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Career Review

Ala Plstica is an art and environmental organization based in Ro de la Plata, Argentina that works on
the rhizomatic linking of ecological, social, and artistic methodology, combining direct interventions
and precisely defined concepts to a parallel universe without giving up the symbolic potential of art. Ala
Plstica was originally comprised of Alejandro Meitin, Silvina Babich, and Rafael Santos. Meitins
background is in law, Santoss in horticulture and science, and Babichs in art education. Ala Plstica
now consists of Meitin and Babich. Santos is still based in La Plata and works individually. We are
concerned with relating the artists way of thinking and working with the development of initiatives in
the social and environmental realm. Since 1991 Ala Plstica has developed a range of non-conventional
artworks, focused on local and regional problems, and in close contact and collaboration with other
artists, scientists and environmental groups. Ala Plstica works bio-regionally, within Argentina, as well
as internationally in relationship to other transformative arts practitioners.
For twenty-five years Ala Plstica, we have collaborated with innumerable other people. Our work
would be presented as a concrete example of the methods, organizational structures, aesthetic forms and
social results of a series of artistic processes that are intimately linked to a territory: the estuary of Rio
de la Plata and the watershed of the Paraguay-Paran River. We don't define our activities under the
term projects. ... We prefer to speak of initiatives, and within those, various exercises, that are multiplied
and involve various persons and groups with which we construct a dialogue. We develop actions on the
basis of this reciprocity. This work has also involved many international museum exhibitions. It has
been developed concurrently with a long tradition of activist or social practice art. In our case, that
tradition began in the UK in 1994 with the Littoral Art movement, an independent network of artists,
critics, curators, and scholars interested in new ways of thinking about contemporary artistic practice
and critical theory founded by Ian Hunter and Celia Lerner, and recently documented in the book
Littoral Art and Communicative Action by another participant, Bruce Barber. Later we are evolved in
collaboration with well-known and extensively published artists and critics such as Suzanne Lacy,
Teddy Cruz, Helen and Newton Harrison, Grant Kester, Critical Art Ensemble, members of Platform
and WochenKlausur, or more recently, the Myanmars artist and author Jai Koh. These and other figures
have been partners in group exhibitions and in an ongoing public dialogue about the means and ends of
socially engaged art. Beyond this, we explore the ways in which artists can collaborate with scientists
and advanced technical practitioners of fields such as geography, hydrology, biology, environmental
law, and ecology considered as a scientific discipline. Such transdisciplinary collaborations are reflected
in the curatorial work of Peter Weibel and Bruno Latour in the exhibition Making Things Public and
in the text Extradisciplinary Investigations by the art critic Brian Holmes. Such references would help
to understand how artists can critically engage with the realms of economic production (for example,
GMO agriculture, hydroelectric dams, infrastructure projects, etc), and also how the artists can
constructively engage with community-based economies involving craft work, subsistence farming,
forestry and many other activities which today can benefit from specialized knowledge and innovative

ALA PLSTICA 1991 - 2016


2015 Bioregional Initiative. River Basins as Governance Labs. Political Equator IV. Continuing the
debate opened by Political Equator 3, exposing the conflicts between geo-political borders, urbanecological networks and marginal communities, Political Equator 4 engages similar conditions in
Argentina. National and international artists working in territorial practices in America and Europe
(Brian Holmes, Sara Lewison (Compass Group), Graciela Carnevale (El Levante), Steve Kurtz, Lucia
Sommer, Steve Barnes Melissa Meschler (Critical art Ensamble), Joan Vila Puig (Sitezise), Eduardo
Molinari (La Darsena Platform), Fabiano Kueva (Experimental center Oido Salvaje) were invited to
develop investigations taking the form of nomadic urban actions, performances and dialogues relating
with the riverfront communities on the shores of the Paran River and the Ro de la Plata. Project
curated by Ala Plastica and M7red, members of South Node of Political Equator and Teddy Cruz
(UCSD Center for Urban Ecologies) July 11-26 Del Plata Basin. Argentina
2013 Bioregional Initiative. Paulino Island Classroom Barn. Project made with the input from the
community after several meetings of gathering knowledge about island constructions. This project was
designed to strengthen the activity and permanence in the area of the Association of Farmers of Paulino
Island in the conflict by the expansion project of La Plata Port. Ala Plastica + M7red
Bioregional Initiative. B.O.G.S.A.T The Responsibility. Artistic investigation in the rural context of
Paraguay about the Curuguaty slaughter, for BOGSAT / The Responsibility, publication by Eduardo
Molinari / Archivo Caminante in collaboration with Azul Blaseotto (visual artist and teacher), Ana
Broccoli (Agroecologist agronomist engineer), Hernn Cardinale (photographer, freelance editor) and
Ala Plstica. The book was published for the exhibition Monday Begins on Saturday, in Bergen
Triennial Assembly, An Initiative for Art and Research, Bergen, Norway. Curated by Ekaterina Degot
and David Riff, the exhibition problematizes the scope and limits of research with artistic tools. August
31- October 27, Norway
2013 Franja-Art-Community. Mediation, art, environment and social transformation in the
equatorial dry forest. In 2012 Ala Plstica was invited by the Ecuadorian artist Larissa Marangoni,

director of the residence project "Only with Nature", to lead a new stage of this residency in the area of
the Guayaquil gulf in Ecuador. During 2013 diverse projects presented by nationals and international
artists were selected to work in rural settings and to respond to environmental challengesand
opportunities and to build spaces of collective, dialogic and collaborative action between artists,
cultural producers, scientists, sociologists and local leaders articulating the expanded sense of artistic
practice within community contexts. March 1-12 Puerto El Morro. Guayaquil Gulf. Ecuador.
2012 Bioregional Initiative. Drifting Classroom. Traveling exhibition, meetings and exchanges of
creative practices in local contexts with people dedicated to the visual arts and cultural and collective
citizen initiatives. LaFundici + Sitesize -Barcelona and Ala Plstica. November 12, December 6. Del
Plata Basin.
Bioregional Initiative. Territory and Radiality. A pilot exercise of citizenship rights to the sound
communication and culture for the activation and incorporation of a low-power FM radio station to the
project Travelling Office. Ala Plstica and Odo Salvaje. October 7 - 12 October 2012. Punta Lara,
2011 (MDE11): Teaching and Learning: Places of Knowledge in Art. Analysis of urban structures and
the natural system of the Santa Elena gorge and a series interventions linking ecology, sustainability,
networking, knowledge production, recovery of local economies and social frameworks. October 18 November 9. Antioquia Museum. Medellin, Columbia.
2010 Bioregional Initiative. Travelling Office Mobile device developed in order to influence in
conjunction with Delta communities on the Strategic Plan for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of
the Paran Delta (PIECAS-DP) The office has elements such as desk, laptop computer, scanner, printer,
projector, audio equipment, recording elements (video, photography and sound) library and maps
collection and is made by original materials with critical attention on transdisciplinarity, environment,
art and activism. 2010 Ongoing. Paran River Delta. Argentina
2008 Culture / Nature: Art and Philosophy in the Context of Urban Development. Wilhelmsburg.
Focused on issues such as global warming and urban development, sustainability in art, ecology and
industry, nature and culture, Ala Plstica develops 2 projects with the topic of boundaries and
transitions in the course of our local investigative work: "Visionary Writing Desk." and Ecotone
Sociotone IBA "Internationale Bausausstellung Hamburg.Germany. August 16 - September 14
2005 Bioregional Initiative. The Salt Trail Performance. Ala Plstica and El Albardon (a group that
works to identify and preserve traditional uses of native plants) collaborate with several Kollas
aboriginal community groups in northwest Argentina to retrace the two hundred mile-long trail taken by
previous generations of Kolla people. A nine-day trek led by seven Kolla elders on a route
approximately 300 km long, through hills, beaches, sandbanks, rivers, pampas and salt pan, between
3000 and 4000 meters above sea level. It involved discussions, storytelling, and the exchange of
information on plants and habitats and helped to consolidate resistance among consolidate the scattered
Kolla communities to the predatory actions of mining and pharmaceutical companies that have come to
this place. Salta - Jujuy, Argentina. April 13 - 22
2004 Stadtfluss Wandse/ By-pass Attitude. The project is meant to stimulate a dialogical process in
order to record and transmit significant insights concerning the river Wandse, and to make metaphors
visible that symbolize the return of the river to a natural condition. Galerie Fr Landschaftkunst.
Hamburg. Germany. June 2 - August 28
2002 Bioregional Initiative. Exercise of Displacement: Rio Santiago. Participatory design process for
the territory of Santiago River based upon the remnant elements of indigenous nature and culture.
Exercise in collaboration with Cartografa AT (Graz- Austria). November 14, December 12. Ensenada,
2000 Bioregional Initiative. AA Project Art in a social context. Permanent installation. Flood shelter
space. Rio de la Plata Delta.
Bioregional Initiative. Alternative energy for the Paulino Island. After the tragic oil spill in Rio de la
Plata, Ala Plstica proposed to install 32 solar panels, the foundation of a group to manage the
installation and also a producer association. The project aimed to stop the expansion of petrochemical
port, and create a protected natural and cultural landscape. The strategy was to involve a community

formed by diverse actors (neighbors, associations, local institutions, collectives) with experts in different
fields (political experts, biologists, engineers, artists, etc).
1999 Bioregional Initiative. Evidence. Shell Oil Spill. Monitoring of the cleanup of the oil spill in the
Rio de la Plata estuarythe largest freshwater oil spill in history. In this research we produce aerial
photography, satellite imagery of the coastline, and a field study, and also put together a survey team of
local residents, including fishermen, scientists, and reed harvests and local authorities. Through these
actions Ala Plstica highlighted local knowledge to evaluate impact, thus creating links between
members of the community and helping to promote a healing process. 1999 Ongoing.
Bioregional Initiative. Estuary Initiative. Research, training, diversification of uses of natural fibers
and new techniques for traditional production of the coastal area of the Plata River and its delta, in
order to generate economic support for women. 1999 Ongoing.
1997 Ginkgo biloba Exercise. Intervention on 31 specimens of Ginkgo biloba trees at the Natural
History Museum of La Plata. 2 month research stage, meetings, exhibitions and planning, based in a
collaborative invitation to forestry experts and institutions, as well as to local actors interested in the
reclamation of the trees through active public support. The aim of the exercise was to propose a
community approach for a healing action over the trees. June 2 August 27 La Plata Argentina.
Bioregional Initiative. Punta Lara Colonia Bridge. Recovery of the Punta Lara community center
and creation of a communications and resistance platform in face of the mega construction of the Punta
Lara-Colonia International Bridge over the La Plata River. Exhibitions, public campaigns, workshops
and publications.1997 2000
1996 Bioregional Initiative. Natural Fibers: A Regional Perspective.
Project aimed at spreading the cultivation of the willow and the diversification of its applications. Work
in collaboration with farmers, artist, artisans, coastal communities and cooperatives in the area of the
area of the estuary and delta of Rio de la Plata. 1996 Ongoing.
1995 Bioregional Initiative: A redefinition of spaces of creation and action. Long term initiative for
the development of a series of interconnected exercises based on a principle of social assemblage that
focuses on communication in the creativity of local communities of the del Plata Basin to explore the
possibility of developing integrated initiatives with cultural ecology and bio/physical area as a vehicle

for social and environmental regeneration. The bioregional initiative was launched from project The
Reed / Emergent Species, with a month-long series of meetings, events, talks, site visits and discussions
in and around the Rio de la Plata area. 1995 Ongoing.
The Reed / Emergent Species (Junco / Especies Emergentes) . Junco is one of Ala Plasticas most
emblematic works because of its (territorial, interdisciplinary and temporal) scope and the way in which
the artistic way of thinking and acting permeated all the components of the initiative, starting with the
metaphoric activation of the extraordinary propagation system through the underground rhizomes of
The work involved the organization of a local forum, lectures, and land reclamation through new
plantations of reeds, which act as a natural water purifier. It included growing techniques and
temporary installations using natural fiber on site, under the guidance of Dr. Nuncia Tur, of the Botany
Department of the University of La Plata. The strategy was to involve a community formed by diverse
actors. Local communal representatives, artists, scientists, naturalists, environmentalists, fishermen,
basket weavers, officials and students discussed issues including the social and environmental crisis and
the human/nature relationships in the costal systems of the river. During the Emergent Species project,
Ala Plstica began to consider the rhizome as a conceptual model, metaphorically imagining our work
as similar to the native reed's root structure. The metaphor of emergence (referring to the behavior of
these plants, and to the emergent character of creative ideas and practices), and the model of a
rhizomatic expansion of community-generated ideas of social/environmental enhancement, led us to set
up an integrated initiative directed to reclaim and sustain natural and social systems in peril. Ala
Plstica invited Ian Hunter & Celia Larner of Littoral Arts, UK, to come to Argentina in order to
participate in a first stage of communication between groups of local actors for coastal
social/environmental reclamation. December. Punta Lara. Argentina. November 29 December 1
1993 Urban Toxic Waste and Energy According to INDEC (National Institute of Statistics), imports to
Argentina of batteries containing heavy metal increased by 538% during 1991, in coincidence with the
sale prohibition for this elements in countries like the US, Austria, Spain, Germany, etc. Ala Plstica
reacted to this fact by developing from August 1993 onward an information campaign concerning
batteries as a household toxic waste. In April 1994 Ala Plstica built a series of concrete sculptures that
enclosed used batteries in the stone, permanently located in a public space as evidence of the problem

constituted by toxic waste in our country, as a way to demand actions to reverse its environmental
impact. Ala Plstica was at that time invited by University College Salford and Littoral Arts, UK, to take
part in LITTORAL Symposium New Zones for Critical Art Practice where the case was presented.
1992 La Plata Zoo Recuperation Project. In the La Plata Zoo, Ala Plstica occupied the former library
abandoned since the dictatorship to reconstruct it as a public space, aiming to establish it as a
communicational link and a particular space of public meetings and intellectual creation. This is the
project in which Ala Plstica started to play with metaphors: the confinement of the species as a
metaphor for our own situation of captivity in the city after the period of the dictatorship. The
combination of theories, anecdotes and information about the situation of extreme captivity of the
species housed there accompanied the emergence of highly critical positions concerning the institutional
cruelty applied to living beings. 1992-2003.

2016 Oficina Itinerante. Delta Network. December 17, January 21. LaFundici. Barcelona. Spain.
2015 Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology in the Americas. Nottingham Contemporary. Nottingham .
England 24 Jan 2015 - 15 Mar Video
Wall Works: Horizon. Santa Monica Museum of Modern Art. CA Video
2014 Citizen Culture: Artists and Architects Shape Policy. Santa Monica Museum of Art. CA. US. Sep
13Dec 13(catalogue)
Flood and beyond Art and Memory La Plata Museum. La Plata. Buenos Aires, Argentina. April 4May 24.
2012 Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2001. Essex Street Market. Creative Time.
NYC. US. September 24October 16. 2012. (catalogue)
2011 Arrhythmias of Counter - Production: Engaged Art in Argentina, 1995 2011 October 6, 2011 January 20, 2011, University Art Gallery, University of California at San Diego.
Gorge Laboratory. Fieldwork room. MDE11. Antioquia Museum. Medellin, Columbia. October 18 November 9.
2010 Internal Borders. Art and Memory La Plata Museum. La Plata. Buenos Aires, Argentina. April 8.
May 15.

2010 Who designs territories? and For whom are these territories designed? Fine Arts Provincial
Museum Emilio Pettoruti. La Plata. Argentina
2009 TRANSDUCERS. Collective Pedagogies and Spatial Politics. Centro Jos Guerrero. Granada.
Spain. December 1 January 24. (catalogue)
2008 Citizen Artists Making Emphatic Arguments. 18th Street Arts Center. Santa Monica, CA. US.
July 12 September 13
Culture / Nature: Art and Philosophy in the Context of Urban Development. The Tonne. Hamburg.
Germany. August 16 - September 14
Temporary Office. Municipal Museum of Art (MUMART). La Plata. Argentina. November 15 - 30
2005 Grounworks: Environmental Collaboration in Contemporary Art. Regina Gouger Miller
Gallery, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA, US. October 14 December 11. (Catalogue)
2004 Stadtfluss Wandse / Position Bypass. Galerie fr Landschaftkunst, Hamburg Germany
2000 Buntus. International Artist Collective Exhibition. Ardara Artist Resource Centre. Ardara. Co.
Donegal. Ireland
1993 The Nature of Art - Natural History Museum of the National University of La Plata. La Plata,
Argentina. November 8 - 13 November
1991 New Man, New Order. Paintings. El Pasillo Cultural Center. La Plata.
1991 Performative Intervention in the Faculty of Arts of La Plata. University of La Plata


2009 Franja Art-Community. Contemporary Art, Social context, territory, memory. Franja ArtCommunity is a residence that takes place in communities of the coastal region of Ecuador, promoted by
the organization "Solo con Natura", where artists, cultural producers and community members share
knowledge. His current goals include forging spaces for modeling modes of collective work, dialogic
and collaborative. It seeks to critically articulate the place and meaning of artistic practice in
community settings, and create processes and experiences of value and meaning for those involved.

1998 Ards Peninsula Fishing Port. Being recognized with the International Artist Residency Award by
the Northern Ireland Arts Council, Ala Plastica was invited to carry out a four week intensive
consultancy, public workshop and research program to establish the feasibility of a long term artsbased project based on the needs end experiences of the fishing communities along the Ards
Peninsula south of Belfast, searching for the possibility of diversified models for seaports and the
restructuring of fishing communities. Northern Ireland Arts Council, Leader II Program, EU. Northern
Ireland. UK. November 5 December 7.

2015 Territories and artistic practices. Linkages between culture public sphere and territories . Centro
Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes, October 28 Valparaso, Chile
The Vocation of the place. A Bioregional Practice. Museu da Imagem e do Som Campinas, Brazil.
October 2
Art and territoriality. Public spaces in conflict. Organized by the Research Project: Territoriality, Art
and media. College of Fine Arts University of La Plata September 16
Itinerant research with artistic tools. Institute of Culture of Chaco. Resistancia. Chaco, Argentina.
March 27
2014 Art, work and economy. Arte Actual-FLACSO Quito, Ecuador.
Artistic experiences, management and territory: continuities and ruptures from the 80 to today.
Faculty of Sociology University of La Plata. November 14
Work with rivers. Santa Monica Museum of Art and Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) Los
Angeles. California.
2013 About curatorship: Between Theory and Practice. Developed by ICI (Independent Curators
International) in collaboration with the MACBA - Buenos Aires Museum of Contemporary Art. Buenos
Aires. June 24
2012 Art, social ties and nature. Territory and deterritorialization. Mothers of Plaza de Mayo
Cultural Space Our Children. ECUNHI. Buenos Aires, Argentina. May 15
2011 Border neighborhoods as sites of production. Political Equator 3 conversations on co-existence.
3-4 June 2011. Various locations in San Diego, California & Tijuana, BC Mexico
2009 Keynote speech. Critical Urbanism, Bioregional intervention and emergent species. 7th
Encounter of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Bogot, Colombia August 8

Cultural Negotiations: Articulating Collective Pedagogies and Spatial Policies. International

dialogical Seminary Transducers: Collective Pedagogies and Spatial Politics. Organized by
Transducers, Centro Jose Guerrero, International University of Andalusia-UNIA and the Ministry of
Culture. Granada. Spain.
2008 Make territory: Sensitive languages and collective practices in the production of urban space.
Universit degli Studi di Sassari Facolt di Architettura di Alghero. Sardinia. Italy.
Public participation against the mirages of power. The Tonne. Wilhelmsburg. Hamburg. Germany. July
Forms of cultural production and its relationship with the public space. Laboratory of Art and Social
Space (LAES). Museo del Banco Central de Ecuador. Quito, Ecuador.
Transnational art and local development. Graduate Studies: MFA Public Practice Program. OTIS
College of Art and Design. 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, California.
Artistic activism: political art or politics in art? La Otra. Contemporary Art Fair. Bogot - Colombia.
October 19.
2007 Trnsito(ry) Pblico / Public(o) Transit(orio) UCLA Latin American Institute, World Arts &
Cultures, Center for the Study of Women, Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA Deparment of art.
Los Angeles, California.
Global Factories and the Political Ecuador. Political Equator II: Collective Territories / Territories of
Intervention. Haudenschild Garage, La Jolla, San Diego November 17 San Diego, CA
2005 How to Deconstruct antivalues. Groundworks Monogahela Conference: Shifting the Paradigm.
Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA, US
2004 Art in a bioregional scale: its characteristics and relationship with the artistic way of thinking
and doing. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. April 6. Newcastle, UK
2003 - The Role of Culture in Times of Globalization. Unlikely Encounter in Urban Space. St. Pauli,
Hamburg, Germany
Local Knowledge Global Exchange. Unlikely Encounter in Urban Space. Dresden Postplatz,
Dresden. Germany
Strategies of Participatory Architectures. Unlikely Encounter in Urban Space. Volksbhne pavilion Rosa-Luxemburg. Berlin. 19- 06 al 06-07 de 2003.
Les Moyens de Rgnration de L'cosistme Suite une Pollution par Hydrocarbures. Institut
Suprieur Agricole de Beauvais. December 1. Beauvais. France

Art and social - environmental practice. Ex Argentina. Genealogy of a crisis. Goethe Institut. Buenos
Aires, Argentina. April 2003.
2000 Projects on Public Art Concerning Environmental and Social Matters. What is to be done? Art
as Socio-Political Activism Symposium. Depot - Kunst und Diskussion. Vienna, Austria. December 10
1999 Participatory management of Urban Rivers in Cities of Latin America and the Caribbean.
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (HABITAT), August 23, Belem, Brasil.
Ethics and sustainability. Saint Thomas University, Assisi, Italy
1998 Experiences of art and activism in the estuary of the Rio de la Plata. Critical Sites Conference.
Issues in Critical Art Practice and Pedagogy, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Technology, Art and Design.
Littoral Art. Dublin, Ireland
1998 New perspectives on the role of art as a support for economic and environmental initiatives
Rivers & People (Art and Bio-Regionalism) Littoral Art. October 10 Armagh. Northern Ireland. UK.
Art and Fishing Communities. Aberdeen University . October 7. Aberdeen, Scotland. UK.
Strategies for art practice on the environment. Artefacto Gallery, October 27. La Plata. Argentina.
1995- Litoral: Nuevas Zonas para la prctica del Arte Crtico. Ala Plstica junto a Ian Hunter + Celia
Larner (Project Environment), Carol Conde + Carl Beveridge. November 29. Centro Cultural Recoleta.
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1994 Environmental and ecological initiatives on art. LITTORAL: New Zones for Critical Practice in
Art, international symposium, University College Salford Arts Center, Manchester England. September