Art projects

Flora memoriae

Flora memoriae

Sofía Moreno Domínguez [In collaboration with Pablo Bernáldez and the Citizens of Alto Najerilla]

Flora memoriae is a community herbarium that seeks to dignify the uses, customs, anecdotes, and memories of people who inhabit (temporarily or permanently) the Alto Najerilla area, with a special focus on the role of women and the involvement of new generations and their impact on rural areas regarding native or cultivated flora.

This initiative has two parts. The first is a social research aiming to prevent the loss of memory about the environment, analyzing the work of women in this regard. The second is a plastic research that aims to develop a visual code that is in tune with all the conversations that have taken place with the predominantly female group in the selected locality within the Alto Najerilla environment.

The Alto Najerilla territory is one of the regions in La Rioja that is suffering the most from depopulation. Its small number of inhabitants (825 according to INE / Municipal Register data, 2022) and a population density of just 1.9 inhabitants/km² constitute a true demographic desert. These two indicators are just a sample that gives us an idea of the seriousness of the situation and the need to undertake actions to stop and, to the extent possible, reverse this delicate situation.

The selected locality for the first survey of Flora memoriae is Viniegra de Abajo. Viniegra de Abajo is a rural locality in La Rioja with 73 inhabitants (census 2023, INE), located between Camero Nuevo and Sierra de la Demanda, in what is known as the aforementioned Alto Najerilla region.

The methodology that Flora memoriae will follow will be the first social part that will try to collect the intra-histories around six types of habitats previously detected by the local collaborator in Flora memoriae Pablo Bernáldez (co-founder of Espacio Arte VACA, curator, and cultural manager). These six habitats are as follows: 1) orchards or naturalized gardens; 2) active horticultural spaces; 3) ruderal areas (or residual spaces); 4) historical gardens; 5) 100% endogenous mountain environment; and 6) former spaces (spaces that in the past had a human use but have now been reclaimed by nature).

The resulting sound map of this initial process will be the breeding ground for the second part of this proposal: artistic research. For this artistic research, the investigations carried out by the material author of this initiative since 2020 in her shared studio Espacio Comun in Nalda, La Rioja, will be taken into account. This technique is based on monotype, or the most pictorial version of engraving, and uses natural plants and inks of different densities that help preserve the naturally present colors in them, thanks to the preservative effect of the added artificial chemicals.

The search for this plastic code will very much consider the chromatic ranges that are part of the ecosystem of Viniegra de Abajo as a locality and the Alto Najerilla region, in more general terms. So much so that, for this purpose, technical visits to the area are being carried out during February and March 2024 to extract this chromatic scale for subsequent use.

Project website

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