Journal 29.02.2024

The artist, Asunción Molinos Gordo, begins to imagine her production with the villagers of Couso

The artist is talking with the Couso community, picking them out and asking them questions that they all answer, calmly, expanding and letting memories, bodies, experiences, desires, territory, illusions, but also dismay and fear of a process that, for now, they visualise as inconcrete and diffuse.

After the event ‘Communal Mountains. How much of the past is in the future’ held in December at the Casa Vecinal de Couso, in which Asunción Molinos Gordo began the process of conversation, meeting and production with the Community of Montes de Couso, this first working session took place between community members, neighbours with the idea of answering the questions that we have been asking ourselves during this year of mediation in the Land Commons project.

Asunción arrives in Couso by train the day before the session. We slept in Couso, in one of its rural houses, we had dinner in Gondomar, in one of its eating houses, we worked in the Casa Veciñal, we had lunch in Couso, in an eating house and we talked, met, for six hours, with about fifteen people: old, young, men and women; all of them involved in this two-year work process, in which research, mediation, thought and artistic production are intermingled.

During the working session, a series of unregulated conversations took place for producing encounters, exchanges and new thoughts arising from the theoretical framework that Asunción proposes, through very clear examples presented in a pedagogically impeccable way. Throughout the conversation, the artist and researcher describes her different artistic projects, carried out throughout the length and breadth of the international territory, shedding light on the cryptic language of art and bringing contemporary artistic practices closer to the Couso community.

She does this by talking with them, listening to them and dropping questions to which they all respond, calmly, expanding and letting memories, bodies, experiences, desires, territory, illusion but also ignorance and fear of a process that, for now, they visualize as inconcrete and diffused. 

It is a process of listening and conversation in which something is being built, woven between conversations, diffuse days, shaped by multiple learnings. For now, the only thing we know of it is what they want: that the common people of a nearby territory recognise their value in the different fields of life and that their young people feel links with the mountain community in order to be part of it and sustain it in the future.

However, these conversations are necessary, these spaces are the ones that, little by little, through shared time, mutual knowledge, respect for common work, exposed vulnerabilities, etc., producing the sufficient and necessary confidence to give light to the answers that the process of artistic production require.

We converse in a circle, like Couso's trees, forming a whole that flows because someone leads us, through enabling and inspiring images and forceful experiences... to begin to imagine futures.

So far we have traveled the mountains, we have been inspired by reading publications, listening to researchers and academics, to people who live in other and these mountain communities, to those who work in them, to those who are part of them. We have danced, listened to music, eaten together, we have soaked in the rain, we have sheltered under the trees, we have watched performances and films together, we have been many and we have been few, we have written dreams, places, materials and we have talked about art, about processes, about European projects, about Concomitentes, about Asunción and about the future of the Couso mountains. We have built something, a relationship of affection and trust.

Now we continue weaving guided by Asunción, an artist who lives and works in rural contexts. Her works are responses to each place, each project, each territory. Her work, of diverse and unpredictable formats, emerges after long research processes, through diverse mechanisms, more or less formal, more or less disciplined. 

We shall see what these months of work between Couso and Asunción Molinos Gordo have in store for us. 

The next meeting will be in March.