Things to Do with the Family Album: “Territorio Archivo”

“Territorio Archivo” was born in late summer 2011. It is a work-in-progress promoted by the documentary filmmaker Chus Domínguez, following an invitation to develop a project for the newly created Cerezales Foundation, near León, in Spain. Chus Domínguez decided to use such invitation for researching the ecosystemic and physical-cultural relationships of six small villages in the now deserted region of Condado-Curueño, in central Spain, where the Cerezales Foundation is also based.

Taking as a starting point the link between the concepts of “territory” and “archive”, this project started with an exhaustive work of research and analysis of the domestic archives in these villages. Along several months, homes were visited, photographs were scanned and their contents were noted down, so as to establish links between residents and places. This research was carried out with the commitment, both on the research team and the inhabitants’ side, that the authority of the latter as ”domestic keepers” of a shared collection of documents would be acknowledged.

terri-arch-reunion-8:6:12At some point in the process, Chus Domínguez and the Cerezales Foundation team decided to call in some advisors in order to assess and round up their plans for the digital archive of images that “Territorio Archivo” was generating. I was among them, and therefore had the opportunity, by taking part in these sessions, to witness a situation which is not so frequent: the involuntary birth of a digital archive whose physical contents were scattered in private homes, and would never be intended to come together. That is: an archive where each one of the individual images has a totally different relevance, or meaning, from the entire collection.

Besides the online archive, “Territorio Archivo” has already materialized itself in an exhibition, and a series of public gatherings around images of the archive addressed to the inhabitants of the area in question. The fourth and, in principle, last of the project’s materializations will be a book, expected for the spring of 2013 and containing images from the archive, as well as a series of essays written by Chus Domínguez and us, the team of advisors.

More info about “Territorio Archivo” here.