Solar Narratives orchestrates the coalescence and the capacity of the different bodies to sense each other. It constitutes an environment of distributed cognition establishing a continuous flow with the environment, animals and plants.
An artificial skin constitutes an interspecies and solar device. Giving voice to the sun and the organisms to which it gives life.
It reminds us of the inter-species links that shape us and the territory. The architecture here is inserted as one more body in somatic coalescence with the rest.
Solar Narratives is installed in La Sobarriba where hectares of solar panels threaten the habitat of species such as the black crow (Corvus corone), which only here generates family links. The necessary transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies cannot be made at the cost of massive biodiversity loss…. Proper planning is needed. The black crow is just one of the many organisms affected by “Alba 1” – the first in the series of planned solar infrastructures. Solar Narratives and their activists advocate for a fair ecological transition.
In the “territories of sacrifice” indestructible spirits emerge and enter into action. Solar Narratives proposes to give agency and voice to the sun in the framework of sacrificial territories affected by solar macro installations that repeat the extractivist patterns of other energy resources in the territory. The sun is here a political agent.
Fighting for a just energy transition, the structure of the project is, in its entirety, a mediation between the people who inhabit this geography, the earth, the more-than-human world and the sun.
It has several phases and layers of meaning and activism. The first phase is built with “sebes” and earth. Mounds and delimitations that already build an observatory of the sun. The sun, generator of life, speaks to us of other eco-social governance. The second phase is a wooden structure that makes the communication interface with the sun even clearer. The structure is a meeting point for an open council (“concejo abierto”), configuring a decision-making circle where the traditional uncounted also have a voice. It also incorporates a two-sided screen. On one side, the screen receives the shadows of a collection of interspecies skin scales – of all those forms of life that the sun fosters: the scales make visible the solar narratives. On the other, the screen receives the community’s eco-social claims and activism.
On 4 November 2023 we started the construction of the project by convening a “hacendera”. The collective construction focused on the living “sebes” surrounding the wooden pavilion that will be inaugurated this spring. “En Noviembre todo palo prende” so we planted the “hincones” living trees (various species of willows: “paleras”, “salgueras” or “balsas”) of special flexibility and fast growth; among them are included diverse bushes such as brambles or wild roses; and they are intertwined and supported by the “cinchos” and the “vilortas”.
The “sebes” are a construction but they also shade the grass; they protect from heat and cold; they provide firewood, wood or fruit; they combat erosion and fertilise the soil with their nutrient pumps.
In this project the commons and governance are fundamental ingredients, so we did it together, under the wisdom especially of Justo, but also of Maruja, Fran, Pope, Tama, Soraya, Daniela, Marina, Marta, Alfredo, Carlos, Eloy, Carolina, Aurora (most of them members of the “Plataforma Ciudadana en Defensa de la Sobarriba”)… and the support of Mauro, Carmen, Pablo or Mar.
The project Narrativas Solares also includes a form of governance related to the form of ownership of the commons.
The piece is set in one of the communal meadows of León, a form of property between the private and the public: the collective. The owners are all the neighbours of the village of Villavente, a group that has changed over the years, and are governed by a neighbourhood council. At present, water from a nearby spring is channelled into the communal area to create ponds for livestock. The more-than-human and the interspecies encounter is part of this parliament.
The governance of the piece will be handed over to the participants, and all of them, as an open council, will make decisions and strategies in defense of the territory, its people and its biodiversity.
You can access to more information about the project in the website of CONCOMITENTES / Narrativas Solares.
This project is developed under the frame of CONCOMITENTES – Fundación Daniel y Nina Carasso; and with the mediation of Alfreo Escapa Presa.
Author: María Auxiliadora Gálvez
Collaborators: Carmen Parte and Mariano Molina Iniesta
Comitentes: Citizen's Platform in Defense of La Sobarriba.
Construction: Gerardo Gorris
Production: Alfredo Escapa Presa and Tamara Rodríguez
Photography: Mar Astiárraga