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"Plaza de la Aviación" (Aviation Plaza, if that isn't apparent) is a park and fountain in Providencia, Chile, located right between Avenida Providencia, and the Rio Mapoche. It forms part of the Parque Forestal, a green pedestrian walkway that stretches from downtown Santiago to the eastern suburbs. The plaza is small, about 100 by 200 meters.

Along with the normal park-like assortment of benches and trees and cannabis fumes, the park has two major attractions: one, the Fuente Bicententario, a lighted fountain that shoots water at various heights and patterns, and two, the the monument to Aviation, a long spindle of oddly angled metal that reminds me something of an abstract Concord. It is a popular place to stop and watch the shifting, hypnotic patterns of the water, and I spent many an afternoon and evening doing just that.

On a somewhat more discordant note, the plaza was dedicated to the Air Force of Chile, in 1980, meaning during the dictatorship. So it is possible to look at this sculpture, not as a somewhat-wonky looking tribute to the wonders of flight, but as a reminder of the military dictatorship that abused and murdered so many people in Chile. Given that this is still a sensitive topic, it is interesting that people still find this an unobjectionable place to hang out and have fun. This is relevant to the United States, where monuments to the Confederacy are currently seen as odious. In the right circumstances, people can repurpose history: the park goers have chosen to just view this monument as a fun place with a weird sculpture, and have divorced it from its original meaning of reactionary military glorification.

Brevity Quest 2020

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