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About the project

The project involves the reconstruction of a ‘chozo’ and its subsequent conversion into a landscape observatory, using the logic of the camera obscura. Chozos are refuges built by nomadic shepherds in common land across rural Spain. Farmers, hunters, and shepherds used them to protect themselves from weather adversities, but after the industrialization of the countryside, they fell into disrepair. At the end of 2009 I rebuilt the first chozo in my hometown Guzmán, a Spanish village of 80 inhabitants, and turned it into a life-size camera obscura in which you could see the external landscape in the chozo’s interior, but inverted 180º.

The work aims to reconnect the rural population to their surroundings. The farming land, once a place buzzing with life and people, today sits emptied from its social fabric. The activation of this vernacular architecture worked as an invitation to go out in the fields for reasons other than work. It has become a place for visual experimentation as well as social encounter.

The chozo gives back the reflection of our familiar landscape flipped upside-down, forcing the viewer to restart the recognition process. While most of the rural imagery is stuck in the nostalgia of a glorious past, the chozo reloads the image of the current situation in real time, generating an ever-changing portrait.

The plan is to expand the scope of this landscape observatory by rebuilding and transforming into pinhole cameras the other chozos which lay abandoned in different locations of Guzmán’s farming land.

The objective is to recover the legacy of shepherds’ architecture as a tool for knowledge transformation, involving other fields such as optics, physics, eye anatomy and photography, and to contribute to the intellectual growth of the region.

About the artist

Asunción employs multiple media to examine the rural realm. The main focus of her practice is contemporary peasantry. She has produced work reflecting on land usage, farmers strikes, transformation of rural labour, biotechnology and global food trade. Her project WAM won the Sharjah Biennial 12 prize. She has shown at Arnolfini (Bristol), Matadero (Madrid), Townhouse (Cairo) Darat Al Funun (Amman) and Delfina Foundation (London) . Molinos obtained her MA and BFA from Complutense University Madrid.