LEARNING FROM THE COMMONS:
A KEYSTONE TOWARDS A REWILDED FUTURE
'Learning from the commons: a keystone to a rewilded future' is an ongoing investigation started within the framework of the European Media Art Platforms EMARE program at LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial with support of the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union.
Year: 2020 - ongoing
'In Kepler's Gardens' at Ars Electronica, 2020.
Observing the lack of a participatory spatial project when discussing environmental restoration, the project investigates the Galician ‘’communal forest’’ or ‘montes vecinales en mano común’. The Montes Vecinales are communally managed forest linked to one or more villages which in recent years have used collective decision-making to restore the diversity of their forest.
‘Learning from the commons: a keystone for a rewilded future’ is part of an on-going investigation. It posits that a network of territorial commons could become a key framework for re-inhabiting our rural territories and generate participatory environmental restoration projects.
Fascinated by environmental activist developing open-source environmental sensing techniques, Stefan Laxness created his own cameras to capture the rate of photosynthesis in plants. Rigging the cameras to a simple helium balloon, he undertakes a series individual and collective ‘sensory walks’ through rural Spain to register and engage with processes of land abandonment and rural depopulation. Inherently unstable and subject to changes in the environment, the balloon becomes mediator or a device between himself and the land. Slowly moving through the brush, carefully navigating the spatial threshold of communal land, private property and abandoned parcels, these walks provide a near-sensing of the land.
In collaboration with Fundación RIA and the Barbanza Ecosocial Lab, Stefan Laxness records the collective action of maintenance and care of the communal forest. His work seeks to sense and reflect on the consequences of a collective project of environmental restoration.