In Buenos Aires, There’s a Time and a Place for Smashing Things


Gotta love that slogan! :)

Gotta love that slogan! 🙂

Here in Buenos Aires, the specter of crime and public safety concerns are ever-present. But a particular subset of violent crimes have been grabbing headlines and imaginations in the Argentine capital this year: seemingly small spats between “regular” people that devolve into shockingly violent acts.

In just the past few months there have been reports of a man who killed his neighbor for playing music too loudly, another who killed his neighbor over a party wall dispute, and several cases of traffic disputes that ended in shootings and stabbings. One of the more recent cases involved a man who took an ax to a car blocking his driveway in one of the city’s more upscale neighborhoods.

It’s perhaps not surprising that Argentina’s biggest blockbuster film of 2014, the Oscar hopeful Wild Tales, follows this theme. The movie is a series of vignettes in which difficult, quotidian situations rapidly escalate to violent ends. For better or worse, the film has been inextricably linked with the unique temperament of porteños.

There exists at least one homegrown business in Buenos Aires that caters to these supposedly local impulses: The Break Club, a unique space that opened a couple of years ago, is just a short walk from where that guy took an ax to the ill-parked car. It offers a space where users can safely let loose their pent up aggression by destroying objects—items like glass bottles, computer monitors or television sets, which can either be brought in or purchased at the club.


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