Luis Lecea Romera




chainsaw guide bars, bone conduction transducers, power amplifier, 3-channel audio, 13’27’’

More than 160 years have passed since the first eucalyptus seeds arrived in the Iberian Peninsula, sent from Australia by missionary Rosendo Salvado to the Galician village of Tui, on the northern bank of the Minho River. These fast-growing, evergreen trees have become a symbol of economic prosperity on both sides of 'A Raia'—'the Stripe', the term referring to the border between Portugal and Galicia”.

In the Salazarist and Francoist regimes, eucalyptus contributed to the development of national paper industries in both countries, serving as a geoengineering instrument for a totalitarian ideological project of subjugation and profitable exploitation of the landscape. The species is criticised for disturbing ecosystems, acidifying and drying out soils, replacing native flora, and increasing the risk of forest fires, after which they rapidly resprout, hence creating the conditions for its life and death simultaneously.

Antecâmara follows the deterioration processes of Iberian territories as revelatory of their underlying historical and socio-political complexities. Developed after a residency promoted by Semibreve Festival (Braga, PT) and FIBER Festival (Amsterdam, NL), on the fringes of the Gerês Natural Reserve, one of the few areas where eucalyptus planting is prohibited, the work assesses not what the reserve protects, but rather what it protects itself from.

By inducing a composition based on field recordings from burned areas after forest fires into chainsaw components through vibration, the piece behaves as an idiophone, surfacing overtones through resonance. Situated at the intersection of acoustic geography and instrument building, the installation alludes to the tools of action used by the Diseucalyptising Brigades, a transboundary civil movement of environmental resistance against the degradation of rural areas in response to an echoing legacy of the Iberian dictatorships.

Exhibited at “ocupa”, gnration, Braga, PT
Production supported by ArtWorks and FIBER Festival

This work has been developed with the support of FIBER Festival and Semibreve Festival as part of the RE:SOURCE Reassemble Residency. The development of the work was made possible by the financial support of the Creative Industries Fund NL.

Special thanks to Kyulim Kim, Rafael Machado, Zé Machado, Luís Fernandes, Candela Barro, Anto López Espinosa, Lou Vives, Sondi.

Photography: ©Bruno Lança - ArtWorks