Santiago de Chile, an introduction

As we are coming to the end of our two hours flight from Buenos Aires and prepare to land we are passing by the Andes mountains, the longest continental mountain range in the world. And slowly far ahead appears a city; Santiago de Chile, if it was not hidden behind these mountains it would not give you the sensation that you were arriving to a city at the end of the world. Cities such as Lima or Bogotá that are located at the far West of the South American continent may also be remote cities...

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Museo de Arte Pre-Colombina: Chile before Chile

The Pre-Colombian Art Museum is one of the most important, maybe the most important, museum in Santiago; it gathers thousands of pieces that are clue to understanding of the native people of Chile. 14.000 years before todays modern Chile people were living in these lands. The rich collection of the Museum with ceramic pieces, jewellery, wooden sculptures, musical instruments, the baby mummies, they all are a clue to the cultures, daily lives, beliefs of these people. Even the north of the...

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Santiago’s museums: Modern Art Museum

As I leave the Museum of Memory, and am back again on the Matucana Avenue, I cross the street take the Parque Quinta Normal on my right and start walking along the avenue. On my right is the Modern Art Museum Parque Normal, one of the two branches (the other one is the Modern Art Museum Parque Forestal just behind the Fine Arts Museum in the centre close to Plaza de las Armas). The entrance is free; whether you may like contemporary art or not you will find interesting works. A colourful big...

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Santiago’s museums: Fine Arts Museum

Across the Parque Forestal, you will see a building that looks like taken out from Paris; indeed the Petit Palais in Paris was taken as model in the construction of this museum. Built by French-Chilean architect Emile Jéquier in a neo-classical and art-nouveau styles reminds me more of the Orsay Museum in Paris. The museum itself is known as a copy museum, its collection of 3000 pieces were copies of the most famous art works. Here we visit the 13th Media Arts Biennial ‘Temblor’ which we tell...

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13th Media Arts Biennial in Santiago de Chile

Earthquake is not only the movement of earth, it is also a state of living beings. There are earthquakes below the earth and also inside us, catastrophe that make us die and reborn again. The 13th Media Arts Biennial takes the theme ‘temblor’, earthquake as a reflecting point in world’s current situation where big shits of paradigms are taking place; they say ‘In fact nature has no catastrophe, it is the humans that make the catastrophe. There is no natural disaster, there is the human being...

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Santiago’s museums: The Museum of Memory and Remembering- Never again

The most memorable moments of my Santiago trip took place here. I am not a citizen of Chile but what is told here is very human; the museum tells you the history of the ’73 military coup in Chile. The entrance is free, you may pay for the audio guides if you like. At the entrance hall we start by reading about the truth commissions; in which countries, when and for what reasons were founded these commissions. Then we pass to the pictures of the commemoration centres of the coup in different...

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Pablo Neruda’s house and his life story: the roads traversed for poetry

Thanks to Pablo Neruda Foundation the three houses of the poet in Santiago, Valparaiso and Isla Negro can be visited today. We are now at one of his houses, ‘La Chascona’ that is located at the Bellavista neighbourhood in Santiago. It was built in 1953 by the poet for his lover Matilde, still secret at that time, and was later used by the couple till the death of the poet a couple of days later to the coup in 1973. It is a nice house built on a hill, filled with eccentric objects, you visit...

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Santiago’s neighborhoods: Bella Vista, Lastarria, Barrio Italia

At both sides of the Mapuche River you will find colourful, lively, touristic neighbourhoods. The one close to the old town and the Plaza de las Armas is the Lastarria neighbourhood. The cultural centre of Gabriela Mistral is located here, with one entrance on the Libertador Avenue, other looking at to a back street of Lastarria (Gabriela Mistral was the first Latin American poet to win the Nobel price, and just like Pablo Neruda she was born in a poor village in Chile and then her verses...

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Walking the old town: from Plaza de las Armas to La Moneda

The centre of the old town of Santiago is Plaza de las Armas. A square surrounded by historical buildings, at one side you will see the Cathedral where the archbishop resides. At one side of the square is the post office in a white neoclassic historical building. At the other side is the Museum of National History. Couple of blocks away from the square you can visit the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art, which is a must (detailed story). Again if you walk couple of blocks from the square, this time...

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MAC 100, Voluspa Jarpa, Nuestra pequeña región por acá

On the Matucana Avenue where the Memory Museum and Modern Art Museum are located is a contemporary art space. I was lucky to visit Voluspa Jarpa’s work, Chile’s internationally acclaimed prominent artist. It is called ‘Here at this small land of ours’ referring to Latin America, ironically calling it small. Hundreds of documents are hanging from the ceiling, they look like a copy of A4 papers made in plastic, also iron notebooks on tables where you find the files of official correspondence...

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Ritoque: the open city of architects and artists, the name of an utopia

Before arriving in Valparaiso we stop in Ritoque, an open city by the ocean built in the 1970s by a group of architects and artists aiming to found a collective on a three hundreds hector land. It was actually an experiment to found a city from nowhere; at that time if you think the place without an infrastructure, electricity, water, gas, it must have been quite an adventure. After almost sixty years have passed today it is still a collective place where seven families and forty seven people...

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A day trip to Valparaíso, the colourful port city on the Pacific

Yes, Santiago is full of museums, cafés, restaurants, vibrant cultural life. But if you want to see the ocean you will need to go to Valparaíso! A port city, it is located about two hours drive from Santiago; with its suburbs it is the second most populated place in Chile. Before the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, at the end of the 19th century, it was an important transit point for ships traveling from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific crossing the Magellan Channel. That was the...

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The Architecture Biennial in Valparaiso: The inevitable dialogues

We were at the opening ceremony of the 20th Architecture Biennial held in Valparaiso between 26 Oct and 10 Nov, organised by the faculties of architecture in Chile. The conceptual frame of the Biennial is ‘Inevitable Dialogues’ The current situation of the world: a population of more than seven billion people, almost half of which live in urban places. The city is increasingly unequal, the poverty line is increasing each day, many people feel excluded and they are actually the ones at margins...

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