Buenos Aires: A Memorial Park outing that ended at a Hippie settlement

DSC_5569I have to start this entry by saying Happy Birthday to my lovely sister (again).  It is still June 25 here in Buenos Aires, and I know she reads my articles and posts regularly.  Lekker verjaar Joanet!  Cumpleanos Feliz!

Our friendly flatmate Camila told me about an interesting memorial close to her campus, so during Dirk’s lunch hour we took a bus to a part of Buenos Aires that we have not yet explored, close to Ciudad Universitaria – the campus of the Buenos Aires University.  It is almost cut off on the tourist map that I got at a tourist kiosk, so I don’t think many tourists visit this area.  DSC_5628It is a great excursion to make, so if you find yourself in Buenos Aires, put this on the do-to list.  The bus driver dropped us off on the promenade; a short walk from the Memorial Park.

DSC_5545Argentina was ruled by a military dictatorship until 1983.  During the dictatorship, starting in 1975, 30 000 people (who were a political or ideological threat to the government) ‘disappeared’ in what is referred to as the Dirty War or State Terrorism.  The memorial park contains a monument with the names of the people who had disappeared.   DSC_5572DSC_5548There are eight sculptures throughout the memorial park.  The sculpture below, named To Human rights, is an interactive artwork by Leon Ferrari.  People are allowed to move the steel rods to create music.
DSC_555430 000 by Nicolas Gaugnini shows the artist’s father’s face from one particular viewpoint. His father disappeared in 1977.

DSC_5564Towers of Memory by Norberto Gomez depicts torture instruments:
DSC_5610Victory by William Tucker shows a broken geometric form that alludes to the short lives of those who disappeared.  The concrete piece was made by pouring concrete into an excavation on site.  Once set, the piece was raised, metaphorically revealing that which remained secret during the dictatorship.DSC_5625DSC_5578

The most intriguing sculpture was set up inside the River Plata, into which many of the victims were thrown.  It articulates the concept of appearance/ disappearance.

It’s very relaxing to stroll around in the park, even though it has sad connotations.

DSC_5599Exhibitions are held in the Pays hall:

DSC_5568The memorial park is right next to the Buenos Aires University campus.  The buildings which are now used for classrooms, were used by the military.


DSC_5630In Pretoria, where I studied, you were only allowed on campus if you had a student card.  Here anybody can come and go as they like.  I have to add: University is free in Argentina.  Incredible, considering how much some people have to pay for tertiary education!DSC_5641 DSC_5644 DSC_5650 We spotted this stencil on a wall:DSC_5653The buildings are beautiful in a very rigid, symmetrical kind of way. DSC_5655

As we walked around on campus, we ended up discovering a path that lead to an unusual place.DSC_5658 The bridge that leads to nowhere:DSC_5659 DSC_5662A friendly man approached us when we looked a bit lost.  His name is Malo (which means ‘bad’ in spanish, but he quickly explained that he is French and Malo is a common name with no bad connotations in France) DSC_5660 Malo said that we are at some kind of ‘Hippie farm’ on campus.  The director had given a few people permission to build houses and grow vegetables on a deserted piece of land on the campus.  Everyone is very welcome there and we were encouraged to look around, but to not approach tents, because those are private spaces.  About ten people live in this settlement.  They give daily workshops about gardening and green building to interested people.  We first followed the route to a viewpoint over the river:

DSC_5661  Thereafter we explored the area where people live.  The people we met were very friendly.DSC_5663 Part of the space they used, seem to be a dilapidated building, with columns sticking out of the ground:DSC_5664 DSC_5675IMG1900IMG1894IMG1893IMG1897IMG1891IMG1888IMG1887IMG1885What an unexpected ending to our excursion!


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