by Verónica Losantos

Archeology and photography were two disciplines that began to develop in parallel in the mid-nineteenth century and have gone hand in hand ever since. An archaeological excavation could not be conceived without the photographic record of what is being found, since in order to find remains, one must destroy; and everything that is destroyed has to be documented first. The photographs become evidence or proofs, from which the previous state or the missing parts can be “reconstructed”. I like to think that in archeology what is found is as important as what is no longer there, what no longer exists, the invisible. From the remains of what remains, an attempt is made to reconstruct what can no longer be seen. Analog photography also starts from an existing, but invisible, a priori image: the latent image. In my project “Archaia” I deal with the phenomenon of “disappearing”, using aspects such as collective memory, the role of photography as evidence in archeology and its power to make things remain, even if only in a visual way; as well as questioning the aspect of “truth” associated with it. Starting from the history of the Riojan town of Mansilla de La Sierra, the construction of a reservoir on it in 1960 and its consequent flood, continuing with the current progressive disappearance of the new town (built to replace the old one) due to the depopulation process; and concluding with the possible disappearance, in the not too distant future, of the bond that I still have with this place thanks to my grandmother, who unfortunately is also reaching her last days. The result is a kind of archaeological archive, in which I collect not only images made by me, but also found objects, photographs and archive material. With this I try to preserve the existence of this place, even if only visually, and to be able to share it with future generations, since everything will disappear at some point.