May 15, 2022 7:55 pm

How was the opening of the southernmost Night of Ideas in the world from Ushuaia

The Night of Ideas arrived, for the first time, in Ushuaia, where the official inauguration of the sixth edition of the international meeting dedicated to thought and Social Sciences took place. With the presence of Claudia Scherer-Effosse, Ambassador of France in Argentina; Gustavo Melella, Governor of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands; and Daniela Gutiérrez, general manager of Fundación Medifé, between organizers and guests, The opening of the southernmost Night of Ideas in the world also featured a talk from Antarctica by researcher Pablo Fontana, which was broadcast via streaming.

Presented by the ambassador as “an exceptional edition” with the motto (Re)build the common, the 2022 edition expands from its traditional venues on the Buenos Aires coast (Ostende and Mar del Plata) to eight cities in the country: in addition to the Fuegian capital, for two days (Thursday and Friday) the programming takes place in Tucumán, Santa Fe , Rosario, Mendoza, Córdoba, Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata.

For Scherer-Effosse, the motto (Re)constructing the common “in itself constitutes an invitation to bridge the distances of time and space, and to focus precisely on what brings us together, sustains and makes our lives possible and the life that surrounds us: the common”.

The Argentine flag flies outside the Sweden refuge, on the island of Cerro Nevado, Antarctica

“After an almost entirely virtual pandemic edition, the Night of Ideas returns this January 27 and 28, in its sixth edition, with the purpose of exploring the resilience and reconstruction of our societies that faced each other during these two years of pandemic. to unique challenges; cooperation between individuals, groups and governments; the mobilization of civil society, the appreciation of diversity and the common goods that sustain our existence. Here in Argentina it also aims to relink different times and territories. If before the year 2020 the essential actions of the Night of Ideas took place on the coast of Buenos Aires, following the rhythm of the Buenos Aires vacations, this new edition intends to be decidedly federal”, added the French ambassador.

Representing Fundación Medifé, Gutiérrez said: “2022 is undoubtedly the year in which the main task will be (re)construction. And this great undertaking can only be carried out successfully if it is a common task, usually, among all and together. It is no longer about our own species, it has become very clear, but the changes that are imposed on humanity have to be made with all the species that accompany us in life on Earth. The journey is very complex and long, it will require many instances of reflection and action to be able to repair and heal the effects that the pandemic has had on life and subjectivity in the years 2020 and 2021.

Image of the Argentine camp on Cerro Nevado island shown by researcher Pablo Fontana at the inaugural conference
Image of the Argentine camp on Cerro Nevado island shown by researcher Pablo Fontana at the inaugural conference

As Scherer-Effosse detailed, the The program of the Night of Ideas in Ushuaia “is articulated around three thematic axes: the original peoples, the tides and the oceanographic and Antarctic heritage. None of them is the result of chance. It appeals to a common denominator, both human and environmental, a heritage that unites us and brings us together in the full sense of the word. It also refers to the past, present and future of our Franco-Argentine cooperation in these southern territories”.

Later, from the Sweden refuge on the Island of Cerro Nevado in Antarctica, Fontana, doctor in History from the University of Buenos Aires and coordinator of the Social Sciences area of ​​the Argentine Antarctic Institute, gave the first conference of this cycle in the middle of a frozen landscape. Through the camera, the researcher showed the facilities of the cabin built in 1902 that has served since then as a refuge for the different expedition members. And he also showed part of the wild and lonely environment in which he works with his team in the recovery and enhancement of objects that are part of the Antarctic historical heritage. The talk can be seen and heard in its entirety at this link.

Via streaming, Pablo Fontana gave the first talk from Antarctica
Via streaming, Pablo Fontana gave the first talk from Antarctica

One of those pieces is a rudder of the ship Austral El Francés, of the Antarctic expedition that the French undertook Jean-Baptiste Charcot in 1903. The ship sank in 1904. Now Fontana and his team want to make an expedition to rescue the objects submerged by the shipwreck. “I tell it – he said – as an example of the motto of the Night of Ideas: rebuild what is common between France and Argentina, two nations that maintain great ties of cooperation.”

The first day of the Austral Night continued at the close of this edition with a talk by the photographer and curator Agnes Voltz on “The expeditions of Dr. Charcot in Antarctica” at the beginning of the 20th century. And, later, with the inauguration of the exhibition “French expeditions in Antarctica, history and current affairs of Franco-Argentine cooperation” in the Old Government House.

The refuge of the Antarctic expeditionaries was built in 1902
The refuge of the Antarctic expeditionaries was built in 1902

Music and performance art could not be missing from this meeting, since they were present from the first edition in Ostend in 2017: As the ambassador said, “four artists, two Argentines, Malala Lekander and Violeta García, and two French, Sarah Ritter and Pauline Fondevila, invite us to literally discover through their performances the promise of the sea, the sailboats that move away towards worlds distant, the musical swing of the tides that dialogue with the theories of physics and optical research, the depths of the ocean that respond to the mountains that emerged from the bottom of the water”.

The performance will be repeated on Friday, on the second and last day, which will close with the presentation of the book The cage of the Onas, by its author, Carlos Gamero, accompanied by Vanina Ojeda, from the Selk’nam community and current secretary of Indigenous Peoples.

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