Video installation of the Gerard Ortín's project Lycisca
The allegory of the Pozalagua cave is charged with meanings and counter meanings. The cave itself was discovered accidentally in 1957, when an explosion in a nearby quarry opened up a crack in the earth, unveiling its geological intimacies. Until that time, the cave had been fully unaffected by human affairs and interests. Up to then the economy of the Karrantza Valley had been principally based on sheepherding and the dolomite quarry itself, yet with the arrival of a new character on the scene (the cave), the area would end up being transformed by tourism.
Pozalagua is a speleological treasure. Its discovery has attracted all kinds of visitors to the valley, so much so that the local authorities had to come up with an appropriate plan to get the most of it. At the end of the 1970s they closed the quarry because work on it was seen to be a threat to the cave itself, but a group of stoneworkers dynamited the cave’s entrance way, partially destroying it. The action was meant to denounce the loss of jobs that the change in the economic model of the valley would bring about. Seen in perspective, that act of sabotage served to visualize the clash of interests in the area, with many more incidents to follow.
In its own way, the audiovisual work of Gerard Ortín also exploits the resources of the Biscayan landscape. Quite apart from the Pozalagua cave, this includes sporadic wolf sightings (some fear the animal, while others fight for its return) and the efforts to save the local herding dog breed from extinction, affected as it is by the decline of sheepherding in the area. Ortín’s project brings these frictions to the fore, the accents and shadows of a changing reality revealed by providing a landscape for the relationships at work, where speaking of domestication is as fully inappropriate as talking about purity or some natural state.