Journal 28.11.2023

The artist Asunción Molinos Gordo will create an artwork with the community of Montes de Couso

The artistic proposal based on nature, which the contemporary artist will produce in a participatory process with the community, seeks to raise awareness of the ways of managing the communal forest so that future generations can maintain their legacy.

The Montes de Couso, located in Gondomar (Pontevedra), is one of the many associations of woodlands that exist in Galicia and is made up of 84 community members who manage 330 hectares of woodland, of which three hundred are productive. 

Since the beginning of 2023, this community has been close with the mediator Natalia Balseiro in 'Land Commons' by Concomitentes, an initiative framed within the European project 'Art Living Lab for Sustainability', which seeks to promote innovation ecosystems to achieve artistic solutions based on nature.

After a year of participatory and mediation work that values the present and future life and way of life of these forests, the contemporary artist Asunción Molinos Gordo (1979, Guzmán, Burgos) has been chosen to develop an artistic process that will raise awareness of the ways of managing the communal forest so that new generations can perpetuate its legacy.

‘Land Commons’ is now entering into a second phase of work, in which the artist will initiate different meetings - combining research, exploration of the territory, accumulation of knowledge about the communal forests, generation of links or opening of new conversations and dialogues - to give shape to a work that will respond to the wishes defined by the commoners, and which will bear fruit in October 2024.

This combination of desires and participatory processes - built on collective negotiation and listening - will outline a dynamic of work and research to create a stronger community that incorporates new knowledge and experiences, and builds links with other key actors, such as artists, cultural agents, neighbors, among others, finding in the creation of networks and community fabrics that same strength to build a sustainable future.

Sound piece 'Contestador', about the bureaucracy that affects the farmer. / © Asunción Molinos Gordo
Sound piece 'Contestador', about the bureaucracy that affects the farmer. / © Asunción Molinos Gordo

The artist, a creator with a strong link to the rural environment and participatory processes

Asunción Molinos Gordo is a researcher and visual artist with a practice that is crossed by disciplines such as anthropology, sociology and cultural research. A way of doing that questions the categories that define "innovation" in today's dominant discourses, and that works to generate a 'less urban' way of understanding progress.

Under this prism, the main focus of her work is centered on the 'contemporary peasantry', the understanding of the figure of the small or medium farmer not only from a logic of 'food producer' but rather as a 'cultural agent', responsible both for perpetuating traditional knowledge and for generating new knowledge in the face of the challenges posed by the current context. 

Her work employs installations, photography or video, these and other formats serve to examine the rural environment, - driven by a strong desire to understand the value and complexity of its cultural production - also alongside the burdens that keep it invisible and marginalized from general discourses.

Her catalogue includes works that reflect on land use, nomadic architecture, farmers' strikes, bureaucracy in the territory, the transformation of rural labour, biotechnology and the global food trade.

Her work has been exhibited in venues such as Art Jameel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; IVAM, Valencia, Spain; Victoria & Albert Museum (London, UK), Delfina Foundation (London, UK), ARNOLFINI (Bristol, UK), The Townhouse Gallery (Cairo, EG), Darat Al Funun (Amman, JO), Tranzit (Prague, CZ), Cappadox Festival (Uchisar-Turkey), The Finnish Museum of Photography (Helsinki, FI), Museo Carrillo Gil (Mexico), MAZ Museo de Arte de Zapopan (Guadalajara, MX), MUSAC (León, ERES), CA2M (Madrid, ERES) ), CAB (Burgos, ES), Matadero (Madrid, ERES) or La Casa Encendida (Madrid, ERES), among others.

Artpiece by the artist 'El matam el Mish-Masry'. / © Asunción Molinos Gordo
Artpiece by the artist 'El matam el Mish-Masry'. / © Asunción Molinos Gordo

European-wide project, with three projects in Spain, France and Belgium

The European project, 'Art Living Lab for Sustainability', is funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and coordinated by Concomitentes together with De Nieuwe Opdrachtgevers, La Société des Nouveaux Commanditaires and the Santiago de Compostela University (USC).

Its challenge is to address three community management mechanisms: that of the forest with ‘Land Commons’ (Monte Vecinal de Couso, Galicia, Spain); clay with ‘Clay Commons’ (Boom, Flanders, Belgium); and water with ‘Water Commons’ (Regional Natural Park of the Alto Jura, France).