Our project sets out to make the villages in the Spanish colonization program visible again through a review, under a contemporary gaze, of their current situation by means of photography which, as we have seen, represents a crucial means of diffusion and analysis of Architecture.
In the same breath, we would like to point out the fundamental role played by the photographer Joaquín del Palacio (Kindel)´s photographic gaze at the time when the colonization program was implemented. His photographs created back then, have served us as a starting point. These are images that, alongside those taken by other photographers commissioned by Franco’s dictatorial regime, were used with an eye on state propaganda, this being the main cause why this colonization has remained forgotten for decades, despite it being the biggest internal migration in 20th century Spain.
After visiting and photographing, along 4 years of work, more than 30 of these villages we derive as conclusions their current validity, deterioration and alteration alongside their obstinate vocation of permanence by the construction of a new memory upon the already colonised Architecture.
This colonization program, developed by the Instituto Nacional de Colonización (INC), with precedents in the 2nd Spanish Republic and fascist Italy, aimed to stimulate the devastated Spanish economy through its agriculture by means of tilling new fertile lands. For that purpose, a large number of dams and canals were built to provide water for new irrigation lands and some 300 new population settlements which were to be occupied by colonists from nearby villages.
The result of this project carried out by Ana Amado and Andrés Patiño (architects and photographers), forms a divulgation book, articulated in thematic blocks (socio-political context, hydraulic policy and the INC; propaganda, photography and architecture; the settlers; towns and maps) that combines our photographs and texts with those of relevant authors of trajectories related to the subject.
“Inhabiting the water” has been promoted by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and edited by Turner.
I. Presentation: "The beauty of what was born poor. The work of the National Institute of Colonization in Spain in the 20th century 1939-1971". Ana Amado and Andrés Patiño.
II. The Memory of Water. Texts by Iñaki Bergera, Nativel Preciado, Julio Llamazares, Marina_Morón, Bea S. González Jiménez, Juan Manuel García Bartolomé, Ana María Matute, Carlos Nárdiz Ortiz, Esther Abujeta Martín and Cristóbal Gómez Benito. Followed by a block of photographs by the authors.
III. The Inhabited Water. Texts by Ángel Cordero, Rafael Fernández del Amo, Silvia Blanco Agüeira, Antonio Fernández Alba, Fernando de Terán, Eduardo Delgado Orusco, Miguel Centallas Soler, Sofía Moro, María Ángeles Durán and Pablo Rabasco Pozuelo. Followed by a block of photographs by the authors.
IV. The Italian antecedent. "The colonization of the Roman Agro Pontino. The bonifica integrale of Mussolini (1932-39) and the Spanish colonization". Ana Amado and Andrés Patiño. Text by the Italian author Antonio Pennacchi
Sheets of the towns visited.
TitleInhabiting the Water ("Habitar el agua")
AuthorAna Amado and Andrés Patiño