From Buenos Aires to Bush-ville

Esteban Pastorino Diaz's photos riff and play on the so-close-yet-so-far

The third series of images by Diaz, the night views, shows several tumbledown architectural wonders designed in the 1930s by the Argentine modern architect-engineer Francisco Salamone. They are midsized prints, the process (gum bichromate) of which yields a stippled and painterly chiaroscuro of form. Taken at night, the photographs seem eerily old, as though, following the short life of celluloid, they are disintegrating back into the darkness of night before your eyes. The architectural form that Diaz chooses to shoot is fanciful but highly inventive, the deco-like finial of "Matadero Cahrue" looking more like the antenna of a space ship than a modern campanile. While the buildings he has shot are truly out of this world, the process here verges on being sappy and nostalgic.

"Aeroclub, Veronica, 2003," by Esteban Pastorino Diaz
"Aeroclub, Veronica, 2003," by Esteban Pastorino Diaz


photographs are on display through October 16 at Photographs Do Not Bend, 214-969-1852.

There is more than fun and scientific high jinks to the work of Diaz. Because he chooses to focus his image-making on urban subject matter, his work tends to take on a much more global air. The familiarity of their subject matter tells us something about the status of economic and urban development in Argentina, that it, like our own, follows from technologies of decentralized manufacturing that give rise to various cultures of sprawl. Pundits of culture will tell you that this familiarity and shared visual vocabulary are evidence of the ever-increasing homogenization of the world--that everything is fast becoming the same. But take heart, I say. Ann was no Eva, and W. will never be Che.

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