Tag Archives: Northern Argentina

Jorg Bruggemann – Ushuaia

Jorg Bruggemann is a German photographer who has several projects shot in South America. I was particularly interested in his work, Mas Austral, which shows working class youth and landscapes in Ushuaia on Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina’s [and the World’s] southernmost city.

Jorg Bruggemann – Mas Austral

As Bruggemann notes in his text accompanying the series:

A free trade zone was established which led to fast urban development. Whereas in 1975 there were 7000 people living in Ushuaia, today it hosts nearly 60 000. Most of them were young families  coming North of Argentina looking for work with their children. They are also the reason why I went to the world’s most Southern city. I wanted to know what it was like being young while living at the end of the world.

Jorg Bruggemann

What I find interesting about the series is that, take away the pine trees and sloped landscape and this could be any working class suburb of Buenos Aires. Indeed, while Northern Argentina has distinct regional cultures dating back to the colonial era, most of Patagonia has been settled fairly recently and, culturally, is something of an annex to Buenos Aires province. Rather than being some exotic, uttermost place as imagined by Bruce Chatwin, Ushuaia is really just like a bunch of pibes from Lanús.

Jorg Bruggemann – Mas Austral

Jorg Bruggemann – Mas Austral

Jorg Bruggemann – Mas Austral

Bruggemann also has a great series, The Same but Different, documenting backpacker culture around the world. At some point I’ll write a post about the idea of gringos in contemporary photography, for which this series will be key.

Meteorito “El Taco”

In 1962 a farmer in northern Argentina discovered a 2-ton meteor fragment in his field. A joint US-Argentine scientific team obtained the hunk of metal and proceeded to split the thing in two. Since then one half has sat at the entrance to Buenos Aires’ Planetarium while the other half has been in storage with the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

Last year Argentine artists Guillermo Faivovich and Nicolas Goldberg reunited the two pieces at an exhibition in Germany. A catalog accompanying the exhibition was published by Hanje Catze. It contains photographs from the original scientific expedition, as well as photos by Faivovich and Goldberg of the two halves in their current states. It’s sort of like Evidence meets a Tale of Two Cities; one half sits in a pristine scientific warehouse in the 1st world while the other endures pigeon shit and the antics of school children on field trips to the Planetarium.

The two halves of "El Taco" reunited in Germany

El Taco

"El Taco" pre-split

Faivovich & Goldberg with the two pieces of "El Taco"

Here’s a link to an interview of the artists in Spanish.  Reuniting the two halves of El Taco took four years involving five agencies in two countries. The true work of art is the artists’ deft leaping through many bureaucratic hula-hoops in order to bring these two halves together.

The Argentine half of El Taco is now back at the Planetarium. Here’s a couple of pictures I took recently.

"El Taco" at the Planetarium in Buenos Aires

"El Taco" at the Planetarium in Buenos Aires