IDENTITY AND AESTHETICS IN A REWILDED EUROPE

Residency: LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial

Year: upcoming 2020

As part of the European Media Artists Exchange residency program, Stefan Laxness explores the potential of rewilding in Europe as an operative territorial strategy with far reaching consequences on how we occupy space and engage as citizens.

Rewilding is the process of returning vast tracts of land to their original pre-agricultural state through the introduction and passive management of key-stone species. With 4 out of 5 EU citizens living in urban areas, depopulation and large-scale land abandonment are causing social, economic and ecological decline. Rewilding advocates point to these trends as an opportunity to radically change the European landscape for the better: fighting climate change, avoiding ecological collapse, revitalising declining regions, etc. However, such a project would inevitably conflict with the complexities of the European territory and require us to rethink how we negotiate, transform, re-use or preserve our built environment.

From the Cordillera Cantábrica in Spain to Bragança in Portugal, passing through the plains of León, Stefan Laxness will survey a cross section of the Iberian Peninsula conducting field work and experimenting with environmental image capturing technology. By understanding rewilding as a process of negotiation and transformation, Stefan Laxness seeks to reveal the latent potential of our rural areas and explore our relationship as rewilded citizens with architecture, territory and wilderness.