“Portland del Ebro” originates from the piece “An Action of Buying Shares,” which dealt with the buying and selling of shares of a former cement factory in Almatret. The factory was located in the Catalan- Aragonese border region, at the foot of the Ribarroja Reservoir, partially submerged in it. Although built between 1956 and 1962, it would never become operational. A mega-project - as the media of the time claimed - that was supposed to be one of the largest and most significant in Europe. The work starts with a prior study of the territory, the company, its history, which is what anyone who was a shareholder and wanted to buy shares would typically do, and then moves on to the absurd buying and selling of these shares through internet portals.
The project also overlays some stories of people, those generated from following the actions themselves.
“Portland del Ebro” aims to position us around the idea of capitalism, the value of money - it’s essentially an economic project - but at the same time in relation to art, as it situates itself on this scale of values or evades it, at least some conceptual currents. Or the artist’s inability, in this case, to understand how to generate value and money from their actions, which are now art.
“Portland del Ebro” is the story of a large company that didn’t have the expected history, as a cement factory, or a cement project without raw materials. Everything, in principle, is approached from the scale of the grand project, its stridency, and visual opulence, monumental, as one would expect from structures of such magnitude. Didi Huberman, in “Survival of Fireflies,” might say that these are the dazzling reflec- tions of the great state machines. But at the same time, as we end up realizing, ourselves, as fireflies we are, in the small hidden things - those that we don’t see at first, half blinded by the reflectors of so much visual pomp - like the natural traces engraved on their walls and supporting elements, or the holes and their absences.
From the technicalities or the idea of modern progress, we might perhaps think that it’s a dystopian pro- ject. But beyond that, there’s an attempt, a desire, a proposal, to understand and reclaim these spaces from oblivion and silence, those that have been generated from the waste of capitalism, but which now, unused, removed from financial movements and markets, allow - as long as we can maintain their ruinous condition - us to think of them and consider them as new unknown lands, “finisterres,” (end of the terrain) like this one in Almatret, from where we can begin to experiment and create.
Link to the article by Ana G. Chouciño. "Olga Olivera-Tabeni, Port Land of the Ebro, the Possibility of a Finisterre."