INLAND, a project by Fernando García-Dory (2010–ongoing)
The rural is that last, silenced but persistent "otherness," regarded with apprehension and detachment at some times, and bucolic idealism at others. In any case, this collection of memories, knowledge, and relationships must be studied with the due care and attention that they deserve in these uncertain times of radical transformation.
INLAND started as a social sculpture and cultural strategy initiated by Fernando García-Dory in 2006 and 2009 that examines the role of territories, geopolitics, culture, and identity between city and countryside, art and agriculture. From 2010-2013 and taking Spain as a first case study, its activities included an international conference at Reina Sofia Museum, residency programs placing artists in 22 rural villages, exhibitions, publications, and different open public debates. It offered a platform for reflection, exchange, and action to artists, farmers, rural development agents, policy-makers, curators, and art critics. In this next phase, INLAND takes the shape of a para- institution, an organism providing training for self-managed economies, arts environments and living systems, emphasizing production through a reforestation project, rural crafts, artist commissions, and exhibitions.
INLAND proposes in its next evolution to set up a projects' structural framework and create what would be INLAND's headquarters in an abandoned village in the mountains of northern Spain. The place will work as an agroecological lighthouse, a model farm home of the Shepherds School project, that García-Dory has been running for the last nine years, an artists' residency and place for cultural exchange and production in relation to the transition of our societies toward sustainability. A transit of young people interested in new forms of living in and from the land, artists, theorists, and farming leaders will be feeding this hub that will act as central node of all INLAND network. After buildings are restored for housing, studios and common living spaces, and farm production, reforestation completed, a program of activities will include commissions, seminars, and a digital project partly web 2.0 partly periodical publication. Both materials are envisioned as visual compendiums or propaganda tools, examining the historical legacy of the "Rural Question" with philosophical and social projections by John Ruskin, Carl Andre, and Group Material. The formats will analyze current production systems and land-use trends through food chain oligopoly diagrams and documentation from INLAND's activities in villages.