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HAPPENINGText: Gisella Lifchitz

Buenos Aires is a cosmopolitan city, and a very contradictory one. Last Monday, on May 12th, the Latin American Museum was the scene for the presentation of Venus Project, one of our latest local ways of surviving the real world.

It was a warm autumn day in Buenos Aires, when the Malba Museum opened its doors to an enormous group of people with one idea on their minds: find out what art is. It was going to be a very busy afternoon. First, the exhibit of the video “Friendship Technologies”, and then another video:”The Biennale of Tandil”, and finally the debate on contemporary art.
Let’s start there: the discussion was neither funny nor deep, but it kept many of the minds busy while the rest of us waited for the end of it all.

They were talking about political art versus light art, just until someone came up with the thought that it was a false dichotomy and they all agreed, of course. Another unfinished debate came to the end while the visitors greeted each other.

The most interesting part of the reunion was, doubtlessly, the Venus Project video, which showed the growth of the whole process since the beginning until now.
Venus Project has turned one year old. It was born as a social experiment based on the exchange of ideas, goods and services through an online system that makes the connections and transactions easy.
It all began when a group of argentine artists, scientists, intellectuals and workers met into a net of desire. Venus society exists when their members meet, as autonomic temporary zones.

As Roberto Jacoby, executive director of Start Foundation and creator of Venus Projects, says: “The most important thing about the project isn’t the technological aspect but the concept that all the people who intervene there want to make their needs and wills come true, by the cooperation among each other.
At the moment, cooperation is mediated by enterprises or the State, that is why this one is a possibility for most advanced and connected sectors to meet directly.
The money is a way to measure the exchange and coordinate collaboration, which is decisive. It is fundamental that the artists themselves nourish from what the others produce”.
That’s how, within a critical and harsh environment, full of contradictions and troubled waters, a group of 260 people (and growing) now survives. They exchange objects, teach and take classes, build stuff, write a magazine, work together into the most exhilarating projects, reunite in a pop band, get together to make things and never stop creating, with a playful imaginative spirit: the ultimate answer to everything.

Last year witnessed the most bizarre fair. It offered really old magazines, international unique candies, photocopies of photographs, cool vintage clothes and French lessons: everything in the same place, at the same time.
Meanwhile, in the second floor of the same building, someone took the portrait of every assistant to the fair, forcing him or her to hold his or her perfect smile.
Downstairs, the seed of the band “Polen” was beginning to grow. Eleven girls in their twenties took part of this strange group who sings their own repertory but doesn’t have an audience.

Day by day, the project keeps growing. The members of Venus adore hedonism and claim to be photographed enjoying life. Who are they? We don’t know. Anyone of us can actually be there, sharing a beautiful world with no money and no preoccupations. They just have to be themselves, free generous people who are recovering some of the hippie spirit to spread its seed into this land of hopeless and empty search for success.

Venus Project
Date: May 12th 2003
Place: MALBA
Address: Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Text: Gisella Lifchitz
Photos: Gisella Lifchitz

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