At the end of 1968, once Tucumán Arde [Tucumán is Burning] had abruptly culminated, there was a new attempt to propel the formation of a communal space that would bring diverse cultural groups together toward a political intervention. Towards the end of December, a series of meetings were convened at the Sociedad Argentina de Artistas Plásticos (SAAP) under the title “Primer Encuentro de Buenos Aires, Cultura 1968” [First Encounter of Buenos Aires, Culture 1968]. The initiative—which began with Margarita Paksa—included the participation of fifty intellectuals. It was called to carry out an assessment of various cultural experiences then taking place in theater, journalism, literature, sociology, cinema, and the visual arts in order to contemplate a juncture with politics. In addition to a debate regarding the standing of each group, the convocation also proposed the determination of political-cultural actions that could be implemented collectively.
“Cultura 1968” denotes the effort to gather together the broad spectrum of the cultural field: broad not only due to the diversity of disciplines represented, but also because many of those present had maintained contrasting positions (political, cultural-political, and aesthetic) for years.
The Encuentro was extended to March 1969, with weekly meetings attended by fifty to two hundred people at the SAAP premises (Florida 846), but the extension of the scheduled dates was not due to the realization of the group’s project. It was due to a fierce debate that broke out regarding the work and funding for the sociological research team known as “Proyecto Marginalidad” [Underground Project]. The accusations against those researchers, as well as their aftershocks, suggested a new axis that displaced the focus of the discussion and ended by obstructing the formulation of new common initiatives.
Ricardo Carpani, one of the speakers present, had by that time worked for more than a decade creating murals and graphics for unions and other organizations belonging to the Argentinean workers’ movement. He was there to represent the artists of SAAP (incuding Carlos and Alberto Alonso, Esperilio Bute, Carlos Clemen, Ignacio Colombres, Juan Carlos Castagnino, Mario Erlich, Nanni Capurro, Julio Martínez Howard, Pablo Obelar, Alfredo Plank, Carlos Sessano, Juan Sánchez, Franco Venturi and Carpani himself). In October 1968 SAAP organized a group exhibition at its headquarters on the first anniversary of Che Guevara’s assassination.