Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires is a multiyear program of initiatives that celebrate the city’s thriving cultural ecosystem. Working with an array of local Cultural Partners, Art Basel Cities is bridging the international and Argentine artworlds through a series of professional collaborations, projects, and exchanges, amplifying Buenos Aires’s position as a cultural destination of choice.

American artist David Horvitz, whose works often juxtapose man-made systems and natural phenomena, has created Señalamiento del cielo (Signaling the Sky), a series of performances that encourage public participation – especially by children – as the work is realized by the release of 200 helium balloons in each of three locations. The spontaneous route of each balloon string as it disappears into the air is an homage to the French artist Marcel Duchamp, who spent a little-known sojourn in Buenos Aires from 1918 to 1919. During this period, the godfather of conceptual art sent his sister instructions for a work he titled Unhappy Readymade: hang a geometry book on a clothesline and subject it to fluctuating weather conditions. Similarly pairing arithmetic (each balloon string is exactly one mile long) with unpredictable forces, Señalamiento del cielo (Signaling the Sky) illustrates man’s sublime futility in the face of nature. The aerial landscape produced by the balloons is a celebration of collective ritual and at the same time a rejection of the industrial city, as our eyes are drawn irresistibly toward the sky. The title is a reference to Argentinian conceptual artist Edgardo Antonio Vigo‘s Señalamientos series, which invites the public to perceive everyday objects as readymades.

This artwork has been realized with assistance from the Ministry of Ambient and Public Space of the City of Buenos Aires. Special thanks to Indura.

Installation views from the performance taken on Friday, September 7, esplanade of the Biblioteca Nacional Mariano Moreno. Photographs by Belen Caputo.
Artist Talk. Sunday, September 9, in front of Fundación Proa, La Boca. Photographs by Belen Caputo.
Installation views from the performance take on Sunday, September 9, waterfront of La Boca. Photographs by Sarah Hanson.