Instant Village is a collection of anti postcards that offers alternative and perhaps opposed images to the fictions constructed and propagated by the tourist industry with regards to the Canary Islands. At the same time, it confronts the collective imagination as well as my own mental fabrications in relation to the concept of ‘island’, often reliant on platitudes such as: an island has palm trees, an island has virgin beaches, an island is a place of exuberant natural beauty, an island means escape, an island is Eden, etc. In the Canaries, it is realistic to assume that the areas of protected landscapes, with their volcanoes, palm trees and beaches, respond figuratively to those commonplaces and confer on them a reassuring self-portrait. But what about the rest of the land where we are left to our own devices? Assuming that the built landscape is a codification of what we are at any given moment, then what does it say about us, about our society as a whole, about the ways in which we develop land?
The series is a photographic essay about this use of land on the Canary Islands, an environment that, due to its almost exclusive economic dependence on tourism, has been under increasing pressure (since the 1960s until the recent bursting of the property bubble), and so represents the perfect testing ground for Spain as a whole. That the most valuable resource for an island is precisely its most limited –the land– is a paradox of a type of development whose only purpose seems to be immediate profit and which has created a corrosive topography of the banal.
Simona Rota (Mäcin, Romania, 1979) is a MA in International Relations (2003), and a BA in Political Sciences in Bucharest and Barcelona. She also studied Photography (2010) in Madrid.
As a photographer she is interested in documenting humanscapes, that is altered, inhabited, occupied landscape. Her most substantial work was the documentation of the Modern Soviet architecture, commissioned by the Architecture Museum Vienna and developed between 2010 and 2012 in the former Soviet republics. She is the author of two photography books Missbehave (Vibok Works, 2013) and Ostalgia (Fabulatorio, 2013). The latter won the D&AD In Book Award for books (Design & Art Direction, UK, 2014) and the Award to the Best Photography Book of the Year PHotoEspaña in the national category (Spain, 2014). In addition, the Kursala series, that includes the book Ostalgia, won the Gràffica Prize (Spain, 2014). Her photographs have been widely published and exhibited at: Architecture Museum Munich – TUM, Fotocolectania, Kursala, Architecture Museum Vienna, Stadtmuseum Graz, Museum of Modern Art Medellín, Art Museum Sevastopol, CdC – Museo del Traje Madrid etc.