lunes, 19 de enero de 2009

2009. Nuevas y buenas intenciones para el año.

Después de varios meses de tantas cosas que quiero hacer sin tener tiempo para hacerlas. Este nuevo año (como todos), trae consigo nuevos propósitos y uno de ellos es retomar el pulso de ACUAREX. Esta organización sin ánimo de lucro, que surgió allá por el año 2004 y que poco a poco ha ido asentando sus raíces en Plasencia.

El 2008 ha traido consigo proyectos como "Visiones de Futuro" el tercer proyecto de mail art realizado por Kris y Lola. Este año hemos rizado el rizo y, a parte de la exposición hemos involucrado al TIEMPO (si al tiempo futuro) introduciendo todas las obrar de mail art en una cápsula del tiempo con instrucciones para ser abierta dentro de 100 años (el 10 de Diciembre de 2.108). Esta cápsula se ha gusrdado en el Centro Cultural Las Claras de Plasencia.

Por otro lado, hemos realizado la "Guia cultural del Caminante en el Valle del Jerte", esta guia pretende apoyar a quien desee caminar desde la ciudad de Plasencia hasta el municipio de Tornavacas. Es una guía bilingüe español/inglés, que estará preparada muy pronto, ya que estamos en la fase final de edición para su posterior impresión.

martes, 19 de febrero de 2008

Un paseo por Plasencia el Domingo pasado

A walk around Plasencia last Sunday...

Hmmm... Not much to say here. We went for a walk around town last weekend & remembered to bring the camera for a change.

Up around the plaza de toros (bullfighting ring) we found this painting on the side of a building. It´s not graffiti, but it´s not exactly a mural, either. One of my co-workers claims he knows the artist. We´d like to meet him & hopefully get him involved in some upcoming projects.

A short walk from the plaza de toros is el parque de los pinos ("the park of the pine trees") where we took the photo of the peacock, or pavo real in Spanish.

Despite the fact that Plasencia is a small town with a population of 40,000, where almost everything is within walking distance, I hadn´t entered this park in about 2 years. I was very happy to learn that the monkeys had been removed to a much more "zoo-like" environment.

The reason I hadn´t visited the park in such a long time was due to the fact that it was so depressing to enter the park & see the monkey cages. The monkeys always looked so damned miserable & there was one little fellow always moaning & shreeking & trying to escape from his cage. It was awful. Now the park only contains birds. Most of them are injured (the one-eyed owl) and/or were brought from an animal shelter (the vultures). It´s an interesting little park carved into the side of a hill &, if you´re ever in town, it´s well worth a visit.


sábado, 9 de febrero de 2008

Los Molinos del Alagón

This post isn´t related to any Acuarex project in particular. However, this is a blog about art & culture in Extremadura so our visit to "the Mills of Alagón" on Saturday 2 February fits into the general theme here. It was a slow weekend since most of our friends were out of town taking advantage of a long holiday weekend. Friday afternoon I pulled a book down from one of our bookshelves entitled "Senderos Del Valle Del Alagón" which has lots of information on short day hikes in the nearby Alagón Valley. I found a very "Lola-friendly" 3 hour hike that was described as having "Dificultad: baja" or "Dificulty: low". Saturday morning we packed some sandwiches & set off for the village of Casillas de Coria where the walk starts & ends.

Upon arrival in Casillas we were surrounded by a small crowd of locals that were quite surprised to see a couple of tourists. Lola asked them if they knew where we could find the old "camino del Potro" or "el camino de Portaje" as the walk was called in our book. We received nothing but blank stares. Then a little old leather-faced woman about 3 and a half feet tall stepped out of her house & declared that she knew what we were talking about. She set us in the right direction & as we headed off towards our destination we occasionally turned around to have a look at a rather comical sight: half the village was following us to make sure we didn´t take any wrong turns as we twisted & turned our way through the heart of the grimy old town center.

Eventually, all the villagers turned back leaving us to our own navigational devices. This was not good because we immediately took a fork in the dirt road (the wrong fork it turns out...) & promptly got lost. We wandered across some private land for about an hour & had a rather unsettling experience with a temperamental cow. But then we backtracked a bit & picked up the proper trail with no trouble at all.

Before long we reached the río Alagón & the first of 3 ruined mills along the banks of the river. There were a few old men fishing & a shepherd high up on the hilltop leading a noisy herd of goats in search of fresh grass. Up on the hill behind the first mill, or the "Aceña del Olivar," is the abandoned miller´s house which somebody decorated with the following poem:

A Mi Molino:

Un Alagón de Septiembre/Marcha sin prisas de río

El paisaje que recorre/Le cansa de ser bonito.

Unas muchachas lavando/En su cauce entre dormido

Sueñan con sueños de novio/allí dentro en el molino

Las piedras van arrancando/Blancuras al buen trigo.

Todo es calma y armonía/Escenario incomparable...

The second mill offered more excitement. The four walls of the mill were still intact but the roof was long gone. And, like many of the local historical sites, there were no warning signs posted or ropes cordoning off the mill from the public despite the fact that the structure looked as if it might possibly collapse at any moment without warning. ¡Viva Extremadura!

We didn´t reach the third mill as the sandwiches, which we had stupidly left in the car back in the village, were calling us. So now we have a good reason to return for another visit. Maybe in spring when the wildflowers are in full bloom...


lunes, 28 de enero de 2008

Inauguration of the Royal Drove Road Photo Exhibition

On Thursday 24 January we held the official opening in Plasencia of our photo/text exhibition concerning my 8 day/255 km walk across Extremadura.
The exhibition, entitled "Caminando la Cañada Real en Extremadura/Walking the Royal Drove Road in Extremadura", contains 62 photos & will be on display in Las Claras Cultural Center for 10 days. The photos & accompanying text, in Spanish & English, document my journey on foot through the following towns & villages in western Spain: Abadía, Zarza de Granadilla, Cáparra, Valdeobispo, Galisteo, Holguera, Cañaveral, Cáceres, Valdesalor, Puebla de Obando, Villar del Rey, Valdebótoa, Gévora, Badajoz & Olivenza.

In the near future the exhibit will be traveling to all of the cultural centers in the towns which I passed through during my trip. Many thanks to Lola Lucio (my wife!) for her endless patience & flawless translations of my text into Spanish & many thanks, as well, to Antonio Aparicio for his graphic design talent which made the exhibition what it is.

domingo, 20 de enero de 2008

Mail Art Call: Visions of the Future

“Visions of the Future” mail art call

Deadline/ fecha limite: 1 July/Julio 2008

Please send us your handmade creations (any medium) containing your "Vision(s) of the Future". All works received will be exhibited in public. Following the exhibition all works received will be buried in a time capsule in our town with instructions to open the capsule in 100 years! Documentation will be sent to all participants. Thanks & see you all in the post!

Por favor, envíanos tu aportación (formato libre) con el tema "visiones del futuro". Todas las aportaciones recibidas se expondran al publico. Después de la exposición las aportaciones se enterraran en una capsula del tiempo en nuestra ciudad con instrucciones de ser abierta dentro de cien años! Se enviara documentación a todos los participantes. Gracias & nos vemos en correos!

(Many thanks to our friend John Mountain in Barcelona for the artwork above as well as the new ACUAREX rubber stamp design below.) -Kris & Lola

Jarramplas festival in Piornal

Yesterday (19 January, 2008) we drove up the Jerte Valley to Piornal, the highest village in our region of Extremadura, to experience the centuries old festival known as "Jarramplas". Jarramplas takes place every year on the 19th & 2oth of January & is one of the most bizarre festivals around. When we arrived around 2 pm the streets of the town were already littered with bits & pieces of "nabos" which are very large turnips that the villagers throw at Jarramplas as he makes his way through the streets banging on a drum. Jarramplas is a figure who, according to local folklore, represents either something from the most profound depths of hell or a goat thief.

The two day affair basically revolves around a dozen or so villagers who take turns putting on an outfit covered with brightly colored strips of paper & a large painted wooden mask. They go out into the street, one at a time, & start beating on a large animal skin drum to announce the presence of Jarramplas. Here comes the fun part: the people of the village all come running, armed with enormous turnips which they throw with all of their strength at the poor guy in the costume, pummeling him mercilessly. It was quite a stressful day, running through the streets surrounded by hundreds of fairly drunken villagers, all eager to hit something or somebody with rock-hard turnips. I saw many young guys with black eyes, most likely caused by stray turnips.

There was a rather hectic moment at 4 pm when Jarramplas, after making his way through half the streets of the village, arrived at the church. I got swept up in the crowd & was shoved inside the main entrance. A moment later the doors were slammed shut & Jarramplas, just outside the door, was cornered & people mercilessly pounded him with turnips. The sound of the wooden church doors, as hundreds of turnips hit them, was deafening from inside the church. A few moments later the doors were opened & Jarramplas entered the church surrounded by villagers applauding him for withstanding the force of all those turnips. Then the people began singing. As traditional songs filled the church, people began carrying a wooden sculpture of San Sebastian through the aisles.

Shortly after the singing ended, the people rather excitedly filed out of the church & swarmed the square outside, again armed with more turnips (14,000 kilos of turnips were imported to Piornal for the festival, by the way). As everybody waited for Jarramplas to exit, so the madness could commence once again, a small tractor arrived with another load of turnips. The driver dumped a small mountain of them next to the fountain as people scrambled to arm themselves with the biggest turnips they could find. Jarramplas finally exited, banging on his drum, & the air was once again filled with flying turnips. People began running in all directions & I lost sight of Lola for a few minutes. (I found her crouched behind a phone booth which was covered in strips of plywood to keep the glass doors from being smashed by turnips).

We wandered off for a bit to get a break from the constant ducking & dodging & stress of wondering when, not if, we were going to get clobbered by a melon-sized turnip. As the sun began to disappear over the horizon, we took a stroll through the local Jarramplas museum (which is equipped with a bar downstairs that, at that moment, was full of drunken, singing villagers). Afterwards we got in the car, which survived the entire day without any turnip damage. Then we braved the dark, treacherous, winding mountain roads back down to the valley floor & then home.


miércoles, 16 de enero de 2008

Caminando la Cañada Real en Extremadura

El próximo día 24 de Enero de 2008 inauguraremos la Exposición "Caminando la Cañada Real en Extremadura", tendrá lugar en el Salón Hebraico del Centro Cultural Las Claras en Plasencia a las 20.00h. La exposición permanecerá expuesta desde el 21 al 31 de Enero.

Esta exposición consta de 62 fotografías y texto bilingüe (español e inglés) tomadas en el transcurso de un viaje a pie desde Abadía hasta Olivenza.

Este proyecto ha sido realizado desde ACUAREX, por Kristoffer Mininger, Lola Lucio y Antonio Aparicio, gracias a la Concejalía de Educación y Cultura del Ayuntamiento de Plasencia y a la Consejería de Cultura y Turismo.