La familia Ponce, 2019
Title: The Ponce Family Never Dies. Intervention in archive 73
Archive Collage images mounted on 1m x 2m methacrylate
Fons Arxiu Planas
The Inventor of Paradise is a family biodrama which was presented as a site-specific play at Casa Planas, the huge photographic archive (more than 5 million images) of Josep Planas, inventor of the tourist image and iconography of the Balearic Islands. A small group of spectators wander through different rooms guided by Marina Planas, the photographer's granddaughter.The objects they come across thread together the memories of one man’s life dedicated to the creation of images. In the penultimate scene the protagonist falls into a state of delirium; her single objective is for the public to destroy the images in any way they can, even if it means eating them. She claims that memories are overrated.The enormous burden of this archive, which is part of the historical heritage of the Balearic Island, ladens her down with such pressure that she often feels the desire to destroy it and eat it up.
This collage is the result of the photographs that were destroyed on the 16th, 17th, 23rd and 24th of November 2018 when the performance took place. Through the regrouping of these images, which were originally destined to disappear, a series of ideas have been established:
1- Being a collective piece, the triple death of the author is amalgamated:
-The photographer who shot the image (Mr. Bosch, Mr. Montoliu or Mr. Pascual) who all worked for the company had already lost their copyright as they were not the owners.
-He who possesses the rights, in this case, the former owner of the company Josep Planas.
-Those who cut up the photos whilst visiting the scenic route of the performance.
2- The method of recognition used to group the photographs was made practically without looking at the content. In order to classify, my first impulse was to group them by color and the line of the pen that had been used for their enumeration 50 years ago. They were reorganized following archival rather than content principles.The different types of cut marks that the visitors had made during the performance also gave clues. This in essence was quicker than stopping to look at the image.
3- If this event had not happened, possibly these photos would never have been brought up to the light.
4- Memory is overrated. The intention of forcing the assistants who attended the performance to destroy these images, was to erase and eliminate the factual information depicted within them. However, somehow these images resisted being forgotten about.
5- They are images of social conventions that belong to a particular time in the past: weddings, communions and christenings. They speak of both everyday life and the universal. They are somehow very intimate, personal and singular whilst at the same time depicting a series of repetitious shots, poses and situations.
6- With the ratification of the Constitution of 1978 a non-denominational State was re-established. The idea of marriage at the time when these photos were taken was very different from today: the societal values inherent in "until death do us part” were prevalent. Given this context it is quite ironic to regard the faces of the in-laws in these images.
7- Without doubt, many people on the “Big Day” would experience feelings of insecurity and fear as they stepped into a world as yet unknown to them: marriage. These fears and insecurities are not visible in the photographs.
8- A lot of couples married due to social pressure, since the idea of a single-parent family or a woman without children was unthinkable.The concept of the family system and family unity has changed now.This type of photograph is taken less and less, and is possibly destined to disappear.
9- Nowadays, 60% of marriages breakdown. The couples that appear in these images are the first generation of divorcees in Spain. In 1981, 45 years after the first Spanish Divorce Law was repealed (1932), our country legally permitted the ending of marriage once again, provided it was evident that, after a long period of separation, reconciliation was not feasible.
10- Unbaptized children or children who had not received their First Communion remained in limbo if they died.
11- These images are also a reflection of the photographic conventions of weddings, baptisms and communions. They are the archeological remains of the photography world, documenting the cultural, historical and social heritage typical of that time.
12- Through observing the places where these festive events took place, the landscapes chosen for their staging or the clothing worn, an identity and a type of person can be generated in relation to these anonymous people.
13- There are images of the union and the corresponding celebrations whereas images of the break ups do not exist. This is also a convention.
14- Whilst observing the arrangement of the images on the panel, rhythms and repetitions are produced which are referential to archival art.
15- The Ponce family sits at the head of the project, since this was the family that I destroyed and subsequently ate up.