Living La Vida Boca

Today started with a nice walk to the Austral Buenos Aires campus downtown. There we had an awesome lecture about startups and innovation with Ezequiel Banga. The lecture gave us some insight on how to innovate and what it takes to start up a new product. Our lecture was followed by an amazing three course lunch at an Italian restaurant. This might have been my favorite restaurant on the trip thus far, and I am positive everyone left full. Our day concluded with a tour of one of Buenos Aires’ most iconic neighborhoods, La Boca. La Boca is a beautiful neighborhood covered in amazing art and vibrant colors. This neighborhood has a great deal of history in Argentina since immigrants from Europe came to the country. The streets were scattered with vendors of all kinds of jewelry, art, clothing and accessories. The tour of La Boca was definitely one of my favorite activities thus far.

La Boca also displayed several paintings and images of the tango. Some people were performing live tango in the streets and there were also several tango clubs. This neighborhood was in the past and continues today to be a tango hot spot. Both the tango and La Boca are iconic pieces of Argentinian culture and we saw how the two intermeshed as we toured La Boca today.

Throughout the process of innovation, things change and usually become “better” or more advanced from their previous state. However when innovating, it is not necessary to entirely change something. In fact, traditions and histories are often continued through innovation. Throughout innovation, important history that emphasizes certain beliefs and cultures should be maintained. These traditions can be maintained through continuation of certain practices that celebrate that history, or by newly innovated variations of that history. Today, we saw both of these ways as how La Boca is able to express there traditions in the face of progress and innovations. For example, La Boca was flooded with vendors of Argentinian jewelry, artifacts like matte cups and foods. All of these are ways that express La Boca has maintained the tradition of Argentinian culture as it has innovated to economically support itself through its market that attracts tourists. The market in La Boca holds Argentinian traditions and history despite innovation around it. We saw an industrial park in La Boca which is a key sign of innovation in the area which once never had anything close to that. All around the industrial park was street art, some modern, but a lot of art relating to tango or the traditions of Argentina. This is a prime example of how La Boca shows innovation but still exemplifies tradition with its street art and market. Tango has also begun to change and innovate to please today’s youth and get them to participate in the dance more frequently. However despite the new types of music tango is still a “silent dance” which we learned today on our tour. We saw that even though La Boca is changing the tradition that was once there years ago when immigrants arrived still remains in its art and its markets which both express Argentina’s traditions which should always remain in the face of innovation.

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