Madrid – Rabat: Co-ordinated teaching and research project on heritage and cultural landscape
Juan Miguel Hernández León
Lucía García de Jalón
Luis Maldonado Ramos
Rodrigo de la O
Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional AECID, Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores
In 1968, artist Robert Smithson published an article entitled “Incidents of Mirror-Travel in the Yucatan” in the magazine Artforum. This article began with two citations, one by J. Eric S. Thompson from the book Maya Hieroglyphic Writing, and another by Claude Levi-Strauss from The Savage Mind, which reads as follows:
The characteristic feature of the savage mind is its timelessness; its object is to grasp the world as both a synchronic and a diachronic totality and the knowledge which it draws therefrom is like that afforded of a room by mirrors fixed on opposite walls, which reflect each other (as well as objects in the intervening space) although without being strictly parallel.
Given these indications and actions, this research focuses on a specular, enantiomorphic interaction which, similarly to Robert Smithson’s concepts, provides both synchronic and diachronic holistic knowledge of the unique and conflictive space that is the Gibraltar Strait. The idea is to act as Smithson did on his travels around the Yucatan peninsula. In other words, to put up mirrors facing each other in various spots of the Strait, which can reflect and therefore capture and incorporate actions from one place in the mirror opposite. This would test out the action of “displacing” meanings and create drifting links between the two shores.
The purpose of this speculative research is to uncover the circumstances, valences and bonds between the various parameters that define this territory. Concepts such as limit, edge, border, orient, geography, topography, enclosure, identity, property, exchange, hybridisation, topology, void, energy and memory are all unavoidable when it comes to matching up structures.