Senhora da Graça (2009)

In order to build a dam, the site of Senhora da Graça was submerged in 2000. This work references the submerged site. A computational ecosystem was built from images taken before the submersion.

Full Description

The physical location of Senhora da Graça, was situated near the small village of Sabugal, in the interior-North of the Portuguese countryside. A forested valley framed a calm river of crystalline waters. This landscape was silently observed from the hills’ top by an old chapel from which the place shares the name: Senhora da Graça (Our Lady of Grace). Recently, in 2000, the entire valley was submerged with the rising waters of a newly constructed dam. Our work takes the form of a virtual world where an ecosystem was designed and modelled from the images of the former site. These images are applied as textures on the landscape and on the strange creatures that populate the world and evolve. However, despite depicting the site's former condition around twenty years ago, they aren’t attached to that instant anymore: they evolve to become unrecognisable. The permanent reconstruction of the landscape in the course of the creatures’ interaction and consequent evolution of shapes, continually modifies the world. The images from the former site, due to the evolutionary course, are now perceived as mere chromatic compositions in the creatures’ bodies. Ultimately, Senhora da Graça is a concatenation of 3D textured images inhabiting a present shown as an illusion of continuity; evolving, they are shadows of the initial images, which mediate the evocation of the flooded location. Losing their legitimacy as representational objects the images gain an ever-changing condition; they become comparable to the site they evoke. The virtual world becomes a trace, a memorial.

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