We have arrived in Asturias! We stay in a wonderful former casería (farm house), turned into a residence: PACA, Projectos Artisticos Casa Antonino. Before our guests arrive we have time to walk around the premises and talk with Virginia López founder of PACA and our contextual guide for this week.
But first: why are we here, in central Asturias, Spain, at the rural fringes of the (post)industrial city of Gijón/Xixón? We travelled here wondering if the strong working class identity of the region with its unions, strikes, and hard fought victories still lives on today, as the industrial decline that started in the 80ies, continues. At the same time, we see that tourism and leisure are becoming an important economic activity and ‘rewilding’ is high on the agenda of policy makers, making it food for marketeers who advertise Asturias as a ‘natural paradise’. Reality is obviously way more complex than a marketing slogan. Will the worker’s culture of solidarity be the social foundation for Asturias future? And can this future be a plural future – that doesn’t deny Asturias’ pastoral past and – more rural – ways of helping each other out?
In this talk we learn more about the region and reasons why Virginia returned to her home ground. A talk about forgotten connections between people, animals and crops and the confused state of the landscape as a result of this. We look at Virginia’s artistic practice and her role as placemaker. López sees herself as an outgoing swarm of bees and a solitude seeking hermit at the same time. Where will this paradox take her in the near future?
Trailer of the Red Difusa documentary by Green Cube Network:
English summary of the publication ‘Culturarios · Humus De Iniciativas Culturales En El Campo’ (scroll down):
Concierto de Pitos y Flautas, by Fernando Oyágüez Reyes: