Posts tagged andalucía
Joya: AiR / Leah Teschendorff / Australia

"We dream of time to concentrate on our work: reading, thinking, experimenting and playing with ideas without pressure or the weight of daily existence and chores as a distraction. Time at Joya: AiR affords the realisation of that dream... a light-filled studio. A beautiful, calm house with inspiring things all around, textured surfaces, art, books, wonderful energy and the air filled with the delicious smells of Donna Beckmann's cooking. At night it is silent (apart from the singing crickets) and the stars in the black sky are brilliant. As I walked for hours every day I observed the impact of agriculture on the arid landscape and the patterns created by humans and animals. I noted the specialised flora: pine and juniper trees, wild rosemary, thyme, santolina, and euphorbia. My work was inspired by the stunning landscape around me and go home to my studio with a new body of work and ideas to develop. Thank you Simon and Donna"!


Leah Teschendorff

Joya: AiR / Marie Charlotte Carrier / Canada

‘During my short week at Joya, I met incredible people and had fabulous food. Each day, Simon and Donna were more and more welcoming. Because of their openness and availability, I was able to concentrate on my curatorial research. Just like my current project, Joya: AiR is guided in the landscape and its ecology is a constant inspiration. I feel privileged to have been part of this family even for such a short week’.

Marie Charlotte Carrier


Joya: AiR / Benjamin Deakin / UK

“I generally prefer not to make too many plans before doing residencies and let ideas develop out of the experiences I have on them instead. In the course of several walking and cycling trips in the area around Los Gázquez I was struck by the conjunction of forest, crags and the geometric forms created by the agricultural practices in the area. Particularly the rows of almond and olive trees set agains the softly shaded earth of the fields. Geometric and abstract forms crop up regularly within the landscape structure of my paintings. I also enjoyed exploring the Barrancos, each twist and turn becoming a minute landscape in itself, a child’s eye view of the world.

This prompted me to try something which I have wanted to do for a long time but had never found the right environment for. I made various geometric props in the studio using some leftover building materials I found here combined with the rudimentary materials I had brought with me. I then carried these to the Barranco and set up a series of stage-like arrangements within these micro-landscapes. I am looking forward to using the photographs of these small installations as starting points for paintings and drawings back in London, but the process itself is something I would like to try again in different environments and with different materials”.

Ben Deakin

Joya: AiR / Alan Franklin / UK

‘Way back in the early 70’s on day one of the sculpture course at St. Martins School of Art we were simply given ½ cwt slab of clay and told to work with it, to use no other materials other than a base board and not to exchange clay with other students. No further instructions or staff input was given for the duration of the five-day project.

Similar minimal projects followed and I found I enjoyed the constraints and sense of challenge these tasks presented. One could have no preconceived intentions,but had to rely on spontaneous improvisation, play and invention. This particular strategy seemed to suit me and I learned a confidence in exploring materials and ideas and not knowing quite where they were going. Content could be uncovered rather than prescribed. I began to recognize that the outcome and reward I was seeking was surprise, and through a process of play and interrogation I could arrive at a place I had not been before.

So many years later and with a much older head on I now find that residencies can take me back to that first day at St. Martins. Parachuted from my familiar studio into a new environment without my usual panoply of tools and tried and tested processes I enjoy the same sense of challenge and anticipation of surprise and discovery.

Residencies in remote locations such as Baer in Iceland, Café Tissardmine in Morocco and Joya: AiR in Andalusia amplify the challenge and inevitably force more surprising inventions. The isolation brings a focus and the unique landscape a new and particular inspiration. To have no plan or project seems to work best for me. I like to just arrive and respond to what is there. I have acquired a faith that something will happen’.

Alan Franklin

Joya: AiR / Roxana Perez Mendez & Mario Marzan / Puerto Rico

Roxana Perez Mendez and Mario Marzan

‘Blooming from our center, we trekked forth in the Sierra Maria — Los Velez –looping from a center, immersing in the rosemary-fragrant and almond blossom spotted landscape, pivoting, scaling, descending and returning back to center. Our dialogue between body and landscape becomes a way to travel in time as well as space, to understand the landscape short of painting it. This informs how we relate to the natural world in an artistic context—our bodies are the instruments, our path the music. Making art about the landscape is one way of listening to the world, walking the landscape is another.

We began the residency at JOYA with a conversation, confronting triumphant yet troubled interpretations of nature and our practice’s relationship to it, aiming to answer tough questions about the perceptions of the environment, its ascribed meanings and shortcomings in reaching diverse perspectives. It was a direction that joined our individual practices. Most of our research while at Sierra Maria — Los Velez involved peripatetic modes of investigating places and employing logistics of outdoor navigation that respond to the landscape’s history, its people and the ecological imprints on the land. The terraces scraped into the mountain surface, the long worn paths scarred into the terrain, farms that form a wondrous cardiovascular system for water, Nature’s defiance in reclamation, all oriented us to our own geographic discoveries of the region. Witnessing the tremendous challenges, the landscape surrounding JOYA faces, our work points us to a direction of land conservation and to challenge what “Leave No Trace” ethics means to land long employed in support of human activity.

The time at JOYA allowed us to have conversations and brainstorm on a project we are calling CAMPO RESEARCH STUDIO, a collaboration that fosters the integration of nature and art through creative production and education, exploring the philosophical origins of walking, their connections to contemporary art, history, conservation and other intercultural connections. We walked nearly every day, looping routes that covered more than 120 kilometers. We started small and took paths that deviated off the trail into the dry contours of the mountains, searched for ancient caves, collected samples and photographs. Ultimately, our spirit grew with discovery as we walked into the nearby towns of Velez-Blanco and Maria, spiriting small interventions and performances, interacting with the people, the architecture and extensive trail system. Each of these explorations circled us back to JOYA, to our peers in residence and to the Beckmanns. Our paths formed a bloom with JOYA at its fixed center of origin, a spirograph upon the map. As we left, it was clear that a new loop was created. Our practice upon the landscape was initiated and our work, set forth at JOYA, will be complete upon our return’.

As our personal interest in hiking, trekking, and ecocriticism has grown, Mario Marzan and I (Roxana Perez-Mendez) are starting a new artistic collaboration that brings together our joint interest in the pedestrian, pedantic experience and the landscape, mirroring our collaboration on a new study abroad program that takes students through the Camino de Santiago while producing art all along the way. We want to embark on a small body of work based and produced while on a series of long distance hikes that enables us to generate visual, performative and written notation, correspondence, and further historic research. In this new context, the landscape will become our studio and the length of the walk our site.  

This new partnership is centred on a common feature in our work in which the ways in which human constructs of land influence our experience of place. These particular contexts exist in our individual work: I have created video performances embedded in Pepper’s Ghosts Holograms and installations that situate the viewer into an Other’d landscape while Mario has created drawings and installations that reference the graphically encoded language of cartography and tropical weather patterns. Similarly, in both of our work, we interrogate the nineteenth-century Romantic landscape tropes and traditions. For this residency, we will, through the undertaking of a pilgrimage/series of long walks, undertake this discourse within the Parque Natural Sierra María – Los Vélez in order to experiment together the ways our mind frames the land and our experience of landscape. With this work we aim to demonstrate the vitality of deep-lasting human connections to land use by interweaving autobiographic and historic narratives into our experience of this park. 


Artist and Associate Professor Roxana Pérez Méndez: 
Professor Roxana Pérez-Méndez is a video performance and installation artist who creates work about the slippery nature of contemporary of history and identity through the lens of her own experience as a Puerto Rican woman. Her research interests include installation, site specific and video performance, imprint of the landscape or loss of landscape on the self, post-colonial/colonial identity, Spanish colonial history, Caribbean migration and migration politics, tourism and pilgrimages. Roxana embarked on her first Camino in 2012 and has logged thousands of miles on foot since. She holds a BFA from The Ohio State University and a MFA from Tyler School of Art. 

Artist and Associate Professor Mario Manuel Marzán: 
Professor Mario Marzán is an artist who creates work about the constantly shifting, changing and evolving negotiation of liminal spaces in relation to individual and cultural identities and histories. His research interests include landscape drawing and painting, investigations of place and space as a way to discuss identity, and maps as modes of representation. Among drawing courses, Professor Marzán teaches an immersive Walking Seminar course on the intersections of art and nature during UNC Maymesters. An avid hiker and long distance backpacker, Mario carries a NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute Wilderness First Aid certification and has walked both the Camino del Norte and the Camino Frances. He holds a BFA from Bowling Green University and a MFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Joya: AiR / Ankica Mitrovska / Macedonia

‘My recent move to my home country of Macedonia has kept me so occupied with a collaborative project I was working on that didn’t allowed me the time to spend on developing ideas for a new body of work. That is when I realized I needed an artist residency to attend. Not just any artist residency, but a residency that offered a creative environment while focusing on sustainable living, a direct connection with the surrounding nature and environmental understanding. That was what Joya: arte + ecologia was all about. The location and isolation of the residency allowed time to reflect, time to create, time to engage with other artists and time to be with self.

I summarize the two weeks at the Joya residency with:  the long walks and the white wet clay stuck to the shoes, the smell of the wild rosemary bushes, the wild boar tracks and the wild goat poop reminding of their existence, the crumbly stones and rocks under the feet, the collecting and eating almonds from the surrounding almond trees, the taste of the dried back olives from the olive trees, the finger licking tasty dinners prepared by Simon and Donna and the after dinner conversations, the presentations, the moments of creating in my studio, the short daily walks of Fufu and Uuu, the night sky and billions stars, the bird singing conversations with the contrasting sound of the silence, the sound of the harmonica played on top of the surrounding hills and all that toped with mesmerizing views’.


Ankica Mitrovska

Joya: AiR / Melanie Moczarski / New York, USA

‘I came here to be IN what inspires my work. Living and working in Brooklyn, NY,  I make things that connect me to what I would call the tendencies of natural places and their elements. For me, this has a lot to do with nature’s gestures and movements, a signature to all things natural that translates regardless of form.

I didn’t bring materials knowing I wanted to be impressed with the place and know myself through that impression, deciding later what form my work at Joya: AiR would take.

There had been heavy snow a week or so before I arrived, followed by warmer weather which softened the land into clay. Two experiments with clay took shape in the studio, both of them involving multiples to create larger compositions. Both of them meditative and intuitive in process. Both of them coming about organically and revealing meaning as I made them.

The experience of shaping (with only my hands and a little water) the ground I’ve lived on for two weeks has been intimate and immersive. I’ve been loaned a red bucket and a shovel. When I run out of clay I walk down the hill until my feet feel soft ground, I fill the bucket, and take it back to the studio. The seamlessness of making something in this way has allowed me a degree of focus and freedom that has blended the process into something entirely fluid. It’s quiet, there is no interference, no middleman between self and materials, no speed bump (so to speak).

The home has also been a very important element of staying and working here. Everything is beautiful and kind to the senses. The Beckmanns are welcoming, generous, warm, and utterly respectful and encouraging of their guest’s process and needs. I would describe it all as mindful luxury. Here we are mindful of water, mindful of sounds, mindful of the electricity we use, and this makes for a very present experience that is coherent with the human appreciation of nature.

I took long walks up hills and down barrancos without running into a single person and saw colours, shapes and textures that very much delivered what I was looking for in coming here.

This time at Joya has been extremely meaningful and has given me the space to clearly assert why I make art and how I want to make art. I am grateful to Simon and Donna for this opportunity which I hope to repeat in the near future’.

Melanie J Moczarski

Joya: AiR / Simon Kroug / Switzerland

‘Arriving at Los Gázquez by following tracks between pines and orchards of almond trees, you believe to be lost. You believe to change world or period. Silence is incredibly thick. Colours, smells and material share in the painting. And yet, here more than elsewhere, at the end of your trip, you touch concrete life as it is when in deep connection with Nature.

Without denying technological progress nor comfort, but with respect for environment, Donna and Simon created an artist’s residence in accordance with their ecologist and social convictions. This does not prevent neither the delicious meals (concocted by Donna) nor the cheerful tables or exciting discussions.

From my point of view, this particular place has got a very positive aura that undoubtedly stimulated my work and ideas, helped by the fabulous welcome of Donna and her family.

I regret that my language proficiency has deprived me of more thorough discussion on all the exciting subjects we have broached together.


My warm thanks to the entire team of Joya’.


Artists statement…

Since 2012, I question my need for space and nature. Uncomfortable with my urban condition and overconsumption all around me, I tried to reconsider my place in nature. My goal is to find the link distended with large spaces, back to basics, to experience the elements, and to self-seek a certain frugality. This initial search yielded a series of small format intimate and introspective prints . I titled this series of woodcuts or linocuts “Canopy“.


Working today in a space twice as large and high ceiling, I deepened the desire of space, of movement, of natural environment. Now I explore printmaking in a format such as printing must be done by hand. My report on the matter is more physical, gesture of a woodcut line or of a brush stroke becomes more important.

As a starting point, I use photography but these two-dimensional representations of reality are not sufficient me. Linking photography —instantaneous process of capturing light— with the slow and complex production of a woodcut print raises many questions about the nature of the image that I work.

I use either my own photographs, or I look for images on the internet and social networks. In total contradiction with what they express (contemplation, slow, pause) snapshots circulating ultra-fast. This deep slowdown that is physically felt in nature is the feeling I’m looking into pictures that I choose as a basis. Appropriating these images means living landscapes that are inaccessible to me at that moment. I fantasize these landscapes. I give a subjective reading about it.

Traditional Japanese gouges that I use, as the ink I make or papers made with natural fiber resonate with my project. It’s a pleasure to handle a great tool shaped itself by hand. Woodcutting thousands small recessed surfaces in(ter)dependent who are the light of all to save the solid ones fascinates me. By printing the matrix in hand, I play with chance. I induce more or less controllable shades on raised surfaces. I often enhance the print with brush strokes  of a particular color to add additional vibration frequency.

Sometimes appears a character, usually alone, engages himself … just me somehow! I claim contemplation as a fundamental attitude of existence. And with it, the use of a long time, which helps to get rid of the superficial.

Loneliness, in my work, like that of these characters is desired and assumed. I focus on my perceptions. During the long matrix etching phase, often bathed in a selected music, my mind wanders in the popup image. Idream and shapes and I can further explain why and how. Beyond the succession of technical milestones that mark the achievement of my work, I try to keep a place for my intuition.

Joya: AiR / Nanina Kotlowski & Patric Redl / Austria

We arrived at Joya with a focus on continuing to work on our permaculture performative lecture and we could not have imagined a better place for it.

The Joya Residency and its surroundings were full of ideal places for us to observe nature and extreme weather conditions with its patterns. Initially we started off by collecting material for our lecture by observing, reading, being a bit overwhelmed by everything that we did not know yet and by simply touching the earth.

The surroundings of the national park and the freedom we felt within this vast nature nourished our creativity in unexpected ways and we decided to reserve some time for spontaneous creative outbursts. Such a healthy thing to do, as in our daily live routines we found it difficult to find this space. We were diving into a movement practice that dealt with the observation of dryness, patterns and the constant falling of our own body in movement. We measured our body parts, as to always have a measure band with us, we recorded sounds of monoculture pine forests, observed and took pictures of dry riverbanks and erosions, built physical water barriers and human catchment systems.

On top of all that it was truly inspiring for us to see how Donna and Simon have created a vivid home and residency space totally off grid, full of creativity and generosity. Thank you for all of that!

Joya: AiR / writer in residence / Deborah Joy Corey / Maine USA

Joya was the perfect place for me to complete the final edit of my novel, Settling Twice.  This exquisitely designed residency allows one the freedom and comfort to focus fully on the project at hand. There are many things to be admired about Joya, particularly the restoration of a number of ancient farmhouses into an well sited retreat, which not only honors the land’s history and landscape, but is sensitive to the environment as well. Still for me, the privacy that was afforded me was a standout and made it well worth the trip from Maine, USA. Donna and Simon Beckmann have put tremendous thought into creating spaces that not only inspire, but also comfort after a long day’s work. Their evening dinner table is lively with laughter and great discussions, and even reassurances when the need be. It was my good fortune to be here during the American Presidential Election. I say good fortune because I was escaping the drama of it back in the U.S., but also because when it turned out differently than I had hoped, there was a table of artists from many places to not only share similar heartbreaking experiences in their own countries, but they were present to teach me how to go forward and what to expect. Go Forward. If there was something inscribed over the entrance of Joya, that would be it. For this is a place of restoration that encourages the going forward of the artist’s heart, soul, and mind. And Go Forward is the call that we must all heed.

Joya: AiR / Sarah Sagarin / New York City USA

My process based works are constructed through indirect layers of mark making, automatic drawing, and painting. Working this way, intentionally unintentionally, allows for the underlying concept to be born and slowly emerge over time. My paintings are not about the process, rather the structure of the process affords me the freedom to explore and have a back and forth conversation with each painting, unburdened by preliminary decision making over content. My work over the past few years has revealed itself to be influenced by such varied sources as the Syrian migrant crisis, Mad Men, the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, and 2016 US Presidential election.

While at Joya I have been profoundly affected by the beauty, isolation, and dramatic high desert landscape. Living off the grid, with limited water and resources has forced me to confront the realities of climate change and its growing impact on individuals and communities. It has affected how I think about my my own needs and my anxiety about the future. I am curious to see how this influence will reveal itself in my work in the coming months.

A few days after arriving at Joya, I was standing in the kitchen trying to explain to Donna (the brilliant, beautiful co-creator of this surreal artist’s world in the southern mountains of Spain) how I was feeling now that I had had a bit of time to adjust to my new surroundings. I had recovered from my jet lag, yet there lingered an odd feeling of co-existing with myself which I couldn’t quite put into words. “It’s like you’ve gone sideways”, she offered. That was exactly it. It was me, standing in the kitchen, but just beside myself. This new me was without all the constructs that define my daily life in New York. In this place, off the grid, miles from the closest town, none of my multitudes of daily “needs” could be met. The support and stress of constant contact with friends and family was gone. The mountain of ice I use each day, for the frosty cold beverages I absolutely must have, is not to be had here. I was without NPR yammering at me in my studio all day with endless news and information to be processed, and without the 250 options of what to have for lunch, all in the deli right downstairs. Yet somehow I missed none of it and wanted for nothing. There was an enormous sense of freedom in stepping outside all these things, in stripping life down to its bare essentials and sorting through the difference between needs and wants. In truth, my needs were met here in abundance. I was well fed, had all the water I needed (though through conscious conservation I used a small fraction of what I used at home), and I was surrounded by aesthetic beauty everywhere I looked, from the stunning landscape, to the beautifully designed living and work spaces of the house. I had time and solitude for work, with no distractions, and companionship around the dinner table at the end of each day. I was happy.

Joya: AiR / University of the Arts London ‘Art for the Environment’ award / Matt Parker

“No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes of photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars” (Mandel, 2015: 32)

I spent a fortnight in the company of the Beckmann family at El Cortijada de Los Gázquez (home of Joya: arte + ecología), in an alpine desert, living at 1000m above sea level in the Parque Natural Sierra María – Los Vélez. In the spring of 2016, I applied to the Art for the Environment International Residency Programme (AER) run by Professor Lucy Orta at the University of the Arts London. The award was for a number of research-led artist residencies to take place across the world for existing and recently graduated UAL students. I was about half way into my first year of a PhD programme at London College of Communication, studying within Creative Research into Sound Art Practice (CRiSAP) research centre.

What struck me about the opportunity to visit Los Gázquez was the idea of spending two weeks off-grid. Two weeks without. Two weeks disconnected. What might two weeks offline do for me? To me? What did off-grid mean? What kind of systems would be in place to live an off-grid sustainable life with a family (two adults, two children in a non-native country).

I was also interested in studying the environment of Los Gázquez as an off grid site. Far from any built up metropolitan centre, far from where I tend to spend most of my life, in the anthropogenic urban wash of cars, generators, ambulance sirens and helicopters, impossible to distinguish one source of noise from the next. I wondered what a rural and open landscape might offer as an alternative field to my listening and recording practice.

My application for the residency was based around some of my PhD research questions. My research is based around what I call ‘sonospheric investigations’ into media infrastructures. That is to say, that I try and listen to a whole gamut of frequencies, using air-borne and land-borne transducers, converting vibrations into digital signals that can then be converted into sound from loudspeakers. I centre this listening practice around the internal and external architecture of media infrastructures (data centres, fibre optic cable landing sites, satellite and telecommunication receivers etc). I am interested in how the Internet and its related infrastructures vibrate across the globe as a physical material network; the ‘medianatures’ of the Internet, to paraphrase Jussi Parikka.

At Los Gázquez, I wanted to experience being disconnected from the internet but I also wanted to study the infrastructure of an off grid site. Data Centres in particular are the hub for the global Internet network and as such are huge consumers of energy. Many of the world’s biggest companies operate them (Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft etc). They are a huge burden to the electrical grid of their surrounding area; it is estimated that they use an equivalent energy requirement to that of the aviation industry and as such, they are a significant site for ecological, socio-political and environmental concern, as well as a significant site of property rights, concepts of the self, the posthuman, the cyborg, the Anthropocene and of provenance and rights in the digital age.

My research led me to analyse the noise of such sites as representative of waste. The noise, generally being vibrations caused by industrial scale HVAC systems, fanning hot exhaust air into often cold climates (in the northern regions of Scandinavia for example).

Recently, I have been studying a site that Apple have been in protracted negotiations for over a year to build a data centre in. It is in the Derrydonnell forest in County Galway, Ireland, close to the small but well known medieval town of Athenry. Apple claim they will use exclusively 100% wind energy from the grid. I was confused but fascinated at such a claim given how estimates are that the data centre once fully operational is expected to require around 8% of the entire Irish grid’s energy allocation (more than the capital city Dublin).

And so I began to wonder what exactly does sustainability mean? What does sustainable energy mean? How sustainable is the technology used that is claimed to be ‘zero carbon’? Surely it is made full of components built as a result of intensive land destruction and mining; the production of rare earth minerals and metals for example to produce microchips, lithium-ion and lead batteries.

I am not interested in becoming a Luddite and thankfully neither are the Beckmann’s at Los Gázquez. They are interested in doing the best they can to maintain a good quality of life in as off-grid and sustainable way as they possibly can, investigating the possibilities of land reclamation, and returning to sustainable measures of living without burying their heads in the sand and without harking back to some kind of golden age that never existed. They are progressive and thoughtful about how they can make a positive and ecologically sensitive impact on Los Gázquez.

I spent most of my days field recording and creating a library of sounds, produced according to my own initial intrigue and then later, according to the sounds that the residents here associate with living in Los Gázquez. The library comprises goats, crickets, sheep, vultures, wind turbines, water pumps, photovoltaic panels, clay fizzing with water, children playing games, people eating dinner, flip flops across the concrete floor, diesel generators, a Land Rover, the silence on top of a mountain, electromagnetic noise from battery stores, electromagnetic interference from a phone attempting to connect to a distant and patchy 4G signal, helicopters, jumbo jets and much more. The collection of recordings put the environment at the centre of my thinking but I am thinking of the environment as the things that surround us as we exist. This is not a study of nature versus culture. For me the urban dweller, Los Gázquez and the surrounding area feels remote but the family home has electricity, Wi-Fi from a satellite uplink that connects to a suborbital network and bounces back to an exchange in Italy, and the landscape surrounding la Cortijada de Los Gázquez has signs of anthropogenic activity everywhere, from the terraced abandoned farm land to the water catchment systems, to the artificial walls and tributaries built within the Barrancos (water drainage, fluvial systems drawing down from the mountainside).

I have been on many walks into the relative ‘wilderness’ of the Parque Natural Sierra María on my own, taking a bearing and just going for it. Listening carefully to changes in sound, the flies, the trees, the wind, the nothingness, the everything-ness. I have recorded infrasonic vibrations with geophones, contact transducer microphones on vibrating bodies of metal, stereo microphone recordings of my position in the landscape and electromagnetic frequencies with coil-tap transducers. I’m not sure what to do with this collection other than listen to it and think about how it might relate to my other work on the urban and black site data centre spaces of my existing research. How does a site like this challenge my conceptions of isolation, off grid? How many miles do I need to travel in Ireland to locate somewhere away from any kind of anthropogenic noise like I can here… Let alone London?

Being disconnected from the internet… How I tried… How temptation pulled me back in… How on my fourth day, whilst marching up a mountain first thing in the morning, on my own, where I managed to see a fox, two vultures and an Ibex in their natural habitats, I became more intrigued by suddenly picking up a full strength 4G signal. How whilst thinking about life in a post-apocalyptic world, where petrol had gone stale, the grid was disconnected and the internet was just a myth, my field recorder started bleeping to the interference of a roaming mobile data signal and a sudden emergence of a low flying helicopter passed over me. How, even at my most isolated, I was never far away from signs of human activity, whether it be signs from the past 30-40 years or in the past 300-400 years. The marks were everywhere.

It has been an absolutely incredible experience. I look forward to working through my recordings and thoughts, and the journal that I have been keeping which I will publish on my website at over the coming weeks, with processed recordings, pictures and videos. A log of work in progress, a diary of thoughts, and a documentation of research activity in this dry, barren and utterly beautiful landscape.

I would like to extend my thanks to my hosts, Donna, Simon, Sesame and Solomon for being so welcoming. Their life here, as English expats, who have stepped up to a fascinating and difficult challenge of living in a radical and rural setting just north of the small town of Vélez-Blanco is truly inspirational. My thanks also go to the fellow artists and guests who have been here during my stay, Dayna, Elena, Melissa, Nana, Nigel, Anna, Peter and a special thanks to Abbie who without her… I wouldn’t have got completely lost one day when failing to find an ancient cave painting that was allegedly in plain sight.


Mandel, Emily St. John. (2015). Station Eleven. Picador, Pan Macmillan, London, UK.

Parikka, Jussi. (2015). A Geology of Media. Minnesota University Press, Minnesota, US.