Chile From Within

Chilean mountaineer dead climbing Mont-Blanc

Posted in Andes Mountains, chile, Chile culture, environment, mountaineering by tomasdinges on July 26, 2007

A 27 year old Chilean mountain climber died alongside three others from New Zealand, France and Britain, during a storm at around 4500 meters on the famous French mountain of Mont-Blanc. Their decisions to ascend during the storm with inadequate equipment were cited by the regional police force as the principal reasons for their freezing death.

While of course there were other nationalities involved in the tragic accident, I have been in situations with experienced Chilean mountain-climbers who have made poor, rushed decisions with poor or inadequate equipment for the conditions. See this photo set of the experience of Volcan Llullaillaco.

It is a leap to generalize, yet my principal experience mountain-climbing with Chileans on Volcan Llullaillaco, in the North of Chile, in addition to observations based on the attitudes, preparation and gear and stories of others trying to climb el Cerro Juncal, in the Central Andes of Chile, leads me to conclude that a serious effort (if it is not already happening) should be made to properly educate the growing population of young Chileans taking an interest in the mountains.

A list of resources about mountaineering can be found on my resources and links page.

If not, more avoidable accidents will happen involving Chileans in Chile, or abroad.

The following is an AFP report

“PARIS – Four climbers died of cold and exhaustion after losing their way on snow-capped Mont Blanc in the French Alps, police said Tuesday.

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The bodies — women from New Zealand, France and Chile, and a man from Britain — were found at 13,120 feet, police said.

“The group had no tent and failed to dig a hole to protect themselves from 120 km/h winds and falling snow,” said Olivier Kim of the regional police force.

The victims’ identities were not immediately released.

Another group of climbers was rescued Monday near the summit of the 15,771-foot Mont Blanc, the highest peak in western Europe, after digging a shelter in the snow.”

The link to the article in the Chilean mountaineering forum Tricuspide is here.

An article in Terra.cl:

SANTIAGO, julio 24.- Esta tarde se confirmó finalmente la identidad de la estudiante y andinista chilena que integraba un grupo de cuatro jóvenes que fallecieron en el Mont Blanc, en Francia, cuando intentaba alcanzar la cumbre en medio de un fuerte mal tiempo. Mariana Huerta Tellez, de 27 años, cursaba desde hace un año estudios de doctorado en la Universidad de Grenoble, en Francia, luego de egresar como licenciada en Física en la Universidad de Chile, adonde ingresó el año 1998. Ex alumna del Liceo Manuel de Salas, la malograda deportista residía con su familia en la comuna de Nuñoa, y su padre era también físico. De acuerdo a cercanos, se hizo conocida en el ambiente del deporte universitario por su buen carácter, sus conocimientos en la práctica del andinismo y su disposición a enseñar. Es por ello que la noticia de su muerte caló en ese círculo que fue el primero en recoger las informaciones a través de la página nacional tricúspide.com, sitio especializado desarrollado por montañistas chilenos. En el foro que acompañaba la nota, un usuario identificado como BLadiMir ratificó la vinculación de Mariana con la universidad, definiéndola como “una gran amiga”, y agregando que su deceso ya fue confirmado por su familia. “Gran amiga y compañera, su vida era estar colgada de una cuerda en un cerro… buscando hielos en todos lados. Enseñando, y siempre entregando un montón de su alegría”, señalaba, agregando que fue ella quien “inspiró a mí y a mi novia a seguir los pasos del montañismo”. ”La noticia llega con dolor a muchos amigos que ella tiene acá en chile… sus cumpleaños son siempre los más numerosos”, agregó. ”Una mujer sencilla con alma de niña. La vamos a echar mucho de menos”, finalizaba. En efecto, la información publicada por el mismo sitio señalaba que los padres de la joven ya iban en viaja a Francia para coordinar y acompañar el regreso de sus restos a Chile. En el mismo sitio, otro usuario identificado como Mauro Vásquez afirmaba haberla conocido en la Universidad de Chile, y recordaba su paso por la Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas, en Beauchef 850, destacando que “ponía pasión en todo lo que hacia, comprometiéndose a concho con lo que se proponía”. NO LLEVABAN IMPLEMENTOS ADECUADOS Mariana Huerta fue encontrada muerta cerca del mediodía en el macizo francés junto a otra estudiante francesa, un británico y un neocelandés, todos estudiantes de Grenoble. Según las autoridades locales, las causas de muerte serían hipotermia y agotamiento, tras una fatídica expedición organizada aparentemente sin saber de las malas condiciones del tiempo que se avecinaban. De hecho, Mariana había estado al menos en una ocasión anterior en el Mont Blanc, y tenía experiencia suficiente para enfrentar esa cumbre de 4.808 metros. Según lo informado, el grupo partió a las 3 de la mañana hora local desde el refugio de Durier, ignorando el pronóstico de violentas ráfagas de nieve y viento de 120 kilómetros por hora y temperaturas de 15 grados bajo cero. “Ellos se focalizaron en esta ascensión mítica ignorando los informes de Météo France, (y) deberían haber regresado. Esto fue simplemente terquedad e idiotez. Es su responsabilidad total”, precisó el capitán del pelotón de Gendarmería de Alta Montaña de Chamonix.

Un guardia francés del refugio de Goûter los había avistado cerca del mediodía del lunes en la estrecha arista de Bionnassay, la más afectada por el mal tiempo, por lo que dio aviso a Gendarmería.

De acuerdo a las mismas fuentes, hacia las 15 horas de ayer los propios jóvenes habían pedido auxilio, conscientes de lo delicado de su situación, pero no pudieron indicar su localización ni reaccionar adecuadamente al mal tiempo.

El coronel Olivier Kim, comandante del grupo de montaña de Haute-Savoie afirmó que los malogrados andinistas no tenían carpa, llevaban vestimenta inadecuada y tampoco lograron cavar una trinchera para protegerse del viento.

CUERPOS SERÁN RESCATADOS MAÑANA

Las malas condiciones meteorológicas permitieron recuperar los cuerpos recién este martes a las 15:20 horas, a 4.130 metros de altura, gracias al trabajo de una patrulla terrestre de la Gendarmería francesa.

Sin embargo, lograron bajar sólo uno de los cuerpos en helicóptero aprovechando una corta ventana de buen tiempo.

El resto deberían ser transportados a primera hora del miércoles, cuando se espera otra ventana.

Los rescatistas franceses señalaron además que una segunda cordada que participaba del ascenso, y que estaba compuesta por dos españoles y dos checos, logró protegerse construyendo un refugio pese a estar a mayor altura, cerca de 4.304 metros en el sector conocido como del Domo de Goûter.

En ese lugar fueron rescatados los checos, mientras que los españoles, más equipados, prefirieron permanecer en la montaña.

Allende v. Pinochet, an informed commentary and discussion on Beautiful Horizons

Posted in chile by tomasdinges on July 17, 2007

For those whose opinions on the deposed, yet democratically elected (with a slim decision, yet democratically elected) former president of Chile, Salvador Allende, rest on theories of US/CIA involvement and a glowing tribute to socialism, or for those whose opinions about the military dictator (yes, dictator, bombing of presidential palace, curfew, suspension of civil rights and the of course, detention, disappearance and torture) rest on a rejection of socialism/communism and an opinion about the unbalanced accounts of Pinochet in the press and in your local bookstore, PLEASE READ the exchange between Randy Paul and a reader of his blog Beautiful Horizons.

The discussion is found here.

Romance and Lucia, Fear and Video Art in Santiago

Posted in chile, Chile culture, Chile film, Santiago, video art, Viva Chile by tomasdinges on July 13, 2007

El beso, amor sublime

“El beso, amor sublime,” Yael Rosenblut, 2007, 5:27 minutes
Video-art. I also wondered what it meant when I was trying to figure out who Yael Rosenblut was, and what she did, although she defined herself to me as a video-artist and curator (I still had difficulties grasping the concept). I gleaned that she was well-connected, resourceful, ambitious and hard-working but still didn’t know how one could dedicate oneself to art, why she was travelling to Buenos Aires, New York and Miami and where she was entering or designing expositions.

In her description from the Romance website, she has “a carrera incipiente pero fructífera, la artista visual Yael Rosenblut ha ido posicionando una estética muy propia en la escena nacional. Su trabajo es un híbrido entre las artes visuales y el cine, lo que le permite asumir una posición equidistante, un mirar desde afuera, aportando una gran cuota de ironía, especialmente en su análisis del mundo artístico.” I would assume she wrote this description, which is probably best.

A confluence of productions and people brought me to see the light, or see the videos.
Romance, a recent curated exhibition by Yael is at the Galeria Animal until the 21st of July. The Galeria Animal has been described as being a cuico art-gallery by some, which I think is a simplistic description for a well-positioned and actually less conservative gallery located on the high-brow, expensive Alonso de Cordova, Vitacura. But for its anecdotal worth, their website designers, Funky, play polo on private beachside fields, which is definitely NOT a cuico pasttime.

I would get confused with the idea of video-art because Yael sometimes filmed her projects, which implies usage of film, generally 16mm, and not video.

Thankfully, Wikipedia has a personally acceptable definition…, “Video art is named after the video tape, which was most commonly used in the form’s early years, but before that artists had already been working on film, and with changes in technology Hard Disk, CD-ROM, DVD, and solid state are superseding the video tape as the carrier. Despite obvious parallels and relationships, video art is not film.

One of the key differences between video art and theatrical cinema is that video art does not necessarily rely on many of the conventions that define theatrical cinema.”

Lucia

“Lucia,” Cristobal León, Joaquin Cociña, Niles Atallah, 2007

So, I began to understand further when my friend Niles Atallah (who I have written about previously here) created the stop-motion “video-art” piece along with Cristobal León and Joaquin Cociña which was put in the Romance exhibit in Animal. Fear, writing on the wall, charcoal, light, dark, canaries, lobos, a little girl and broken flower (pots), as well as creepy narration.

Click here to load the small version and here for the large of the excellent video from the Diluvio Lab website.

While video art is surely new to me, it is debatedly becoming more recognized within Chile, especially by institutions, like the government. I can’t say if this is a a result of the greater government representation of culture in the form of a ministry of culture and the more “people-sensitive” or “soft” governance of the administration of President Michelle Bachelet.

One example of this is the 8th Biennial of Video and New Media 2007: Ciudades, Ciudadanías, Ciudadanos(as), run by Valentina Montero and taking place in October in Santiago. Subsisting for the last seven editions, since 1993, on the finicky Fondart mechanism, for the first time they have received institutional support, a significant grant, from the Consejo Nacional Audiovisual for festivals. “Finalmente nos aceptaron porque saben que no hay otra instancia para dar cabida a estas experiencias más experimentales,” she says. This funding effectively recognizes the distinct nature of this art form from the “theatrical cinema” showcased by the audiovisual industry in Film Festival’s in Valdivia and Viña, which have previously gobbled up funding. It will also lead to a bigger and better exhibition.

It will be held in the Matucana 464 location of the Museum of Contemporary Art in October, neighbors with the other cool museum on Matucana, Matucana 100. (The whole area reminds me a bit of the Smithsonian museums in downtown DC, big stone and marble buildings, ionic columns, green grassy expanses…lots of future.) Submissions are still being accepted until September 1st for the prize “Concurso Latinoamericano a la Creacion y Autoria en Video y Artes Digitales “Juan Downey.” Open to individuals originating from Latin America, residing in or out of the continent. Contact Valentina Montero at concurso@bienaldevideo.cl for more information.

I quote from the pamphlet of the exhibition:

“What aspect will have these cities? Which are the challenges and architectonic and city-planning transformations that this growth implies? How is distributed the relation between the increasing homogenization of the “urban thing” in a global context (malls, cinemas, supermarkets, museums, airports), with the idiosincrathic character, historical and culturally located of each city in individual (urban memory, nomenclature, cultural symbolic capital)? Which is the character of the experience that the large city offers to its inhabitants?

The city is also a complex network of cultural and political interrelations. Between the more and more universal social monitoring mechanisms, control, displacement and internal fragmentation of the cities, What class of subjects produces these large cities? What type of identities promotes or represses? What class of citizens welcomes or rejects, integrates or secretes?”

OfficeOther notable efforts in Chilean video-art are Troyano. While the following has nothing to do with Video art, it is really cool and informative project. Cybersyn. See Fernando Flores, Stafford Beers and Salvador Allende and (George Orwell).

I don’t know if this art either, yet I do believe it took a lot of skill and thought to execute. “Pindar” by Mateo Zlatar aka Offending Command, a Chilean living in NYC, whose is a electronic music producer and dj on Radio Isla Negra.

Or watch the better quality, bigger screen version of Pindar on google video