12.2016 — On-going

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w/ María Boto Ordóñez + Inés Cámara Leret — Work enabled by Laboratorio 987 at MUSAC — w/ Laboratory of Diatomology from the University of León

Tierra de diatomeas (Land of diatoms) is a hybrid research project which begun in 2016 by the artists, soon incorporating ethnobotanist Dr. Estrella Alfaro and diatomologist Dr. Saúl Blanco in its development. The project explores relationships between the territory of Castile and León and its people through the study of diatoms, addressed as a metaphor to establish a dialogue, trace historical events and discuss existing and desirable narratives of the earth, its waters and its inhabitants.

In 1989, the Plaza del Grano in León was restored for the last time using a traditional paving technique by the Seoane brothers. Carried out with their support, the Suelo Vivo (living ground) intervention at Laboratorio 987 (MUSAC), alludes to the inheritance of a vernacular knowledge of the territory, its uses and misuses, against the incipient, local anesthesia of the square due to its planned rehabilitation using cement. The active memory of traditional ways of doing and knowing, is thus suggested by giving visibility to the daily life of the microscopic world on which we walk.

The work accessed specific research tools, such as the scanning electron microscope, imparting an exercise of scale by visualising communities and individuals unseen by the naked eye. A SEM image was produced depicting stories of migration by visualising diatoms from the water channel of Castile, which irrigates the fields near the town of Cascón de la Nava. The town was newly constructed to house the displaced residents from the mountain town of Riaño, flooded along with 8 other towns upon the construction of a dam in the early 1980s.

Nonetheless, the research tools, generated during the development of Land of diatoms, started from simple materials and extended beyond the scientific sampling process. Luis, painter and water diviner, vibrates with the presence of water and measures a network of forces through his copper wires. His feeling of space was recorded by tracing its lines on the floor of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC), an approximation to the various individual and collective understandings of the territory.

2017 — SCL et al.