On the way down you reach the edge, in the space between the limits of any reservoir, between the water and the land... I am surprised to be able to go down to levels very often flooded by water, where the colours suddenly change, become dusty, grey, faded, as if painted with a first layer of white paint that is not very covering, or dusted with clay, cracked by the same passage of time, converted into what we could call black and white spaces. A strange sensation invades you. Places that are often visited by anonymous passers-by, who walk around their perimeter. Some would say terrain vague or third landscape in the words of Gilles Clement or Foucault's heterotopias. Spaces that to a certain extent, and in many cases have remained hidden, concealed, surviving as strongholds of wasteland, of obsolete and residual spaces, of lost corners, cut off from the productive world and economic activity. Lands that we very often wish to eliminate from the contemporary city, to be associated with pejorative, rejection, insecurity, rubble, dumps. And, that usually occupy in rural surroundings rough reliefs where the access with agricultural machinery becomes difficult, as well as the thresholds of fields, banks, road ditches... And, I think, I would add spaces on the lintel, on the edge of the reservoirs. However, we must understand them, not from the pejorative but from their opposite effect, as territories in suspension and unproductiveness, of places in negative, where the background of every image becomes the foreground, form, the counter map of the administered spaces; different places, but not understanding this as a problem but as an added and necessary value. These are spaces that we also need to live, although it seems to us that the opposite is true. We can appreciate the birth of secondary landscapes, of pioneering plants with very rapid cycles and maximum diversity, with their powerful dynamics of change, of a nature that resists death, and that stubbornly colonises and recolonises, continuously, in rapid cycles of life and death. Spaces that are like cracks of freedom, of experimentation and of breaking the homogeneity of cities, of resistance to the capitalist model. Spaces in which it is still possible to imagine and put into practice a transgressive and creative way of being and doing.
And, on this walk down to the bank, in the middle of the slope, I found a couple of men walking along the bank, brushing against the reservoir. In the distance you can hear the muffled voices of a people bathing and a child playing with the echoes of the closed space formed by the walls of the mountains. I have looked for the cave of the Segre or Vilaplana important prehistoric shelter sunk in the water.
I returned seventeen years later with this place, to take up again a project already started then, in the middle of the construction of the reservoir. During 2000, frightened by this line and its meaning, phrases such as "the reservoir must reach those trees or that roof" were commonplace among the inhabitants of the area, because it was precisely this line that determined the future of its inhabitants, the continuation or not of this territory, depending on the situation of the property, house ... In the end, 435.54 metres would become the highest point.
The lands of Lleida and Huesca, as territories of reservoirs. Wide gap, which delimits and separates artificially and / or naturally both territories. Space of solitudes, in their moment of pain by the forced emigration, that begins many times long before the first stone of the new prey is put, condemned to the disappearance, forces to its inhabitants to the progressive abandonment of which it is his. I have travelled through many of these territories over time, Rialb, Santa Ana, Canelles ... and the uninhabited of Finestres, Fet, Montfalcó, Blancafort, Canelles, Tragó ... or the remains of these, like Bassella...
The border, this painful way and space that I want to preserve, or to make a tribute, here my action as a recording process, of tracing in the way of chromatography, or marks left on the blotting paper of a laboratory, after extracting the chlorophyll or other pigments. To extract the trace, the mark of this landscape, in view of its imminent disappearance. It is a matter of removing what can be preserved. Registering continuous fragments, from this long strip, as a slow and methodical action, that of a pure mechanical record. Action of repetition, before a landscape that is slowly erasing itself without us and our eyes being able to appreciate it.
The result, in the form of a guide or map, refers us to the search for these spaces, from some specific points proposed - coordinated - the reality is that these spaces, landscapes, will be difficult to find, at least as they are presented in this guide, because at the end and at the end of the day, we will not be able to find them.
The trim. Perimeter chromatographs. Artist's book.
* Project originally based on Rialb Reservoir. 2016-17