Notes about the experience we had for 9 days in January – focusing on SOIL, SaLo, land and the community of Arrimadero.
“We” were 20 selected residents who stayed in Patrick Dillon’s wonderful work of art / co-existing structure – SaLo. A diverse group of selected experts in residence from the fields of art, activism, NGOs, photography, design, geology, architecture, craftsmanship, writing, yoga and agriculture. The goal was to exchange knowledge about the value of soil, earth, land, territory and general grounding practices amongst ourselves and the community of Arrimadero (20+ participants each day, mostly women and children), in this particular biological and cultural context where SaLo stands.
Oh, and that is exactly what we did!
Presentations in the Restaurante Maria Auxiliadora
- community evaluation – past, present and future visions – with Paola Reyes Corró
- The geological History of Panama and the connection to the pillow lava characteristic of the coast of Arrimadero with Dr. Tony Coates
- Art and Soil – the complex community in good soil and the soil-erg (dOCUMENTA13), with renowned artist Claire Pentecost
- Composting, the importance of seed banks and growing your own food with Debora Rivera
- Sustainable Tourism and life on this particular bit of land with Mir Rodriguez (Almanaque Azul) and Roman Yavich (Azuero Earth Project)
- Cébaco oral history project – and tour of the Art Lodge in Gobernadora Island + arts and crafts practices – with Jorge Ventocilla, Valerie Leblet and Veronica Moreno.
Each presentation was accompanied by activities and conversations with a day or two in between that created a pattern of feedback loops – or lines that reinforced the information shared and lead into the next soil-related theme.
- We made a compost pile – which in 10 days became effectively wonderful black earth (in our recent follow-up visit, we found some of the compost still there with cucumber or pumpkin growing out of it! :))
- We did a soil-search and found good clay for building an experimental clay oven or for a future clay and sculpture workshop.
- We looked at different soil samples through a microscope to give life and shape to the presentation Claire had made
- We painted with the kids – using pencils to draw and different shades of plain earth (mixed with coconut oil for fixing) – the mothers were very happy to see that art can be made without having to buy expensive paints in the store.
- We talked about the geological history of Arrimadero – and the history of the people there. The name Arrimadero comes from the fact that much driftwood piled up on this beach — just as did the exotic lava that shaped the bay millions of years ago — just as did the families that decided to settle there.
- We visited the pillow lava and swam in the tide-pool that Patrick has modified to make it pleasurable and safe to dip in at any height of the tide.
- We woke up to writing sessions lead by Jennifer Spector
- We walked, we talked, we swam, we noticed the flowers, the butterflies, the tides
- We shared delicious meals cooked by the women of the Maria Auxiliadora Association, as well as cooked meals together with Kevin Simmons (our over-qualified master chef for the week)
- We were guided through meditations and mild hypnosis by Christ van Leest, to connect with the rock that SaLo stands on, and process the ecosystem and composting of minds that was happening with us throughout the 8 days.
- We decorated a stage for the community’s Feria del Mar, which ended our residency period.
- And of course, we danced that night!
People were happy! Inspired! Moved! Out of the varied experiences and apparent chaos, emerged a self-organization and a desire to keep the movement going.
- A booklet: NOTES ON SUELO – will be released as a pdf. and hand-made book for purchase in March, 2014
- A film by Rose Cromwell
- A mini-version of the residency shared during the 2-day Festival Abierto at our SUELO stand (come find us if you are in Panama City on March 22nd and 23rd)
Where to next?
- Letting SUELO follow up organically – in each of us, in the genuine interests from the community and those who want to return. E.g. The Art Lodge just gave an arts and crafts workshop this week – all the community women and children of Arrimadero came and learned!
- Knowledge shared and generated will be followed up in more focused theme-based projects. That we will announce with time.
- Structure and define Estudio Nuboso’s next steps, activities and organization. 🙂
- Articulate how, indeed, an artistic approach and art itself can have a powerful influence and relation to ecology (the study of our relation to our home) and society (all of us)
If you fancy having a SUELO Multidisciplinary Residency or a spin-off of it in your land, home, community contact us – or go for it! We are in the SUELO mood each time with connect with our selves, our families, friends, communities, food systems, and realise that we are part of the land we stand on – and hence, can take action 🙂