'Monte Abierto' is an invitation to experience the making of a shared territory in dialogue. In this installation, the designer Cristián Mohaded examines the resonance of design from his relationship with the artisan Lorenzo Reyes and the Simbol, a plant that grows in the Calchaquí Valleys in Catamarca, a province in the northwest of Argentina, from which both come from. Between rivers and mountains, shrubs grow wild on the Monte (the bush) forming scattered islands of dense coloured clumps; a desert-like landscape of warm rusty sunsets that Lorenzo visits every three months. “Let’s go to the material,” he says, and from this encounter with the Simbol, relationships begin to be woven.
In summer Simbol fibres are mostly given over to the cows, horses, and donkeys that come to the Monte to feed on them. In winter, however, the cool wind dries the bright, tender green of the plant into shades of sandy yellow. What’s more, according to the minerals of the soil, red and orange spots can appear on the fibres. For Lorenzo, these are not peripheral details but rather nature setting the pace of his practice. "Mother Nature offers us everything, we just have to go to the fields and work with our hands," he says. The Simbol, both as material and technique, thus becomes a technology-memory that stores and transfers a making expertise and a language specific to the Monte.
For almost a decade, Cristián and Lorenzo maintain a collaborative and experimental practice built upon an ongoing process of making agreements, of forming a common language, and of pacts of respect between them, the Simbol, and the Monte. Dialogue appears here as a committed technology towards finding (designing) a shared vision, a shared practice, a shared identity, a shared world. To enter the Monte, then, is not just an invitation to the landscape but to an epistemic orientation and a disposition to see and do things otherwise, a perspective in which the material and the immaterial are mutually constituted. Monte Abierto is the disclosure of Cristián and Lorenzo’s shared territory and an invitation to their conversation as landscape — a world made through dialogue and a dialogue made world.
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Photography: Ed Reeve
Franca López Barbera
Josefina Roca & Gonzalo Kaiser
Argentine Ministry of Foreign affairs International Trade and Worship & The Embassy of Argentina to the UK