Joya: AiR / Kathryn Hughes / Wales / UK

photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


“I came to Joya: AiR for the solitude, serenity and clarity of mind that I envisaged a week-long residency in an off-grid location in Andalusia would provide. I am currently writing a thesis on philosophy, concerning certain elements of contemporary ‘post-digital’ culture, more specifically how our interactions with digital devices translate our bodies, identities and subjective experiences into algorithms and a ‘data-language’ that leaves a trace of us somewhere in the ether of a ‘virtual space’; a phenomenon that many of us still can’t quite begin to fully grasp, understand or even comprehend.

 The landscape and microclimate of the Sierra Maria-Los Velez Natural Park is one of extremes, and it’s difficult not to be constantly awestruck by its startling natural beauty and deep tranquillity; time seemed slower and stiller there, the senses more in tune with elemental rhythms. Trail running through this testing terrain, negotiating the loose and rocky ground underfoot, became a humbling experience, made bearable by immersion in the densely wooded pine forests of the north-facing slopes, incredible views across the steep sloping valleys, and the occasional glimpse of prematurely blossoming almond trees.

Inspired by conversations with the other resident artists, about trekking to find the prehistoric cave paintings located nearby- preserved on the surface walls of a steep, rocky overhanging shelter within a sheer rock-face- my thinking process began to expand towards how language, writing-systems, drawing, mark-making, and painting developed thousands of years ago, as our primary human technologies for communication and meaning-making. This, in turn, prompted me to take my own writing practice out of the studio and into the terrain of the Sierra Maria-Los Velez Natural Park, drawing small-scale binary code interventions onto the exposed limestone surfaces of the landscape, minor gestures to make-visible the increasingly predominant ‘writing’-system of our digital age.”

Kathryn Hughes

Simon Beckmann