or how the construction of a dam changed everything
Since its origins, photography has made it possible to reinforce the collective awareness of facts and events, making a decisive contribution to the processes of identification/qualification of physical spaces, territories and landscapes. Photography is also the key tool that makes it possible to "take places elsewhere", making them travel in the minds of distant people and scholars, creating worlds of unexpected connections and new relationships of coherence in diversity. Between the 1970s and the 2000s, there are numerous examples of how government institutions entrusted multidisciplinary teams, and photographers as pioneers, with the acquisition of photographic information with the aim of constituting a visual atlas, a collective memory, useful for making decisions about the territory. Works such as DATAR in France, Osserva.TER in Italy, Long term observation Schlieren in Switzerland, are just some of the examples of productive collaboration between photographers and territorial government bodies that have demonstrated the strategic importance of this method, guiding planning over the decades and being replicated in many countries.
The acquisition of a new awareness in the process of landscape analysis is therefore closely linked to the photographer's ability to listen to the territory, to walk through it, to observe it carefully. The purpose of this thesis is the construction of a method of action-research that uses the experience as a key tool and its narrative as an output. The research focuses on the dynamics of transformation of the landscape of inland Spain with the aim of understanding the phenomenon of depopulation and for a more conscious and participatory transformation of places. The experimentation of the method in Spanish territory takes place along the route of a stretch of the Camino de Santiago and in the area of a dam built during the Franco regime. It investigates how the presence and spatial legacy of the of the engineering infrastructure of the Yesa reservoir, completed in 1959, is the cause of a constan transformation of the social, economic and landscape context of the valley. The moment of construction of the infrastructure marks the beginning of a long period of suffering for the territory, which has seen its population drastically and radically reduced. The thesis employs the visual method, combining photography with fieldwork and interviews and meetings with the local protagonists . The work is thus articulated on different spatial and perceptual scales. By listening to and physically crossing the territory, a new vocabulary is built up among images, words, text, video and sounds.