Thursday Dec 22, 2022

Asturias, Spain: Tuning into the struggles of a post-industrial region #4 Ana Carreño

Ana Carreño takes us to public beach in Gijón/Xixon that is sandwiched between two industrial sites. While we look for a spot for our the interview we pass three women on a bench. One of them is singing. She says she used to sing a lot when she was young. Singing is a rural tradition. As a young woman she moved to the city for work and stopped singing. 

A job in the mines or the steel industry was an escape from rural poverty. But since the 80ies, when Spain joined the EU, mines were closed and industry declined. Architect and researcher Carreño studies the post industrial landscape. What happens when the activitity disappears, but memories and remnants are still present? This spatial confusion – or heterotopia as Michel Foucault calls it – comes with challenges and opportunities. Carreño grew up here, her grandfather drove the coal train from the mines in Aviles the harbour of Gijon. What kind of future does she picture for this shrinking city? How to deal with degrowth?

We dive into the economic history of the region and talk about the current spatial quality of the city. We look the revitalisation of Bilbao: from industrial community to cultural hub. But not every jobless mineworker can become a barista in a glossy coffeeshop. We also touch upon Ana’s own practise as an architect and artist. Does she consider Heterotopia as her habitat?


More on Ana Carreño:
About ‘heteropías’ (plural places):
More on regional singing: 

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