“Value the town's relationship with water and preserve this natural heritage that surrounds us”

The community of Llanos (Cantabria) is embarking on a new participatory process to explore —through art— the links between the village and its water resources: the river and natural springs. Historical interactions between humans and water have created a significant cultural and material heritage. In the specific case of Llanos and its river, what was once a space of social interaction, traditions, and gatherings is currently a neglected wasteland. Aware of this, local residents have expressed the wish to re-signify the knowledge of the past in order to reactivate the care of the river and its surroundings. The process of producing the artwork will look at these places as a catalyst to activate and negotiate social spaces, and also at their environmental, cultural, and civic impact. And it will imagine how art can respond to these collective motivations.

In this spirit, on 9 July 2022, more than 40 residents of Llanos signed the engagement letter on the banks of the Ozudera stream, which is the lifeblood of this small village in northern Spain.

The letter is based on a multitude of wishes regarding the rivers and natural springs around the village. It is the result of a participatory project that mediators, Alejandro Alonso Díaz and Sören Meschede, launched in April 2022, which led to the creation of a stable working group of about 20 people representing the interests of the village for this Concomitancia.

Over the next few months, the citizen-commissioners will work with the mediators to explore the community’s relationship to water and invite several artists to carry out a working residency in the village during the autumn of 2022. This process will give rise to a proposal for an artwork reflecting the needs and wishes of the community, which will be produced during 2023.

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