The Last Man on Earth

by Joan Alvado

Located in the mountainous interior of Spain, the so-called “Serranía Celtibérica” is the second most depopulated area of Europe, after Nordic Lapland. The demographic indicators of the area are scary: with an extension of 65,835 km2 (double othe total territory of Belgium), the population density is just 7.34 inhabitants/km2. This condition of extreme depopulation has set off alarms in Spain, where the area has become widely known as Lapland of the South.
Depopulation is consequence of migratory flows linked to the current economic model, where the abandonment of the primary sector leaves large areas orphan of an economic source. Since we cannot foresee an alternative economic engine for these areas, I hypothesize that depopulation is not reversible. And is a generic phenomenon in developed countries. So we can glimpse a dystopic future in which larger and larger areas on Earth will be totally or partially deprived of the presence of man. And life in these areas will not be as we know it today.
Based on these premises, and with Lapland of the South just as a geographical starting frame, “The Last Man on Earth” is an essay in which I raise open questions on what the future of these territories might be. A world is disintegrating as we have known it, while a new reality is about to emerge. I wanted to reinterpret the landscape and its inhabitants, generating a different view on the nature of these places. A vision, with a point of separation over reality, that challenges our perception of the territory, making it a fantastic, unknown place. How will these areas look in 30, 40 or 50 years? What remains when a population disappears?