‘EIRA’ is an artistic project centred around the threshing floor observed in the context of humanity’s relationship with the soil, with agricultural practices and natural resources, as well as its role as the space for constructing the collective body.
The threshing floor – a place for threshing and drying grain and for communal work that was often free and on a reciprocal basis – despite having been central to Portuguese agricultural production and rural social organization for much of the 20th century, has essentially been omitted from academic studies of the productive, social and territorial past (as in the Survey on ‘Popular Architecture in Portugal’ published in 1961, which focused in this regard mainly on the formal issues of granaries and porches). This space, and the objects and instruments associated with it, are now documented and considered within a new system of connotations and cultural values that have been dragged back into contemporaneity.
At a moment in history when international food production and distribution networks are facing a global crisis, the need arises to reflect on the return of food cultivation and commercialization to local contexts and networks – where systems from the past, such as this agricultural structure, can give us clues and possibilities for different food systems.
The project brings together photographs taken by the author, archive videos, and oral testimonies collected on site involving individual memories and collective activities and work carried out on the threshing floor.
A renewed regime of visuals and meanings is proposed centred around this space, rurality and its artefacts – questioning anthropological narratives of the past which essentially denote an instrumentalisation of ethnography focussed on rural popular culture for the promotion of a particular national identity.
Inkjet print on paper Fine Art . Different dimensions . Edition: 5+1AP