At the end of the 50s, the works for the drying of the Antela Lagoon, one of the most important wetlands in the Iberian Peninsula, both in terms of extension and ecological diversity, began in the Limia region (Ourense), with the purpose to dedicate the land conquered to the water to agricultural use. Some studies question the need for these infrastructure works, since the socioeconomic situation of the area quickly changed from the 60s due to the progressive abandonment of rural and emigration. The desiccation of the Antela Lagoon irreversibly destroyed an ecosystem not only with an important environmental value, but also a privileged landscape, with historical and sentimental references in the personal biography of the people of the area.
There seems to be a link between the Antela Lagoon and the memory that dates back to Roman times: the famous legend of the river Limia- river Lethes in Latin that means el river Oblivion- that General Brutus’ troops refused to cross for fear of losing their memory. Some recent authors have compiled old photographs and chronicles in books whose titles seem to evoke a certain nostalgia for the lost memory: “Antela, a memoria desolagada” (Antela, the sunken memory) by Martínez Carneiro, “Xinzo de Limia na memoria” (Xinzo de Limia in memory) by Edelmiro Martínez or “Xinzo de Limia, imaxes for to lembranzas ” (Xinzo de Limia, pictures for remembrance) of Concepción Rua. A town that celebrates the Festa do Esquecemento (Oblivion Fair) every August.
On a personal level, the project connects with a brief period of my childhood, a brief period of a few months, in which I lived in Xinzo de Limia at the age of five or six. I do not have very precise memories of that time, nor do I intend to reconstruct them with this project, but it seems an excuse to investigate the trace of a gap lost in the landscape of this place and in the memory of the people who inhabit it today.
A fundamental element of research will be Martínez Carneiro’s book that includes valuable documentation on the lagoon and the drying process. It is also important to have precise geographic information about the limits of the lagoon, which extended over an area of about 42 km2, and to locate in a current map only the probable perimeter of the lagoon, but also those characteristic elements that determined its existence (bridges, walls,..).
It is my intention to support the investigation through interviews with the inhabitants of the area, which will surely help me draw an emotional map of the area. Additionally, there are some local blogs that collect a lot of visual and documentary information about the area, and I hope to contact the authors during the research phase.
After an initial phase of documentation and research, I intend to move to the place during the weekends for field work: take a preliminary tour to help me delimit the area on the work map, and establish and strengthen the network of contacts for interviews. Although the camera may not be necessary in the first visits, I intend to take it to collect some photographic notes to help me plan subsequent visits.
As a team I will use a Canon 5D IV with a 24-70 lens, a tripod to stabilize the shots and a degraded filter for general landscape shots where the horizon line is included (quite flat horizon in the landscape of the region).
Depending on the final scope of the project, it could be resolved in the self-editing of a photobook (50 pictures or more), and perhaps exhibit a small sample (15 pictures) in the cultural entities of the area.
- Displacement expenses (130Km x 2) x (6L/100Km) x 1,3 euros/litro x 3 viajes = 75 euros
- Accommodation cost 30 euros x 3 = 90 euros
- Living expenses 30 euros x 3 = 90 euros
- Books and required material = 50 euros
- Photobook = 40 euros per issue.
- Exhibition (10-15 pictures): 400-500 euros.