Learning from Las Cuencas, an exhibition which aims to offer a new vision on the Asturian mining valleys

Coproduced by LABoral and the SabadellHerrero bank, it will be shown from 27 September at the Centro de Arte in Gijón and in the Exhibition Hall of SabadellHerrero in Oviedo

Published: May 03, 2013
Learning from Las Cuencas, an exhibition which aims to offer a new vision on the Asturian mining valleys

The photograph, taken in Cortina, Turón, represents the four landscapes of Las Cuencas: natural, rural, industrial and urban. Photo: Nacho Ruiz Allén and Sara López Arraiza

Aprendiendo de las Cuencas [Learning from Las Cuencas] is a research project on the cultural landscape of the Asturian coal mining basins which, from September, will be captured in an exhibition with twin venues: LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón and at SabadellHerrero’s art exhibition hall in Oviedo.

The research, carried out by Nacho Ruiz Allén and Sara López Arraiza, who are members of Zon-e Arquitectos and also the exhibition’s curators, shows that the coexistence of the natural, rural, industrial and urban landscapes has not happened in a regulated and planned way. The limits between each one are vaguely defined and this makes it difficult to accurately pin down the area of influence for each of them. As a whole, “Las Cuencas” [Asturian coal-mining areas] is seen as a magma of contrasting but intertwined identities The complicated terrain of the area together with the short period of time that has elapsed since these valleys lost their original configuration has brought the entry into conflict of the four landscapes forming it.

Both the study and the future exhibition seek to try out a new perspective aimed at sensitively and culturally reactivating this area, placing it, if possible, in an exchange network of knowledge and experience at national and European levels. In the words of the curators, “We should understand that it is not enough to recover and preserve the industrial heritage of the mining basins in an original state - mummified. Its recuperation must by necessity be accompanied by identifying the special virtues that this landscape has. The challenge of sustainability in the sensitive economic context we find ourselves has to involve before anything else the ability to manage the heritage handed down, one of the first steps of which is its valuation. In the specific case of the Asturian coal mining basins, in clear decline for some time, it is even more necessary now to implement these types of actions”.

Initiation and Dreamlike Speculation
Starting from the identification, selection and cataloguing of those examples of architecture, buildings or urban elements that are representative of this unique environment and, in their opinion, have no equivalent in Europe, Aprendiendo de las Cuencas will act in Oviedo as a rite of passage. With the title Artefactos de la Memoria [Artefacts of the Memory], on display will be the results from the documentation and cataloguing work conducted in the research process with an analytical and informative intention. In this way, the exhibition hall of the SabadellHerrero bank will show the bibliographic references from the study, the most striking examples of the “artefacts” - the word used by the curators to refer to the hybrid architectures that are at the core of this project - and other pieces linked to the sound memory of the Asturian mining valleys.

The Mediateca Expandida [Expanded Mediatheque] at LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón, will host as a dreamlike speculation Espectros, proyecciones y ensoñaciones [Spectres, Projections and Fantasies], through which an extension of the objectives, analysis and methods representative of these architectures is proposed, and which will involve the collaboration of different artists with specific productions: Fran Meana wishes to explore our capacity to imagine the future, combining documentary film, works of fiction and utopian architectural projects; Bárbara Fluxá will conduct a reading on the implications of this particular juxtaposition of landscapes (natural, rural, industrial and urban). Continuing with the line of work initiated by LABoral in El arte y su sonido [Art and its Sound], La mina y su sonido [The Mine and its Sound] will be developed, which is a proposal in collaboration with the critic and curator José Manuel Costa with the support of the artist and phonographist Juanjo Palacios. This will include the development of four sound landscaping pieces by Óscar de Ávila, Edu Comelles, Mind Revolution and Daniel Romero, as well as a call to hold a mixtapes competition from mid-October 2013 until mid-February 2014.

In addition, different exercises in the re-meaning of the architecture of Las Cuencas and graphic speculations of other possible artefacts will be included with proposals by different architects and groups.

FACT SHEET
Dates: 27.09.2013-16.03.2014
Production: LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial and SabadellHerrero
Curators: Nacho Ruiz Allén and Sara López Arraiza from Zon-e Arquitectos
Artists: Óscar de Ávila, Edu Comelles, Bárbara Fluxá, Fran Meana, Mind Revolution and Daniel Romero
Venue: Exhibition Hall SabadellHerrero, Oviedo, and Mediateca Expandida at LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón.

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