This website serves two purposes: first, a partial archive of materials and documentation from the artistic activist scene in Buenos Aires; and second, a metacommentary on my own position as a researcher, traveler, and activist-in-training.
From the beginning of June to the end of July of 2016, I traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the goal of understanding how artistic activism might be different in South America in general and BA in particular as opposed to New York City, whose activist history I'm more familiar with. With the support of NYU BA, the Center for Artistic Activism, the Urban Democracy Lab at NYU Gallatin, and the Argentine Association of Photojournalists (ARGRA), I got to traverse the city, meet artists and activists, attend events, and ask many questions in my stilted Spanish. Like many research projects, and like many visitors to an unfamiliar country, I soon uncovered more questions instead of the answers I had been hoping for.
Rather than bringing back a mountain of tactical advice, a clear list of similarities and differences, or a conveniently packaged narrative, I was forced to confront my position as an outsider and navigate the complexities of globalism and imperialism from the ground up. Getting things done in an immense 'global network university' system can be tough, but the real challenge is plunking yourself down in a foreign country that has been oppressed by your own, as an ambassador of an institution that many activists view with wariness, and asking people who have suffered from this history of oppression to take time from their lives to teach you, a person of privilege, for little in return. I was forced not only to consider my position as an academic explorer but also my position as an American, and I realized that no investigation of activism by such an outsider in New York and Buenos Aires would be complete - let alone in two months! - and must be centered on this fact. I begin, then, by acknowledging the incomplete and biased nature of this project, and by profusely and humbly thanking all who agreed to contribute to my journey.
This project would not have been possible without Becky Amato, who organized the fellowship; Gianpaolo Baiocchi, my academic advisor; Steve Duncombe, on whose behalf I conducted this research; Cecilia Palmeiro, my academic and social guide in BA; Anna Kazumi Stahl and the rest of the staff at NYU BA, who made my time there fruitful and livable; Christina Zamorza, my gracious host mother; and Carla Fernandez and Daniel Vides, who hosted and guided me at ARGRA; as well as my parents and my fellow Fellow Sammy Lozada who advised me on my journey.