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

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Francisca Mancini: Chronicle of a Commissioned Crime: “C” Day, Arte Magazine

, December 2008

Date: Saturday, November 29th, 2008
16:00 Hours
Location: Malba
Activity: Project Presentation

Heat, a lot of heat, tropical heat. Heavy and uncertain weather.

–Do you know what this is about?

–No, I’m not sure, I think we’re going to follow the clues of a crime.



The line in front of the auditorium grew as the appointed hour approached. We all wanted to know the same thing: What would happen the rest of the afternoon? What was this all about?

The doors open and we all enter, one by one, filing past the T-shirts and catalogues by that were exhibited on stands.

The presentation begins: In their disorderly excitement, the organizers attempt to explain what we will be doing for the rest of the day. Four years ago, , an Argentine living in the United States, founded an artistic platform known as the haudenschild Garage, from which she commissions and finances artistic projects that take place in different locations around the world. For the first time, the destination was Buenos Aires. The project of had as its starting point a text by titled The Madwoman and the Story of the Crime. It was co-curated by and Sonia Becce, and called together , Roberto Jacoby, and . The artists came up with urban interventions that would guide us on this journey through the city and that would end at a street party in front of Eloisa Cartonera publishers, which had been in charge of the catalogue. They introduce us to the artists responsible for our destiny as they announce a change in plans: one of the locations we were supposed to visit had burned down the day before and they had relocated it elsewhere. The first crime? The prospect was rather unsettling and adrenaline-charged.

A map of Buenos Aires appears on the auditorium screen while they inform us that they are going to hand out survival kits. The sense of calm that the explanations given by organizers , Eloisa Haudesnchild and Monica Jovanovich-Kelley had given the audience suddenly dissolved. Survival kit? What’s that? Survive what? What do you mean a place burned down?

The image of Ricardo Piglia’s mouth (the neighborhood and his mouth at the same time!) reading his story on the auditorium screen signaled the beginning of the journey.

Torrential downpour. The street was deserted and all the participants stared at the buses that had been placed at our disposal to take us from one point to another, with our noses stuck to the glass doors of the museum that nobody dared cross. While waiting, we all searched the contents of the survival kit with the hope of finding something waterproof. Some discovered in the chipás a good way of calming their anxiety.

The situation at this point was worthy of Un chien andalou–all of us soaked, traveling in school buses through flooded streets without street lights, to arrive at Rosalba Mirabella’s (new) space.

18:00 Hours
Location: Space in Tucumán and Salguero.
Activity: Artist Rosalba Mirabella’s piece.

The rain had taken pity on us, and had decided to stop. Once inside the garage, set up the day before, we found ourselves before the artist’s intervention. Two giant screens simultaneously projected images of the previous location and the original installation. On a table set up like a memorial, were the charred remains of what had once been the artist’s computer. Many of the participants kept on eating chipás, storing nutrients in case of another catastrophe or a crime, an attitude that given the circumstances seemed very logical to me.

19:00 Hours: Following the clues we board the collective speedboats again and head toward the southern coastline.

19:30 Hours
Location: Museo de Calcos
Activity: Piece by artists Fernanda Laguna and Roberto Jacoby.

For many it was our first time at the Museo the Calcos Ernesto de la Cárcova. Taking this situation into account, the artists had selected a guide to give us a tour. We then entered a gallery where there were bundles covered with sheets and a projector.

Laguna and Jacoby had decided to make a donation of sculptural works to the new headquarters of the Beauty and Happiness space at Villa Fiorito. The crime of forgery of works of art was redeemed by authorized copies and tracings, and master Duchamp’s seal of approval.

20:30 Hours: Once again aboard the (by now) well-loved buses, we depart for La Boca. Anxious to see Eloisa Cartonera and to hear Washington Cucurto, who would be giving a live reading.

21:00 Hours
Location: Headquarters of the Eloisa Cartonera cooperative, La Boca
Activity: Washington Cucurto’s reading. Party at Eloisa Cartonera.

We got off at the stop, one of the most alluring of the day for many, and we came across another unforeseen event that, among the participants and in honor of the project, we had termed a “crime”. This new “crime”, also caused by the rains, would take us, following a tour and introduction to the activities of the Eloisa Cartonera collective, to the fireman’s ballroom in La Boca: the new location designated for the party, since doing it outdoors, as was originally intended, would have been a real crime of colds and pneumonias.

After waiting a few minutes next to the fire engines, we went up to the first floor where we met with Cucurto’s reading, two live cumbia bands, choripanes, and local neighbors to celebrate the end (?) of the day. As a keepsake, Cucurto’s story The Son.

00:30 Hours
Location: Uncertain.
Activity: Undefined.

The shortest distance between two points is never a straight line.