​© Álvaro Gómez Pidal 2019

ALEGRÍA DI VISIÓN - Hickeys

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A LIMBO FOR THE YOUTH

A project that explores my generation. A generation that is confused in the midst of an intense political and social turning point. This series creates a mysterious oniric limbo, decayed and rural. Placing the young out of time context. A limbo in which young ones wander among the animals in a re-discovery of nature and existence. Maybe searching for a certain re connection with that nature or some ancient and forgotten sense of magic that may bring sense to their beings.


Un proyecto que indaga en mi generación. Una generación confusa y aparentemente perdida en mitad de un intenso momento de cambio político y social. Así esta serie crea un limbo misterioso, onírico, decadente y rural que descontextualiza a esa juventud. Un limbo por el que vagan jóvenes y animales dialogando con la naturaleza y la propia existencia. Quizás buscando una reconexión con la naturaleza o algún tipo de magia ancestral ya olvidada que pueda devolver el sentido a las cosas.



 













The Story :

I joined an Eramus programe with Latvian studients. We spent a week at a cast off village on the mountains. One of these places where time has its own appeased metronom. One of the dates came to be May 4th, the Latvian independece day from the former Soviet Union. That was 26 years ago. A country a little younger than me with an elderly population. I found among them a deep need for identity that led them to show us their traditions and costumes and behaviours. With an strong sense of responsability not to follow the example of their elders drown in alcohol issues.

 

We lived in a town full of abandoned and collapsed houses. An old echo from the past renewed by our youth in our explorational wandering. Sheep were an important part of that town. We came across many bones. Where there is sheep there is always bones. But not only death and decay surrounded us, newborn lambs as well. Seemingly pure, white and soft. Stained in blood. The sheep population felt more active than the human one. Comming from cities  relates to the flock. Following the flock through the crowded sidewalks and subway trains. Alienated all going to their unstable jobs everyday. Cities have less sense of community and more individuality but ironically resemble the flock better. Spreading ourselves along the fields, trees and hills felt vital, as nature itself might be a guiding light far better than any anxiolytic.

Ieva merged with the branches. Away from the life that is ment for us.  As we wandered round trying to discover our insides, the beauty and uncertainity of what's new, yet old.  You can not merge in the urban landscape, just by being a ant from the distance.

In front of a village wall stood the latvian boy. Names and twisted scribbles of the young leaving a mark for the future. Roman had a Palestinian like scarve. Among with the old wall reminding of the new walls rising in the middle east.

Death was embraced with tenderness on our explorations. The gone ones having a meaning for the future. Sheep bones were our amulets. Elena and Laima found a skull and caressed it like a real treasure of life and death.

Vacant houses were dangerous and filled with surprises. Rotten griders leaving the stars visible. See the stars where there is no hope of finding life at all.

One evening I heard a mourning sheep down the road. The thorn bushes where shaking. I knew what I had to do. I took a wet strong stick from the lumber pile and runned down the hill. Started crushing the thorn vines in anger until the tangeled sheep was visible. Then in a psychopath like act I stopped to take a photograph of the suffering being. After two takes I continued until it was free and run away down to the bottom of the valley where the flock sleeps. I saved it from an starving fate but not from the one that was about to come in the thorns and spikes of the slaughterhouse.
 

We think we are freed but still we follow the flock along to the hooks and throat knives.

One cold windy day I started climbing up the hill. There was a flock by the almond trees on the top. Shepherd dog standing by. Light rain struck with a strong wind hitting hard. I stood on top of a rock and felt the wind cutting freeze my skin. It was painful but I just stood there, stared at the horizon thinking. And as a revelation I realised I had long forgotten something. Wasn’t that some kind of happines too? It was. That natural lone setting was healing.

The only local kids would play hunting with the sling. Hitting birds and their nests. We are taught to kill, to hunt the weak and stalk prays for no particular reason. It is just a game we play or do we play it on ourselves as well?

 

For some it is just children playing.

Vultures where stalking from above. I carefuly approached the flock till they got used to me and was surrounded by it. I was struck by the colour red. Newborn lambs had just slipped out of two wombs. Mothers covered in blood licking their babies, umbilical cords hanging down. Lambs looked dead for several minutes. Then stood up for their first steps. There came the shepherd in a metaphor of life and grabbed them but the back legs. Dropped the newborns on the back of a truck. Separated from their mothers ment to fulfill another fate.

The son of Iraida, Mateo, accompanied us. Seemed like a symbolic representation of the generation coming after. Will he understand the world better than we do? Or would he just be like those newborn lambs with a written fate? Are we able to guide him explore the world's dark and beautiful waters of life?

Katrina starred long at the lamb stew. Stirred the pot a few times, reluctant to eat. Was that meat from the lambs that just passed by earlier that morning?

On the bar there was a trophy head of a big deer. For everyone to see the achivements of some strong against the innocent. Are we sometimes like hunted animals for the powerful to enjoy?

Rita was like a child after all. Killing or not. Always remains innocent.

Unlike us

Unlike the innocence of the hunting greyhound Rita that came with us. She brought a little dead bird trying to show loyalty. It was a present from the tammed instincs.

José looked older, tired. Resembling a minner that could have been working there back then. Mines  had shut down many decades ago. Coal was all gone. Now hunting and drinking were the only activities left in the village.

We choose drinking. Maybe that is what the wold wants. Our sedated youth to be unconcious, innocent and easy to hunt. But can we help it when we want peace?

I try and look ahead in the darkened haze of our times. My eyes are never clear and hide myself under a hat.

Eliza was so shy she made me shiver. When I portrayed her, my hands were shaking for breaking such shyness into the beautiful and timeless.


Later she would understand that talking fluidly is not expressing, most of the times it isn’t. But from the bottom of her eyes I see some kind of mysterious hope.

The flock just follows, wanders without will and always full of fear.

 

 In Palestine christians told me that in the Bible people are often associated with a sheep flock, and God being the shepherd.

 

Who is the shepherd that guides us safe to the slaughterhouse?