Agostamiento (Drought in Matadero): What´s all this?

Authorship: Pablo Rey Mazón and Rubén Lorenzo Montero from Basurama. This text originally appeared at Basuramas’ blog.

One thousand sunflowers drying up inside the nave of an slaughter house. Corpses used to hang there, but now plants are hanging. It used to be a walk-in freezer, which now has frozen a landscape. The ground is covered with sand and rubble from the waste ground, it´s not a metaphor, it´s not a replica. Benches are for watching how life goes by (or nothing), and a place for eating the seeds of the sunflowers above. A faint yellow light, always about to disappear, floods the place. A video of the waste ground is playing in the background, in which (almost) nothing remarkable happens.

What is left out of the shot, outside of the room, outside of this amazing, empty, cold beauty, outside of the dream of the inverted waste ground, where sunflowers face to a sky of sand and rubble, it´s a video about reflections and thoughts of the neighbors, about what it means to move to live there, in the city of the waste ground. They told the personal stories that took them there, illusions and loss of hope, meeting the other neighbors. Pictures that show the process of farming the crops between the inhabitants of PAU y Basurama. From a waste ground to an urban crop of a size of a quarter of a hectare.

What is the installation art “Agostamiento en Abierto x Obras”? Is it a tale about the failure of urban planning? Is it a protest about the current state of neglect of urban development that remained incomplete? Is it a place where the neighbors can find each other and the place they inhabit? Is it a question about the wound caused by the excesses of the housing bubble and its crack, a wound that is still bleeding?

The plantation of the 7.000 sunflowers of the PAU in Ensanche de Vallecas is an urban orchard, but with a different scale, like the ones in Detroit. It´s agriculture in the city. The site where it lays is the unfinished Gran Via del Sureste boulevard. Every waste ground has its own history, or doesn´t have a history, and this looks like a planned site. It is a wasteland of 380 meters long surrounded by a hill of 1.5 meters of waste that goes around the whole perimeter. It is flanked by two roads of 3 lanes each with parkin parallel and perpendicular in each side and two huge roundabouts at both ends. In this dry plain is located the plantation of 30x70m. We should imagine the sunflowers taking up all the space of the long boulevard. The plantation that grows until spilling out.

If you hurry up, you still can visit the sunflowers that are still planted in the wasteland. They are getting to dry, dying so they can produce their fruits. Little by little their seeds would get dry so we can enjoy them. A necessary cycle of life after the crack of the inflorescence in the form of housing bubble. That´s the way the city grew until the shores of this wasteland, this is how it dies to reinvent itself.

The seven thousand oaks of Beuys are still part of the landscape of Kassell. What questions are going to lay out the seven thousand sunflowers of Vallecas?

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