Colección Ayuntamiento de Castellón
Castellón City Council Collection
Colección Fundación UNICAJA
UNICAJA Foundation Collection
Experimento Banana Islandia 2014
Experimento BananaAlfredo Puente
Geothermal is one of Iceland’s main sources of energy. The island’s incessant volcanic activity produces high temperatures just a few metres below the surface, and this renewable resource is used to provide thermal comfort, combat the cold and even experiment with new forms of plant cultivation.
Garðyrkjuskóli Ríkisins, a farm which is part of the Icelandic National Gardening School, introduced its first banana plant in 1941, just 285 kilometres from the Arctic Circle, and up until 1959 the experiment of growing bananas in Iceland enjoyed a fair degree of success, thanks to geothermal energy, greenhouses and the support of institutions such as the Icelandic Agricultural University. Ultimately, high production costs made it impossible to compete with imported bananas and the experiment was abandoned, but the venture took such deep root in the collective imaginary that there are still people who believe that Iceland has the largest banana plantation in Europe after the Canary Islands. Their ideal of self-sufficiency, extensible to other raw materials such as coffee or tobacco, was no match for the logic of the markets and the global circulation of capital.
In 2014, as part of the work he did during his Listhús residency, Juan Baraja visited the last vestiges of this agricultural activity’s material presence and forms associated with the rationalist architecture of the nineteen fifties in the north of Europe.
Alfredo Puente, FCAYC