Monsters and Dust

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Chapter 4: Perito Moreno



Perito Moreno Glacier was named after one of the most famous winka invasores in Patagonia. He was an explorer that was captured by Tehuelches and escaped a day before he was to be executed, going on to become the most celebrated Western explorer in Argentina. He discovered Mount Fitz Roy for the winkas, which was already called Chalten (“Smoking Mountain” after its consistently foggy peak) by the Tehuelches. The outline of this steep mountain is now the logo of Patagonia outdoor clothing company. Juan Pablo, the cousin closest to my age that I had been traveling across Argentina with, showed me around El Chalten before we went south to Calafate, where he works for most of the year. Calafate is the gateway to Perito Moreno, and over dinner at his restaurant I asked Juan to take me up to the glacier the next night. His eyes glossed into recollection as he described the last time he went, and he was easy to convince.



It was March 1st and summer was ending in the southern hemisphere. The waters were getting to be at their warmest, breaking the ice more frequently. We heard distant explosions, and would later see the source of the sounds were giant pieces of ice falling off the glacier into the water. Juan parked the car and I pulled out the equipment that we struggled to find in town earlier that day. My idea was to project a sun onto the glacier, and I used a picture from the internet to do a conceptual Of course the rendering looked nothing like it should have, being that the only pictures of the glacier I could find were taken while the sun was out. For the projection to be visible it would have to happen at night. I had carried the small video projector around with me for months with the hopes of doing this. Like an analog to the projection at S.P. Mountain, it was an experiment, but I still imagined it as an event intended for a very small audience, just myself and another person. As if anyone would come, I absurdly posted an announcement for the event online as I would for a public exhibition, with a map to this remote place. I brought a camera, but I had already made the decision not to take any pictures of the projection. The S.P. Mountain piece was a self-portrait so the photos made sense there, but I didn’t want the specificity of the event at Perito Moreno to be diminished by giving way to the urge to take a snapshot.