Susana Cámara Leret
 Works 

Land of diatoms
12.2016 — On-going 

Suelo vivo: Stones, soil, lime / Diatoms / Misc. materials (wood, fibers, metal) / Printed Matter


w/ Inés Cámara Leret + María Boto Ordóñez — Work enabled by Laboratorio 987 at MUSAC — w/ Estrella Alfaro + Saúl Blanco from Laboratory of Diatomology at the University of León



Land of diatoms is a hybrid research project which begun in 2016, soon incorporating ethnobotanist Dr. Estrella Alfaro and diatomologist Dr. Saúl Blanco in its development. The project explores relationships between the territory of Castile and León and its people through the study of diatoms as metaphor, to establish a dialogue, trace historical events and discuss existing and desirable narratives of the earth, its waters and its inhabitants.

In 1989, the Plaza del Grano in León was restored for the last time using a traditional paving technique by the Seoane brothers. Carried out with their support, the Suelo Vivo (living ground) intervention at Laboratorio 987 of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC), alludes to the inheritance of a vernacular knowledge of the territory, its uses and misuses, against the incipient, local anesthesia of the square in the incorporation of materials such as cement for its rehabilitation. The active memory of traditional ways of doing and knowing is suggested, giving visibility to the daily life of the microscopic world on which we walk. The work experimented with scientific instruments such as the scanning electron microscope, imparting an exercise of scale by visualising communities and individuals unseen by the naked eye. The resulting SEM images depict stories of migration, for example visualising diatoms from the water channel of Castile, which irrigates the fields near the town of Cascón de la Nava. This town was newly constructed to house relocated residents from the town of Riaño, flooded along with 8 other nearby towns upon the construction of the Riaño dam in the early 1980s.

The project explores the creation of its own research tools, starting from simple materials and extending beyond scientific protocols. Luis, for example, a water diviner whose body vibrates with the presence of water, measures a network of forces throughout the landscape with the use of his copper wires. His feeling of space and the territory was recorded by tracing a mesh on the floor of the Laboratory 987 at MUSAC, as an approximation to the various individual and collective understandings of the territory.

2010 — 2019