Que se Vayan Todos

Watch this Space

15th Feb. 2002

When we first landed in Buenos Aires, we were immediately searching for signs of the insurrection. Would this airport feel any different from any other? Would the streets be clogged with traffic, or with crowds? Was the garbage still being collected and the mail delivered? Never having been in a country in the midst of a mass social rebellion, we wondered what would appear different in everyday life.

Riding into the city, we got our first clue. The barren stretches of highway that link cities with airports, so similar all over the world, are always flanked by rows of large billboards, advertising the staples of international business - Visa cards, mobile phones, hotels, airlines. This was true on this sterile strip of land, but something was different.

Over half the billboards were completely bare, with huge white spaces where adverts would have been. There was something really beautiful about them, as they stood enormous in their emptiness, drained of the poisonous images of consumption, yet seductive in their nothingness, freed from commerce, and filled with possibility. They somehow stood for the space of change that this country is undergoing, they spoke of the pause, the blank sheet of paper waiting to be filled; they were the space from which a society could begin to imagine something different, the space from which people could begin to put dreams into action.

next part - Part 2: Returning to Rebellion | Que se Vayan Todos | Argentina