juan alonso


Videoinstallation, variable dimensions, 2016

In the last stage of the Middle Ages (XIV and XV centuries) the Portuguese Crown saw the need to populate and monitor its borders with Spain to avoid possible invasions. Among the resources used are the so-called "Coutos de Homiziados".

The coutos were a political figure given to several frontier towns that consisted of sending prisoners to those who were granted freedom in exchange for going with their families to populate and monitor those borders. These men were called "homiziados" and excluded homicides, sodomites, heretics, traitors and counterfeiters.

This project revolves around 6 coutos of the Galician-Portuguese border: Caminha, Vilar de Mouros, Valença, Chaves and Monforte de Rio Livre.

Three iconic penitentiaries related to the central theme are also tangentially taken, which nowadays fulfill a very different function from that of sheltering a prison population: the Academic Prison of the University of Coimbra, now the Museum of that University; The Prison and Court of Justice of Porto, today Portuguese Center of Photography; And the Cundinamarca Penitentiary, now National Museum of Colombia, in Bogotá.

The project is a video installation that consists of a film in Super 8 of these coutos, 24 drawings made during the field work in these places, a model of the Prison of Porto of which prisoners are escaping, and texts and images of File of the investigation of the coutos and prisons mentioned.

This project was developed within the 2016 Artistic Residencies Program of the Cerveira Biennial, Portugal, in October 2016 and was presented at the Jaime Isidoro Artist House, Cerveira Biennial Foundation, Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal.

Part of this work is part of the Art Collection of the Cerveira Biennial Foundation.