Lloc, Memòria i Salicòrnies (Place, Memory and Salicornias) is an artistic intervention within the framework of the Life Pletera project which, with the support of the European Commission and other entities and institutions, has recovered a natural area opposite the Medes Islands, between Torroella and L’Estartit, called La Pletera.
During the 1980s, several campaign groups launched a process to lobby against the construction of a housing complex which had been started in La Pletera. These campaigns, which went on during the early years of the 21st century and lasted until the onset of the property crisis, ultimately brought an end to the building of the complex. Thus, once the area had been completely abandoned, a group of biologists led by Xavier Quintana initiated the process to fully recover the natural setting, the sand dunes and the wetlands of the area. Although the initiative was launched on the impetus of a scientific group, the artistic activity titled Lloc, Memòria i Salicòrnies has been implemented as part of Life Pletera.
Lloc, Memòria i Salicòrnies is a curatorial project which seeks to include a series of specific artistic interventions in the recovery of La Pletera to complement the (de)reconstruction work, adding values and statements which, a priori, might go unnoticed. There are five proposed activities, conducted during the period of implementation of Life Pletera.
Forma 26 Pletera, Esteve Subirah
Esteve Subirah has preserved 90m2 of the paving of the urban promenade which, given the recovery of the natural area and the (de)reconstruction that has taken place, currently remains as an exempted structure.
S/T Instal·lació de columnes recuperades, Joan Vinyes
Joan Vinyes is currently installing his work titled S/T Instal·lació de columnes recuperades (S/T Installation of recovered pillars), which involves recovering some of the pillars of the two viewpoints on the promenade of the complex and placing them in another location. Thus, a ruin is built so that these remains of the housing complex continue to form part of the landscape, thereby re-contextualizing them and initiating a process of interaction with the natural ecosystem in the area, in a dialogue with the salicornias which grow there, dramatizing the struggle.
Miratges, Isadora Wilson
Miratges (Mirages) presents different stories in video format which compile memories of the place in the pre-construction, construction and (de)re-construction phases. It is a video-graphic work which brings together the memories of various citizens who have links with the area around La Pletera and which sews together a patchwork of all the memories of the area.
Human Nature, Ivó Vinuesa
Human Nature is a cinematographic document which shows the uses of the area around La Pletera in order to discover the relationships between human activity and natural activity in an endless modification process. The piece takes the form of the documentary genre and, more specifically, emulates the National Geographic book style in order to detail the ecosystem of the fauna in La Pletera, the behaviour patterns of the waters and the social agents who interact with the environment.
Històries d’entretemps, Jordi Morell
This intervention is based on a set of photographs which have eventually become an artist’s book. Therefore, Històries d’entretemps (Stories of the meantime) is an editorial work to catalogue and archive the wide array of images of remains, marks, signs and traces of time which now affect the area of La Pletera. All the collection work undertaken by Jordi Morell generates substrata, brought together by the artist in a display case that becomes an art gallery, a kind of heterodox museum.
La caseta de La Pletera, Mar Serinyà, Jofre Oliveras, Nico Feragnli and the Buit Collective
La caseta de La Pletera (The substation of La Pletera) is the facility which was built to provide energy for the housing complex. Mar Serinyà, Jofre Oliveras, Nico Feragnli and the Buit Collective have created two cycles of interventions on the walls of this area in partnership with El Bòlit, Centre of Contemporary Art. Girona.
Some people might think that the aims of Lloc, Memòria i Salicòrnies are to embellish the process of (de)reconstruction, applauding the synergies between art and science and the commitment to being transversal. But that’s not really the case. Martí Peran, the project’s artistic coordinator, explains that the intention is to demonstrate the problematic nature of the recovery of natural areas. Interventions, be they scientific, artistic or of any other nature, occur within a time-based linearity. This fact demonstrates that any kind of intervention in a natural setting, although it may be well-meant and genuine and intended to recover the land, is not a retreat, but rather an advance in a single direction and, consequently, it is no more than a further manipulation of the land.
Lloc, Memòria i Salicòrnies does not seek to turn the natural setting of La Pletera into a museum; instead, it aims to visualize the intrinsic problems involved in the gesture of recovering a natural area. It is not a retreat, it is a re-intervention and, therefore, this project must be perceived with all its consequences. Within this context, art acts to highlight a problem, making it more visible. “Art has the function of accelerating problems when they are only latent, multiplying antagonists and incorporating new voices into the social debate. We can’t just applaud, presupposing that art appeases, because its role shouldn’t be that, if should be to keep things constantly in the open so that, where there is a chiaroscuro, consciousness can be born”, explains Martí Peran.
The recovery of the natural area of La Pletera covers a period of up to six years. It was begun in 2012 and is expected to last throughout 2018.
Left photography: Forma 26 Pletera, 2015-17
remains of housing complex and gunited concrete, 1500 x 600 x 170 cm