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ISLA, the beginning

ISLA has been in our minds for a long time, haunting our thoughts, living with us day by day. Perhaps for longer than we are able to remember.

Finally, The Beginning has arrived.

The project, in addition to combining two of the most important pillars on which we base our work, such as art and sustainability, encompasses the perception, sometimes idyllic but not impossible to achieve, that we have about life, the visual arts, the environment that surrounds us. At the end of the day, it is about seeking balance, healing, recovering, investigating, proposing, and enriching through artistic practices that are sensitive to the environment. ISLA emerges as a platform for receiving and transmitting thoughts, objectives, points of view, transformative ideas and global concerns.

At the end of the day, it is about seeking balance, healing, recovering, investigating, proposing, and enriching through artistic practices that are sensitive to the environment.

We share a space for thought and reflection with a series of artists who have been formally developing different problems for many years: Luna Bengoechea, Bárbara Fluxá, Agustín Ibarrola, Mercedes Lara, Elena Lavellés, Lecuona y Hernández, Lucía Loren, Menhir, Miguel Sbastida, Toshiro Yamaguchi and Juan Zamora.

The Beginning is already a reality, which we hope you will enjoy starting today.


ISLA's interventions speak of seeking new ways to reconnect with nature and the territory, of reflecting on the fabric that sustains life, displacing the anthropocentric gaze in search of new formulas for cohabiting the planet. Like Toshiro Yamaguchi's butterflies that bathe the terrain to talk about cycles of interdependence; the water troughs created by Juan Zamora from watermelon peels for the fauna that inhabits the territory; the Bárbara Fluxá scientific station that broadcasts the “feel” of an oak tree to a live website using a thermographic camera and sensors; or the carpet of seeds traditionally grown in our territory of Luna Bengoechea Peña with which it generates the image of an imperial eagle, a protected species in the area.

Menhir (Iván Cebrián and Coco Moya) immerse us in an experience of walking music that dialogues with the margins of astrophysics and references to ancestral cultures, a totemic character that they share with the railway sleepers intervened by Agustín Ibarrola.

The marbles from the Lecuona and Hernández region hang from the trees to suggest the dismantling of dominant narratives, while Elena Lavellés' tastings based on her dendrology research analyze the environmental changes of the territory recorded in the rings of their trunks. Mercedes Lara's cotton threads are also displayed on the trees to connect with the recovery of manual work and rethink the space, time and light of the territory.

Lucía Loren's wicker-woven structures reused from a previous work resemble organic forms similar to mushrooms, a fundamental link in the configuration of life. Just as salt is, an essential component of our organisms and of Miguel Sbastida's installation created from halites, which connect us with deep time.

All of them propose an ecocentric view that speaks of regeneration, of symbiosis, of awakening new forms of ecopolitical imagination to experiment with other modes of coexistence and, ultimately, of being and being in the world.


Traviesas. 1980s . Intervened railway sleepers


The expansion of the plastic research that Ibarrola had developed with Team 57, led him to the configuration of his own language, painting forests, trees, rocks and other natural elements where he continued his exploration of form, color and line, from of the physical and emotional connection with the context. For the artist, “a landscape is influenced by everything from history to cultural or mythological beliefs” and, by incorporating painting, “nature acquires other atmospheres and the landscape is transformed.”

ISLA shows a set of Traviesas in line with the different series that the artist created since the eighties, both indoors and outdoors. In them, the iron of the industrial landscape that marked his childhood is combined with the organicity of wood, where painting and sculpture merge in the natural environment itself, which the artist incorporated as another part of his artistic language.

The totemic character is another of the characteristics that was repeated throughout the artist's works, which is joined here by the inspiration in the Paleolithic paintings of the Santimamiñe caves, in the Oma Valley where he lived, as well as the incorporation of references from other ancestral cultures such as dolmens or Celtic constructions and allusions to the vernacular.


Avere. 2023. Installation created with local grains.


Bengoechea Peña's works revolve around the problems of the modern food industry, which are perpetuated in an environment in which we have lost contact with the origins, the natural environment and the provenance of our food, in a system dictated by interests. economic and speculation with natural assets.

For ISLA, she has created a specific intervention from locally produced grains and seeds with which he generates, like a carpet or mandala, an image of a bird typical of the natural space of Robledo de Chavela.

The fact of using natural materials from the environment itself seeks to minimize the ecological impact as well as facilitate the piece to change and evolve organically in the terrain, symbolically integrating into the space, in allusion to the germ of a project that has just been born.

The title of this piece refers to the word bird (from the Latin avere: to be well) and proposes to question current extractive practices, as well as to revalue territories such as ISLA, a protected natural space and Special Protection Area for Birds ( ZEPA Nº 56 Encinares de los Ríos Cofio and Alberche), where endangered birds live.


Conectar (24/7) con un Quercus Ilex. 2023 .Installation of thermographic video and meteorological data sensor [live broadcast coming soon]


Fluxá proposes a reconsideration of nature to move away from the dominating anthropocentric paradigm towards the natural, through the affectionate and speculative subjectivation of the data provided by the new visualization and datafication technologies of life.

For ISLA, she has developed a research and artistic creation project around a new affectionate look at the plant world, with special interest in trees and forests, an essential habitat for the development of life on the planet, where the instrumental reason of contemporary society (deforestation, logging, fires, etc.), with the natural right of survival and agency of non-humans.

The project is formalized as a kind of site-specific scientific station that broadcasts to a website, live and 24 hours a day, the “feel” of an oak (Querqus Ilex) in the territory of ISLA. Using a thermal imaging camera and sensors, thermal images and meteorological data such as temperature, humidity, solar radiation, etc. are collected. With this, the artist offers us a new non-intrusive experience of connection with nature from the spatiotemporal distance of images and technological networks.


Infinite Butterfly. 2016-2023 . Installation of Japanese paper, wire, pigment and oil.


Yamaguchi's work seeks to free the work from materials with rigid and bulky characteristics to opt for simple and light materials and expose its organic structure. In this case it focuses on the coexistence between humanity and nature, and the idea of ​​mutual interdependence and endless cycles of regeneration.

The work is inspired by the Chinese thinker Zhuangzi, who in "The Dream of the Butterfly" narrates how one day, after dreaming that he was fluttering like a butterfly, he thought: Did I really dream that I was a butterfly, or the butterfly that I saw in my dream is actually my true self and the person I am now is the dream of a butterfly?”

The artist refers to Jung's collective unconscious as a means of knowledge and connection not limited to the human, but transcends non-human souls. The psychologist compared the real world to a flower: "The flowers pass, but the roots remain the same." The pollen that sticks to the butterfly's body reproduces the next flower, and the nectar that flower produces keeps the next generation of butterflies alive.

Each butterfly placed here determines the position of the next one. Thus, its soul can also be transmitted to every being on the planet, appealing to interactive symbiotic harmony with the rest of the ecosystem.


Roca de sal (cycle). 2023 . Installation of carved salt rock stones (halite).


Sbastida's work is situated liminally between environmental studies and visual arts, to generate spaces for critical reflection around issues of sustainability,

deconstruction of the nature/culture dualism, and creation of new subjectivities of planetary coexistence.

For ISLA, the artist has created an installation based on the circular arrangement of a set of halites, previously carved with progressively organic shapes, alluding to the vitality of salt, as an essential component of our organisms.

Ingesting this material not only provides nutrition from terrestrial minerals, but also connects the human being with deep time, unifying the body and the mountain. Is it possible to think of the human body not only as a creator of geology in the Anthropocene, but as a territory for geology itself? he asks.

Thus, he establishes meeting points between the biological and the geological, the cultural and the natural, the vital and the inert; as means to rethink the space of our bodies and interrogate the anthropocentric structures of our relationship with nature. This continuous search for convergence between the human and the non-human, matter, flows and interrelations has progressively led him to investigate speculative materialities, temporalities that escape our perception, and processes related to ecological problems from the languages ​​of art.


Hongos. 2023. Wicker installation.


Loren's work is characterized by the development of site-specific proposals where she activates dialogue processes between the landscape and the rest of the beings that inhabit it, human and non-human, triggering exchanges that speak of symbiosis, regeneration and repair.

For ISLA he creates his proposal from the recycling of some pieces that made up the installation Matriz de Agua (2017). After several months outdoors, the wicker-woven structures changed their appearance, acquiring organic shapes similar to mushrooms.

Fungi are one of the natural kingdoms that escape our field of vision, although they are found in the air, soil, food and even inside our bodies. They form a fundamental link in the configuration of life, generating symbiotic relationships that are fundamental for the sustainability of the planet. As Merlin Sheldrake points out in his book La red oculta de la vida, it is essential to become aware of our dependence on fungi as regenerators, recyclers and weavers of networks that unite worlds.

Robledo de Chavela is one of the Madrid municipalities with the greatest mycological tradition, which is why this proposal aims to be the beginning of a future creation project in the ISLA environment, to explore from artistic practice mycoremediation or the regenerative capacity of some fungi to clean the environment of pollutants.


Aflorar las piedras. 2023. Watermelon peels, water and pine resin.


Zamora bases his research on the idea of ​​ecodependence and interspecies learning, focusing on the importance of projecting more ecological future scenarios through dialogue with the environment.

For ISLA, he has created an installation of drinking fountains for the fauna that inhabits the territory, using watermelon peels cut in half as a bowl, the contents of which served as food for the artist himself. Once treated with ecological resin to facilitate their durability over time, insert the resulting containers in an area that stands out for a set of large rocks, which seem to connect us with the ancient past of the place and refer to a time when human- non-human could have taken a different course. With this gesture of empathy, as a ritual, Zamora develops a work that will be part of the land and will be a place to quench the thirst of all types of birds, wild boars and rabbits.

The concept of surfacing relates both to the idea of ​​germination and water gushing out of the works, and to the bacterial flora, the microbiota, a set of microorganisms that we share with the aforementioned species. The artist thus speaks of empathizing from that second brain that is the stomach and opening one more door to the infinite speculative possibilities of interspecies interaction that art allows.


Posar para la muerte. 2023. Installation of marble fragments from the area and cotton tape.


The artists question the construction of our symbolic imaginary and the processes of construction of a collective story, taking their local identity as a starting point to delve into issues that concern a narrative of global order.

The work is produced from marble from the region, a noble material historically associated with power and used in the construction of monuments that have served to strengthen some of the bases of the civilizational construct. The artists suggest the disarticulation of these narratives by showing them in light fragments, which operate as aerial counterweights. The fragments hint at the break with the foundations of the idea of ​​progress as continuous growth and establish a symbolic bridge with the Canarian origin of Lecuona and Hernández, an island-ISLAND relationship that does not avoid the economic, political and colonial connotations that underlie the historical past. between America, Europe and Africa.

With that somewhat ritual aspect, hanging from the trees, the reconnection with the natural is suggested, questioning the living-inert binomial, reminding us that the main component of marble is calcium carbonate and calcium is the most abundant mineral in our body. Furthermore, the root of the word marble comes from the Sanskrit “sea”, in reference to the movement of waves, in this case the waters that metaphorically surround our ISLA.


Líneas rectas. 2023. Participatory installation with cotton threads.


Space, time and light are the key elements in Lara's work, with which she plays through plastic investigations focused on chromatic changes that interact with the viewer's gaze.

For ISLA she has developed a specific project based on one of the most representative materials of her work, threads, which due to their fragility and malleability allow her to investigate the passage of time and our perception of it. With them, she refers us here to the need to establish ties with the place and invites visitors to collaborate in the piece and imitate the Earth and interpret its movements, creating a kind of skeleton of a new collective fluctuation.

The artist also seeks to connect with the recovery of manual and traditional work, with the daily life of mundane tasks. By intervening on the trees of the territory, she suggests the development of new networks of collaboration and reminds us of the weave of threads of ecodependence and interdependence that make up the basis of the fabric that sustains life..


From the Core to the Future. 2023. Installation based on a sample of ISLA tree cores and a Pressler drill bit.


Dendrochronology (dendro: tree /chrono: time /logy: knowledge or study) is a scientific discipline that studies the environmental changes recorded in the rings of trees as a result of their annual growth. Just as a geological section or a core extracted from the strata of the soil tells us about the evolution of a territory and the changes that have occurred over a deep period of time, trees reveal their way of growing in a specific environment.

When a study is carried out using tree rings, cores or cores are extracted using a Pressler auger so that the species are not damaged. On this occasion, the artist proposes a sample that corresponds to a selection of ISLA trees from which samples will be taken again in several years.

Lavellés' work combines scientific and artistic language to develop works that suggest different ways of understanding the world, and speaks of the micro to interpret the macro. Taking these small samples from the inside of the trees allows us to analyze the climatic and environmental environment of ISLA in a more general way, although samples of different trees and even different species are needed to reach a global conclusion.


13 Moons and a Blackhole. 2023. Ambient electronic music.


The music of this collective is created for immersive, site-specific performances, and interactive installations and explores the combination of analog synthesis with innovative digital instruments, using voice and sampling.

Based on their interest in the NASA Space Station, belonging to the Robledo de Chavela Deep Space Network, near ISLA, they have developed a sound piece time-specific which is located in a territory that is more temporal than spatial, around lunar cycles and astronomical objects. The work consists of a geolocated journey that dialogues with the margins of astrophysics that take place in nature and that are dedicated to a radical and exhaustive contemplation of the universe.

Through a free mobile phone application, the work is configured as a walking music experience, a circular way to make us travel through the territory of ISLA, which must be performed by the listener. With its movements, this recreates the rituality of ancient stone circles such as the megalithic monument of Stonehenge, true lunar calendars, megalithic cromlechs that signaled events and stellar objects and that are now incarnated again in these virtual sound stones.

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