardboard bought from the cartoneros. What we saw was very impressive and added another layer to the project. Next door is the pizzeria who will cater the event’s closing party – 1000 chorizos and 1000 empandas! This pizzeria is the same who feed the thousands of fans who walk by on their way to La Bombonera…

Nov 25 TUESDAY – In the forecast for Saturday: Soccer and Rain
Today we had multiple meetings from our “home base” at Malba’s cafe. We first saw Alejandro to go over the logistics of the reading and closing party in La Boca. We had hoped to close down one of the streets and set up a small stage for the reading of Cucurto’s commissioned story, El Hijo. But Alejandro came with the news that a lat minute soccer game had been scheduled for Saturday at La Bombonera and 40,000 people were going to be walking through our exact location. We were told that if the police saw a stage set up they would demand it be taken down immediately as we didn’t have the proper permits at the moment. Luckily, Alejandro knew what to do and looked at it positively – this soccer match closed the streets of La Boca down for us. We now only had to think about how deal with the stage problem…

After Alejandro, Eloisa and I met with Ana Goldman and Guadalupe Requena of Malba to look at the auditorium where we will begin the event and show Piglia’s video. Amparo and Teo Discoli, a brother and sister team, with their associate Francisca Mancini met us later that afternoon to go over our press plans for the project. Later, Juan Cruz from the video company Ahorita Nomas stopped by to have a meeting to go over our video needs for Saturday.

Nov. 26 WEDNESDAY – Spaghetti in La Boca
Eloisa Cartonera invited all of us over for a spaghetti lunch. One of the members, La Osa, had proudly made special t-shirts for us and over lunch we talked about the logistics of Saturday’s event. Eloisa and Alejandro bravely went to meet with the local police chief of La Boca to get his permission to allow us to set up a small platform. Slowly, while sitting in a five hundred degree office, they came to an understanding and we’re all hopeful that Alejandro’s negotiating skills will smooth things over.

Nov. 27 THURSDAY – A Place for Rosalba
This morning Alejandro, Sebsatian, Steve, Eloisa, Rosalba, her husband Patricio and I met to look at her space as a possibility for Rosalba’s project. It turned out to be exactly perfect! A dark, partially sunken garage with a variety of elements strewn about… The project now will be three videos shown at the same time throughout the space with chipas and sodas to accompany. Next we moved on to meet at Museo de Calcos y Escultura Comparada “Ernesto de la Carcova”. Judi was to accompany but, another unexpected story, while driving over the wheel on her car flew off! Luckily she put Jacoby in a cab along with all the project sculptures.

Nov. 29 SATURDAY – Flooding in the streets
After months of planning and multiple obstacles, the day finally arrived and we spent the morning assembling Survival Kits, wrapping chipas, and changing the address and colectivo lines on the maps everyone would use during the event. The excitement grew as we arrived at Malba and saw the mounting crowd outside the auditorium. Maria and Osa from Eloisa Cartonera were busy adding the final touches to the chocolate candies which represented Fernanda and Roberto’s project in the Survival Kits (they made sure to have Boca Junior colors as the ties for the bags of chocolate).

The presentation and ’s video at Malba set the tone for the event but as we emerged energized from the auditorium – we were confronted with a wall of heavy rain! For the hour we were inside, it had been pouring and the streets were slowly becoming flooded. No one wanted to be the first to run through the rain to get on the Escolares buses but someone had to start it and one by one, people were escorted by the few umbrellas we had to the buses. Finally on the buses, we braved water logged streets and made it to Rosalba’s space in Palermo and then to Fernanda and Jacoby’s space at Museo del Calcos.

It was there that Eloisa got “the call” from Alejandro saying that Boca was too flooded for the reading and closing party to be outside and they hurried to find an alternative place. Miraculously, one block away was the La Boca fire station which had a large (and dry) ballroom which was quickly transformed for the last stop of the event. Everyone present helped – cleaning, arranging, decorating, moving food and drinks, and setting up the stage and lighting. By the time the buses arrived after stopping at Eloisa Cartonera’s shop, the room had been reborn – fresh empanadas were being passed, beer was being poured and the band was playing on stage. Cucurto and the members of Eloisa Cartonera performed his commissioned story and as the event moved into the closing party, we thought back over the last ten days and all the “stories” that our project had. As people danced and ate chorizos, we felt that despite fire, rain and everything else thrown at us we persevered and created an unforgettable event.