Ruralities. Project exhibition by Toni Casassas and Marta Ricart
08.06.2012 - 22.09.2012
Place: ACVic Centre d'Arts Contemporànies
C. Sant Francesc, 1, 08500 Vic

Ruralitaties from  different perspectives , narratives and videos

The perspectives
The project is the result of two combined perspectives (one multifaceted, and the other oblique) upon fragments of rural life, by two artists, Toni Casasses and Marta. Ricard. It is an open dialogue between the artists, which also opens out towards  contemplation of, attention to, and respect for the many worlds which coexist within rural environments. From these perspectives, the project is an attempt to define specific issues related to life within this environment; the relationships (tensions) between small towns and big cities; the battle between emerging agricultural industries and the remnants of an agro-culture  based upon a close relationship with plants and animals;
landscaping as the domination of nature; and established human relationships within this context.. The circumstances of rural sites are conditioned by a post-industrial context of small towns and intermediate cities, increasingly searching for their own valid alternatives to a future marked by the need for rethinking. None of them can escape to the dynamism and the changes characteristic of contemporary times. This project looks far beyond a simple comparison between rural and urban, and far beyond the walls which divide them, to search for a specific rural identity, with no intention of utterly separating itself from the city.

The narratives and videos
The two artists who created this exhibition escape the exoticism which urbanites often look for in rural areas, and which often responds to an imaginary bearing no relationship to contemporary rural experience. The artists work from within, not as field-work, but from the field itself. However, at times some of the voices (narratives) participating in the videos, forming part of the same habitat (rural), describe an apocalyptic situation. Toni Casasses comments that we have arrived at a time of change, and that we still express our thoughts in the language of the past, which is one of the reasons why the rural perspective upon its own state seems so hopeless. Some of these videographic documents (videos) cannot help but transmit a romantic melancholy of landscape, nature, architecture and the complete set of subject-matter specific to these territories. Marta Ricart is interested in leisure space in rural areas, and its unexplored potential to become a space for  cultural dynamisation, creation and distribution. From the sum of introspective (subjective) and  extroverted (socialising) viewpoints, an exhibition, founded upon bringing together narrative and video, is constructed.

A project in progress
The peculiarity of this project is that it forms part of longer-term research work, though it starts with an exhibition. Usually an exhibition is the culmination of research, here it is the beginning. Nor is it only the beginning, because both artists have a long history linking them to rural life, observing it, thinking about it, experiencing it and especially transforming it from their unique perspectives.
This exhibition is made possible by bringing together different interests; on the one hand, the particular investigations carried out by Toni Casasses and Marta Ricart, and on the other, ACVic's interest in influencing and developing a workspace associated with rural issues.  Throughout 2011, this line of work was opened up, initiated with the collaboration of the town council of Sant Bartomeu del Grau, and Campo Adentro, organising the residence of Pablo Sanz who worked on the soundscape of Sant Bartomeu del Grau. Another activity organized by ACVic was the conference "From the margins. Between art and revitalization in rural contexts" (April 2011), led by Marta Ricard
with the participation of many Catalan creative and production centres. During the 2011-2012 course, the project Art i Escola 01 was initiated, in collaboration with the Centre de Recursos Pedagògics d'Osona, l'Escola d’Art i Superior de Disseny de Vic, la Fundació Privada Osona Formació i Desenvolupament, la Farinera Centre d’Arts Visuals de Vic, la Universitat de Vic and l’Escola d’Arts Plàstiques de Torelló. It relied
upon the participation of 23 schools in the counties of Osona, el Ripollès and el Vallès Oriental, and the involvement of over 2,500 pupils, working upon the specific theme of the rural context. These works will be gathered together and put on display in an exhibition, soon to be staged.

Place, habitat or the rural environment, together or separately, form a wide, suggestive thematic for promoting proposals through many different vehicles, engaging points of interest such as landscape, ecology, nature, the boundaries between urban and rural, sustainability, natural elements, smells, colours, sounds, traditions, industrialisation, neorurals, stories, life-stories, technology, architecture, crops, livestock, machinery ... ultimately particularities linked to territory, to culture, and to a way of making these particularities immediate, constructing and enriching imaginaries. In all of this art plays a role in mediating, visualising, inter-relating, representing, creating and transforming. Art joining education and land. And the land within the boundaries of rural and urban is a line of work and research initiated by ACVic.

Ramon Parramon


Ruralitats from myth to documental roamings 

Ruralitats is a creative project which explores, through audiovisual narratives, various ways of experiencing and understanding the rural world. Paying attention to the need for considering contexts within rural areas as dynamic spaces and generators of culture, Ruralitats is proposed as a work of research aiming to reflect, to document and to create narratives which lead us to rethink and reinterpret rural imaginaries.

The proposal as an exhibition derives from the need to deal with rurality as a dynamic and living concept on account of its complexity. The static character often attributed to rural areas within various imaginaries contrasts with the kaleidoscopic vision presented in the exhibition, through new frameworks of understanding and interpretation based upon relating as an strategy for sharing knowledge. The intention of this methodology is to open doors upon new ways of looking at the countryside, beginning with the journey, dynamism, polyphony of narratives and interpretations, and multiple stories.

The presentation format of the exhibition Ruralitats takes the journey as its starting point, as an open dialogue between visitors and participants. A dialogue of inclusive relationship with schools, with the land, and with a variety of people, associations and organisations which, in one way or another, share a connection with the subject of reference.

Constructing narrative processes
In constructing Ruralitats, we wanted to escape clichés, the usual imaginaries of the rural, to approach different ways of living, of understanding and of relating, where land, space and  interpretation itself areof vital importance.

As our research continues apace, we are sketching out a methodology to enable us to understand our proposal better. Through this research process, we have discovered a need to construct a dialogue between our experiences during the recordings, and the product as it takes definite shape. We needed to transfer material from the unconscious to rationality, in order to name everything we are feeling and experiencing. In this way, as we experienced the creative process, we discovered the need to communicate afterwards everything we learn during this process, and which has taken shape in the different stories which we present.

Temporalities and atemporalities
We considered that there was not always a clear need to place people in their real time or environments, because our intention is not strictly documentary. Place and time are irrelevant, as we are not dealing with the construction of linear stories. Some landscapes and some voices, as well as some fragments of time, have been displaced. This proves useful, because we do not attach importance to the way people or places are manifested. Everything belongs to the same experiential map. We are not interested in explaining anybody's life, or in giving explanations of specific areas or activities, but in confronting various aspects: colours, voices, thoughts, roads, etc ... weave them to experience new ways of narrating, of understanding, of constructing meaning.

RURALIDADES (Ruralities)

Murmurs, blurred landscapes, uncertainties, taking nothing for granted. Approaching the countryside at a distance, from the air, but skimming the surface of the familiar, of the conventional, of codes. A telescopic view of nearby things. Without green. Speaking under your breath, in a whisper, not giving your trust to over-clear, over-precise, over-closed discourses .
Nature is beautiful, radiant, full of meaning, timeless. The human voice, bewildered, displaced upon a future landscape. We listen to speeches of the twentieth century in landscapes of the XXI century.

Where are we? there, where meaningless words mean more than speech itself. Where a gesture is almost everything ,  where there are more voices within silence than within words, where the word falls silent upon the strength of landscape, the power of light, rain, stone. Where certainties are certainties not because someone says so. And in this territory, man now falters, urban and cosmopolitan man feels  exposed and threatened. Beauty heralds a major disaster, nature turns apocalyptic.

"Linking Analysis with ecstasy" quoting Paul Valéry. Linking intelligence with sensitivity, linking the gaze with the flesh. Entering into the stillness of constant movement, of unstoppable change. Reason must live in peace with the viscera, the organic cycles, the constant erosion of the stone. Linking the whole with the parts. Seeing the invisible from the surface of the skin.
Delimitation of a current map of blurred limits. The rules of the game are changing and some people live in very different ways. Some people experience the dream,  the project, and recreate it  in in their  immediate surroundings. People who can move huge stones, to transform their closer reality. There are some, but many others feel trapped in a game whose rules have not been decided.

And considering this, we find that space is, and is not important. That is not the context, but how to experience it. And the residue left from all these years still drags behind it the need to invent, to do.  
Ways of life, journeys, distances have changed . Landscapes, houses and certain pathways have been preserved. Places apparently remain static while we all move.

And with our actions and our words, we continuously renew meaning.
Creating relationships gives meaning. But there could be many others. We only need to change the order of the pieces to see the many interpretations. Like a kaleidoscope, the context is laid out for us, and we continuously construct meaning within action.

Marta Ricart  and Toni Casassas


Genealogy Project

Ruralitats as an exhibition project starts with a  dialogue between two projects developed in parallel by Toni Cassassas and Marta Ricart. They relate two different ways of narrating: a search for the story between past and present, the game of memory and representation (Toni Casassas) and a sociological perspective upon time, narrated by residents, which give meaning to the experience of living in a rural environment in the present (Marta Ricart). The creators investigate new narrative formats and open ways to reflect a context that is often invisible to our imagination.

Toni Casassas, with the project entitled: La Muntanya em pensa, constructed a videonarrative which presents an encounter with the mountain, a return to the myths from the pre-Pyrenean forests at  Berguedà. In the video, the author includes memories of a place to inject them into present experiences . The new stories are interwoven with memories of past histories.
The narrative which the film constructs is ductile, changeable, organic and explores the diversity of memories and interpretations of the same space, of the same story.  http :/ /lamuntanyaempensa.blogspot.com.es

Marta Ricart with a visual research project entitled Prismes. A creative and collaborative research-action about methodologies, strategies, of artistic proposals for community activism in rural contexts. The project has permitted the construction of a first reflection upon artistic creation in rural areas, through dialogue with various cultural managers in the Catalan area. The research is based upon  understanding the rural world as separated from the cultural scene, and which often becomes a creative stage for artists, but rarely a space for dissemination and promotion. The role of production centres  in rural areas is the key to providing other perspectives  based upon culture, and which form part of the rural environment. However, the search for methodologies, strategies and ideas which provide other ways of understanding, and to engage culture in rural areas, as well as to make visible the differences of these contexts within the framework of cultural creation, is a necessary one.

08.06.2012 Images from the Opening

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