july - september 2004 focus on film 12  

Konex 1

Ciudad Cultural Konex (Konex Cultural City)

Buenos Aires Summer Festival

Thanks to the Konex Foundation·s involvement in culture, the city of Buenos Aires will soon have a new cultural option: the Konex Cultural City. This important multicultural center will offer a wide range of cultural activities including music, theater, shows, exhibits, courses, conferences, symposiums and classes.
Luis Ovsejevich, president of the Konex Foundation and alma mater of this project explains, “…I decided to call it a Cultural City because concentration, proximity and the combination of uses are values that enhance all types of activities and also generate a rich urban life. Each activity supports and reinforces the others as is generally the case between a convention center and a hotel or exhibits and restaurants and shows”…

For the past 25 years the Konex Foundation has been involved in the art world with contributions such as the Konex Award created in 1980, the Let·s Go to the Music Event created in 1991, the putting together of the Collection of Argentine Paintings in 1994, the creation of the Instituto de Altos Estudios Culturales (IAEC) (Institute of Higher Cultural Studies) in 2002, the creation of the Konex Cultural Festivals in 2003 and Mercosur Konex Awards in 2002, we are anxiously awaiting this new and promising cultural city.

This past summer, February-March 2004, a preview of this cultural city was on display. The foundation organized the Buenos Aires City Summer Festival at the future site of the center with a wide variety of cultural representations including music, dance, theater, fashion, cinema, video, literature, performances and visual arts with the TransAbasto show “from Pop Art to Ind Art”.

Over 70,000 visitors enjoyed Argentine indisputable successes such as Belleza Cruda (Raw Beauty), by José María Muscari; La Isla Desierta (The Desert Island), by the Ojcuro Group; Mantúa, by the Teatro Sanitario de Operaciones; Kleines Helnwein, with Belén Blanco; Magoya, by Los Susodichos; El fabricante de fantasmas (The Ghost Maker), the piece titled “maldita” by Roberto Arlt; and El blanco el color más oscuro (White, the darkest color), by Juan Sasiaín, Nocau técnico (Technical Knock-Out), by the Krapp Group.

Electronic music was also broadly covered with the participation of groups such as Entre Ríos, Proyecto Verona, music of DJ Pommerenck, DJ Estupendo, the Roken Trio (Cerati, Etcheto and Fresco) and Bad Boy Orange, among others.

The site chosen for this cultural city is an old oil factory in the Abasto neighborhood, which will be remodeled by renowned architect, Clorindo Testa, chosen from 78 architectural firms.
This project also includes a global project called “Cultura Abasto”. The main aim of this challenging idea is to turn the area around the Abasto into a cultural and tourist center of Buenos Aires. Ovsejevich explains, “I prefer to follow the example of the Pompidou that was built in a neighborhood that was run down and turned into a cultural and tourist center in the city of Paris. The area of the Abasto may not seem ideal in many people·s eyes, but I believe it will have an impact.”
A part of the center is scheduled to be opened in mid-2005. In the meantime, different cultural activities and projects are planned to be held at the site. The complete center is scheduled to be open by 2006.

There is no doubt that this Cultural City is a much awaited and needed undertaking for everyone. This was already evident with the results of the festival this past summer. Ovsejevish says, “I·d like to bring back the creative spirit the Di Tella Center had in the ·60s. Our aim is to reach all social classes. Culture should belong to everyone, be for everyone and by everyone.”


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