Posted on September 5, 2012 by Emilia Garcia Romeu
For two months I have been collaborating with Campo Adentro [Inland] “a cultural project in support of rural life,” comprising an international conference, a residency program, an exhibition, and a publication.
Though I am a bit suspicious of artists-working-with-the-community (the artist is generally the only one getting credit or profit while the community becomes a somehow blurry, anonymous backdrop for his/her ego-trip), I really liked Campo Adentro’s 2011 residency projects. They were, for the most part, insightful and direct, and had (thank God) no messianic goals. Despite their different in focus and character, they shared some key common notions. The main one is the fact that rural landscapes are culturally produced, that is, the result of interacting agents and activities (such as agriculture and stockbreeding) through time. Those agents and activities generate ways of living and seeing, as well as objects, words, gatherings, songs, and dances. No nature vs. culture but a hybrid of both. In this context, the function of the rural environment as a productive space is emphasized and claimed, as opposed to current policies directed at reducing it to leisure, pleasure, sight-seeing, and entertainment.