The weekend before last I was fortunate enough to be invited to the estancia of an artist with whom I am collaborating with on a joint project. A well established painter here in Buenos Aires, Marta Diez has had many exhibitions here in the city, as well as some abroad, most notably at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris last year. Her estate is still in the province of Buenos Aires, and yet is located a good 650 kilometers south from the city center, near a town called Bahia Blanca.
For many of our collaborators and readers alike, October is typically a month where jackets are being pulled out of the closet and images of 4:30pm sunsets are coming to mind. Despite the fact that I’ve lived in South America for over 2 years now, decades of habit still conjure up those same impressions. However, this does not change the fact that I love warm weather (maybe a byproduct of living in Chicago for over 15 years) and that spring draws people from their winter caves and a new energy emerges within the populace.
As someone who enjoys the outdoors and the wonderful silence that nature provides, I have recently begun to feel the emotional effects of being surrounded by metal and concrete. I, along with millions of others, am living in Buenos Aires and I am counting the days (8) until I have the opportunity to leave the city and enjoy the serenity of grass and the ability to see the stars. Recently I have had the good fortune of being asked to do some exhibitions of my work including many of the photos that I took while down in Patagonia.
It’s been almost 2 years since I first moved to South America, and as its winter here right now, the grey weather and cold temperatures have fostered a more contemplative lifestyle in me, and has often made me think about my first experiences in southern Chile. When I arrived in Punta Arenas it was not only the first time in Chile for me, but also the first time in a Spanish speaking part of South America (I had visited Brazil the year prior). I remember being apprehensive about my virtually non-existent Spanish speaking skills, and thinking that with French and German already in my arsenal, I perhaps will be a faster learner, and therefore, “it won’t be so bad.” Then came the connecting flight in Santiago…I was in the airport and every word being spoken around me seemed utterly foreign. Luckily I began to understand relatively quickly and became accustomed to the barrier.
Thinking about this made me check some old emails I had written to friends back home when I first arrived in Patagonia. Below I’ve posted an email that garnered a lot of attention, due to its comedic nature. I’ve also included some photos I took while in Patagonia, which I have recently been revisiting because I find them peaceful, tranquil, and in accordance with my recent moods. Continue reading
I am joining Raxa Collective’s creative communications here at the request of La Paz Group, for which I have worked in the past—I have no doubt this will stretch me in new and interesting ways just as my last round of work with that team did. Having enjoyed the posts of the other contributors here, I should note that I am neither in Nicaragua, nor India; nor am I an intern. But my goals are aligned with the goals of this site in ways I will try to demonstrate here in my first post. First, I know some of the other bloggers—I was a neighbor to Amie Inman and Milo Inman for the first half of 2010, they in “casa roja” while I was a few steps away in “casa amarilla”. In fact, our homes were within 50 miles of the southern-most tip of land in the Americas. Second, Michael and I have something in common in that I graduated from Amherst College and I know very well what senior year is going to be like for him. More on that another time. The others I have gotten to know only through their writing, but I am glad to be part of a diverse team.
Back to my neighbors in South America now. I arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile, in October of 2009 dirty, teary-eyed from lack of sleep, and a bit frightened of my near incompetent Spanish. These insecurities, however, left me quickly as I realized that I had arrived in Southern Patagonia, ready for adventure as a liaison between LPG and the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race, a race that is considered by adventure athletes as one of the last true adventure races left in the world. Continue reading