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Psychogeography Portrait ... 11 ... Buenos Aires Street Art  
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  Exceptionally quiet
time in otherwise
extremely busy space
  We are starting this walk at Plaça Dorego on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 in the morning. Exceptionally quiet time in otherwise extremely busy space.

Plaza Dorrego is one of the most popular tourist spots in BA. It is having its "permanent" residence in the form of "left overs from hippie times - almost like belonging here!?". They are practically living on the square, selling jewelry, crafts and many other mostly unnecessary items. Of course Plaça Dorego is in our collection, visit Virtual Panorama if you are interested.

At this time they were the only ones present with very little tourists. Even the space for ever present tango dancers was taken over by pigeons.

     
             
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    What I was doing so early?

I was waiting for Rick Powell, organizer and guide of San Telmo street art walk. unfortunately there was miscommunication, technology failed, Rick did not show up and I had to conduct my own "street art" walk. Tip for visitors: This San Telmo Art Walk is very recommendable and you can book it here.

Plaza Dorrego is in the hearth of San Telmo, or Barrio Sur. This area began to be restored and gentrified in the early 1990s after nearly a century of neglect and decay. By the later part of the decade the area had become trendy and bohemian. Its numerous jazz clubs and theatres attract a varied group of patrons, from journalists and artists to labourers.

  I was waiting for Rick
Powell, organizer and
guide of San Telmo
street art walk
 
             
  Buenos Aires, Street Art, urbansquares.com  
             
  Famous Feria de San Telmo
is organized here every Sunday
  On our map of San Telmo neighbourhood in Buenos Aires above, Placa Dorego and Pasaje de la Defensa are marked in red. Our walk is bluish line stretching several blocks and reaching Boca neigbourhood to the south.

We made couple of other drifts in the area over the days we stayed in BA so some of the photos are made on those other days and they are not in the chronological order as when they were made.

Every Sunday this whole area around Plaza Dorrego and Defensa Street stretching 2 km all the way to Plaza de Mayo is converted to very famous Feria de San Telmo. Antique vendors together with art and craft stands, musicians and tango performers are taking every available centimeter of space. Event attracts average of over 10.000 people.

     
             
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      One more tip for visitors: You can legally carve anything you want on the tables or walls in Caffè Dorrego look what we found on one of the tables on the first photo bellow [link to our favourite travel blog is active].

Being here when it is not as busy as usual is having several advantages. One was noticing that one of the regular craft vendors died in 1976 during the military rule and the plaque is placed and tree is planted in her memory on the square.

  One of the regular craft vendors died in 1976 during the military rule and the plaque is placed and tree is planted in her memory  
             
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  Plaza was the sight of the swearing of national independence in 1816   Most of the area’s buildings were constructed before the 20th century. Some of them are conventillos, abandoned mansions that were subdivided into smaller living spaces and that are now mainly inhabited by poorer Argentinians and recent immigrants.

This plaza was the sight of the swearing of national independence in 1816 before Don Juan Martin de Pueyrredon.

     
             
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      But, lets start what we came for, our Street Art tour.

Buenos Aires, the bustling capital of 13 million porteños is quite an exciting city.

I am always interested in exploring a new city, as much as I can, and from a different angle, using my psychogeographic experience; with eyes wide open, and drifting between the sights that overpower the senses: traffic, noise, pollution… sights not usually recognized as significant, but which posses a human dimension and a spontaneous touch.

     
             
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      It really is not difficult to observe and enjoy the visual dimension of this city—street art. I prefer this term over the more common North American one, "graffiti", for numerous reasons. It contains the word "art" and emphasizes location ("street") distinguishing it from a gallery-oriented main stream practice.

It was really unexpected to find out that "street art" is legal everywhere in Argentina.

  It really is not difficult
to observe and enjoy
the visual dimension
of this city
 
             
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  Quality of art is most
of the time on the "professional" level
  Most of street art observed require attention and some times even local understanding of the outstanding issues.

Quality of art is most of the time on the "professional" level, decorative being just the first impression.

I talked on the separate place about impact of street art: "When we talk about the democracy and freedom of expression we always think about the freedom to say what's on your mind. Is everybody capable to verbalize his or her thoughts? Is there any other way to communicate? What about visual, message?". All of this applies in the same way here.

In the last couple of years the art scene in Buenos Aires has shaped up to be quite extraordinary. Half jokingly, it is rumored around city that the only thing missing is a piece by Banksy in order for BA to establish itself as the street art capital of the world.

     
             
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      All the other significant names have already left their traces here. We even found out that copies [or maybe originals?] of Banksy's stencils are starting to show up around the city. Is it him? You can make judgement by yourself if you scroll all the way to the bottom of this page.

There are so many individuals involved in the art scene we captured. It is very difficult to identify them since in most cases they work in groups (keep in mind, the often enormous scale of the projects necessitates this).

Here are some of their names: malegria, shohs, oz, edu, TDC, hosm, nerve, ever, herese, shaman, triangle dorado, ruff, BsAsStencil, BEdoian, ice, rodez, 1000-E, moreno villa, vairo, mesme, odds, meta, corona, hastmo, denunoz-mlie, mart, Diendre Siempre Ritmo, stencil land...

  There are so many individuals involved in the art scene we captured  
             
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      At the end of this first drift, we came back where we started this quite short walk.

This area covered here also touched separate and quite different Boca, little bit south of San Telmo, even proclaiming itself as "Republica de la Boca". Atmosphere there and street art is quite different, much more engaged and political. It is also place where very passionate fans of Boca Juniors, one of two mayor football teams is located.

     
             
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  Space is very attractive,
quite pleasant to spent
some time
  Right there, just a block south of Placa Dorego there is one more exciting place Pasaje de la Defensa.

This courtyard is inside a house in San Telmo one of best preserved neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires. It is one of three court yards in the "Casa de Los Ezeyza", house built in 1876 for the very wealthy and influential family of Basque immigrants. It was abandoned in the beginning of 19th century.

     
             
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      Over times used as school for deaf end mute, then for a long time as a "conventillo" for up to 32 poor immigrant families. Finally in 1981 it was converted to the shopping arcade specialized in antiques. Still to this day it keeps authentic atmosphere but also memo of some secretive past.

Visually and acoustically space is very pleasant and few very good "finds" are possible in the antique store. It is also possible to enjoy nice atmosphere and pleasant shade on the upper level with fantastic overview of the whole space.

     
             
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We can imagine how family, originally creating this space for their own usage, was having a vision of a good living.

Pasaje Defensa is wonderful example how historic ambiance can be incorporated and preserved and returned to the public usage.

     
             
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      Just to make sure in this whole text, when I am talking about street art, I am actually understanding that eveything in any art form present on the streets is considereed street art. Craft, perfomance, music, dance and of course all forms and sizes of visual art. Just as an example photo above left is just 30x20 cm in size and it was painted in very traditional way, probably acrylic, on the bench. Iit is probably my most favourite piece in the area.      
             
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      We made few more walks looking for street art in Buenos Aires and the result with almost 100 photos is here. We also have a gallery among collection of 100 cities we visited with 30 selected photos from Buenos Aires some of them of course about street art.      
             
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      Photo in the middle below is most probably original Banksy, showing to us and everybody else how important this art scene is.

Very last photo bellow was actually the first one I stumbled upon but I am leaving it as a conclusion because it is summarizing the whole Buenos Aires street art. This 12m tall kid is very impressive, what do you think?

Bellow last row of photos there are 4 more links to other psychogeography activities, for the complete list and documentation visit our Psychogeography page.

And of course, if you have any comments or suggestions, questions etc. please do not hesitate to contact us.

     
             
  Buenos Aires, Street Art, urbansquares.com banksy, buenos aires, urbansquares.com Buenos Aires, Street Art, urbansquares.com  
             
  12 Place aux Abbesses, Paris, 2012 ~ 16 Ville du Quebec, underpass street art - September, 2013
24 Sarajevo - Bascarsija, September 2018 ~ 26Funchal City Centre, Madeira - April, 2019 ~ 29 Little Filipino Town, Toronto, May 2017
 
           
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