Artist Residency in Sariñena: Nowhere Temple Crew 2015

It’s with enormous pleasure and pride that we can finally publish a report on the activities our Growing Nowhere team hosted during the last week in Sariñena. The most important of all has definitely been the artist residency offered in Sariñena to the Nowhere Temple Crew, which has been using the infrastructure provided by our Growing Nowhere team as pre-build location for this year’s Nowhere Temple, the Temple of Reflection. temple-of-reflection-nowhere-2015-mockup

As we announced a couple of months ago, Growing Nowhere has been trying to secure a proper workspace for the Temple Crew, as well as all the services needed by the team of Temple volunteers for their build logistics: housing, food, social spaces and of course machineries and tools. We wanted to secure an industrial warehouse at first, but we couldn’t afford to pay the rent. We tried to get support by local institutional partners but, among the local elections of last month and the stress of dealing with the approaching Nowhere deadlines, we just decided to go ahead with our own resources. And, with great surprise, we got plenty of help from the local community of Sariñena residents, which we’ll never be thanking enough for all their heartfelt support.

The major supporters of the Temple pre-build project have been Paqui and Carlos of Suministros Lopez-Marin, who allowed us to set up our pre-build camp in the fenced open space they own next to the hardware store, in the center of Sariñena. Big kudos to Carlos and Paqui not only for the space, but also for power and the many tools we could have borrowed during the Temple Crew residency.

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Other great source of support have been Raul and Sergio from DIA Supermarket who, besides of being great friends, have facilitated us a lot in our daily runs for food supplies, and gifting us with plenty of cold drinks. Last but not least, the sewing plant of Rafael Tena has gifted us the access to their industrial sewing machines to be able to complete the work on the Temple’s fabric sheets.

Let’s recap the major highlights of the Temple pre-build days in Sariñena.

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DAY ZERO – Friday June 26

Arlo, Wouter, Joost and Coco, the core of the Temple Crew, arrive in Sariñena in the middle of the night, after a long non-stop drive from The Netherlands. Massimo of our Growing Nowhere team (from Italy) and Davola, a black Labrador who’s also a veteran Euroburner, join the team in their exciting Nowhere Temple adventure.

After just a couple of hours of sleep at the Growing Nowhere headquarters in Sariñena, the team is ready to take possession of the build space, and starts creating the build site infrastructure: first shade areas and work tables. A few hours later, the team finally manage to get a truck to go to the Nowhere site and get all the wood ordered for construction, that has been delivered directly in the Ruta Jubierre by mistake. With a bit of luck, and plenty of flexibility from our supplier, the Temple Crew manages to secure the latest available truck for the day, so that at the end of the day everything is ready for starting the building process.

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DAY ONE – Saturday June 27

Tristan from South-African Republic (and AfrikaBurn veteran) joins the Temple Crew, and the morning is spent in reviewing structural drawings and building plans, The center piece of the Temple of Reflection, the altar, starts taking shape, and will keep the Temple Crew busy until late night. During the late afternoon the neighbors of Sariñena start noticing that “something is happening”, so they decide to stroll by, asking questions about the project and about the Nowhere event, to which the crew is happy to offer plenty of details.

At the end of the evening, after all that work, is definitely good for the entire team to go back to a proper house, with a proper shower and a proper bed, and after a proper meal.

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DAY TWO – Sunday June 28

Sunday has been a very hot day, but the Temple Crew proceeded steady towards the construction goals. This is also the day when our neighbor showed up in the morning bringing coffee for the entire crew, and the day we met Tye, an American fella from Texas traveling around Europe on a bicycle. We crossed path by hazard, during a break with cold beers at a nearby bar. He was sitting next to us, we started talking, and half an hour later Tye decided to join the Temple Crew to share his professional grade construction skills. Tye ended up not only staying with the Temple Crew for the entire build, but he also managed to get a last minute ticket to Nowhere, so he will be part of the entire experience, and not only the construction.

During the afternoon and in the evening the visits from Sariñena residents intensify, to the point that we delegate an official Spanish speaker “greeter” but we also put up a sign that explains what we are doing, and what the Temple of Reflection is meant for.

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DAY THREE – Monday June 29

The days get hotter and hotter and, in need of more shaded areas, we get support from The Garden of Joy, who allows us to use a couple of the big gazebos that are part of their barrio’s infrastructure. Being able to work in a fully shaded structure definitely makes the difference and in the afternoon build operations seriously speed up, but only after the entire Temple Crew takes a break at the local public swimming pool, where we also meet and hang out with some people of the Werkhaus team, and of course with plenty of local new friends from Sariñena.

In the afternoon, with all the shade in place and mostly because of the swimming pool break the Temple Crew has been working steady and, in no time, put together all the pre-built modules of the Temple’s central tower. This is the day when Salvador, a veteran Nowherian and Sariñena resident, came to visit us with a bucket full of beer cans and enormous blocks of ice, and also the day that we “remixed” the burner motto “In dust we trust” into “In dust we trust, and in cold beers and getting a shower too!”.

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DAY FOUR – Tuesday June 30

Dante and Ilze from Latvia, and Pez, from Israel, arrive in Sariñena, and with their input the operations speed up even more. The day is spent entirely on build, with the newly established work time 6Am to 1PM, then lunch / rest / siesta /swimming pool / back to work at 6PM until midnight. Being the pre-build site close to Sariñena residential areas, we have been considerate and enforced a stop to all power tools work at 11.30PM, and close operations/wrap up site immediately after in order to leave site at midnight. The new work schedule worked well for the entire Temple Crew, so it as been adopted as a standard for the remaining build time.

In the mean time, the relations with the neighbors and locals of Sariñena have intensified, and now we have several regulars who stop by to check on the progress of our work, and many of them showed surprise for the “creative carpentry” work the Temple Crew was doing, specially after the secondary columns and the top crown of the Temple went all of the sudden up. That evening, with all the new members, we brought dinner on site after cooking it at home, and it was nice to see the “Temple family” grow. We actually grew too much that we couldn’t fit any more into one single apartment, so we manage to rent just for a few days another apartment in the same building, just a floor above our “headquarters”.

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DAY FIVE – Wednesday July 1

The newly arrived Crew members start working with all the long rolls of fabric that are part of the architecture of Temple of Reflection. Unfortunately, the old sewing machine the crew brought from Holland breaks almost immediately. As by astral coincidence Mapi, a girl living in Sariñena who has also been at Nowhere for the last three years, shows up at the build site and guess what? She know how to sew, and her mother owns a sewing machine, so we are back on track with production.

The Temple Crew grows also with Mercy, from Australia, who arrives in the afternoon, just in time to give an hand on the final tests of the Temple’s modules. At night, more social time and dinner on site, and the Temple looks good already, even if there will be still a lot of work to do on site.

More neighbor interaction happened all day, specially in the afternoon, after our friends at Radio Sariñena announced during one of their talk shows that the Temple Crew was in town. Thank you Radio Sariñena for your support!

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DAY SIX – Thursday July 2

This is the day where the Temple of Reflection gets teared down in its pre-built modules, and taken on site. The build team works all morning and by lunch time the entire build site, including shade structures and all, is packed and ready for the truck that will bring the Temple to the Nowhere site, scheduled in the late afternoon, when temperatures will be lower.

On the fabric process side, there were some problems. Even with the support of Mapi, using a “home grade” sewing machine is not the best way to go to sew the Temple’s 10 meters long shades. A couple of phone calls across the Growing Nowhere local network, and we figure out that at just 1 km from our site there is an industrial plant processing textiles.

When we ask if we can use their space and their machinery, willing to pay for the service, we get another episode of spontaneous generosity and support from the local community: Karina doesn’t want us to pay and say that this is a gift to our Temple project. She even allocate to us one of her expert worker to give our team a quick training and, eventually, to actually work side by side with us. That night the guys from the newly opened pizzeria in Sariñena also came to visit us at the pre-build site, offering to the Temple Crew a giant pizza, while in the afternoon we have had more visits at the pre-build site by a journalist fro Diario de Alto Aragón, and from our friends of Guardia Civil. Thank you Sariñena for the support!!!

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DAY SEVEN – Friday July 3

The Temple is finally on site and so is the big part of the Temple Crew, while a small task force keeps working at the textile shop until the early afternoon. Our last day in Sariñena doesn’t end particularly well. Even if we didn’t receive any form of invitation like everybody else did, several members of the Temple Crew decided to participate to the press conference called by the Nowhere organization at the headquarters of Comarca Monegros in Sariñena. We listened to the (poorly curated) presentation from beginning to end, and it was with big disappointment that we realized that “our friends” never mentioned the fact that the Temple Crew has been working in Sariñena for a week to build the magic sacred space that Temple of Reflection will be for our community. The Temple of Reflection has not been mentioned at all.

While according to what the Nowhere organization spokespersons on stage said about “creating a social, cultural and human interaction with the Monegros community” means that a couple of the Nowhere Board directors are taking classes of Spanish, none of the real interaction that happened at human, social and economic levels between the Temple Crew and the city and residents of Sariñena has been mentioned during the Nowhere press conference. Over the last few months, the Nowhere organization has been “spamming” our community with almost daily newsletters talking about everything, from the presence of new barrios to basic reminders such as “bring your sunscreen lotion” – but in more than two months of spammy newsletters there never was a mention about the artist residency of the temple Crew in Sariñena.

Thank you Nowhere Board for the great (lack of) support and consideration you demonstrated towards the Nowhere Temple project, the entire Temple Crew and our community at large, that has supported the Temple and looks forward to experiencing a sacred space at Nowhere 2015. Thank you also from Growing Nowhere, which has wasted so many energies in the last year and an half in dodging any sort of obstacles, ban and boycott on our projects that focus on a real interaction between the Nowhere burners and the local Monegros community. No further comments on this, at least for now – we have a Temple to build, but we’ll be back on this topic very soon. Stay tuned.

DAY EIGHT – Saturday July 4

Even if the playa conditions are more challenging than working in Sariñena, the Temple of Reflection is almost complete. The advantage of building the installation in easily reassemblable modules is clear now that the Crew is working at Nowhere. With an incredible final sprint, the Temple Crew completed and installed the external structure of the Temple in less than one day, extending the work hours also at night time, and with the further help of Cristina and the last Temple Crew members who joined the team directly on site.

A final great thank you goes to the Wonderever barrio for hosting the Temple Crew during the build stage on site. The wonderful people of Wonderever have been sharing their shade, their drinks, their food and their friendship with the Temple Crew for a couple of days already, and their support will last until the Temple build will be completed by the Temple Crew, and handed over to the Temple Guardians. Thank you Wonderever, your food is delicious!

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Last two notes before hitting the dust: first of all, we started this blog post saying that we rolled out “several” activities – all in support of Nowhere artists, barrios and participants. In brief, besides of hosting and managing all local logistics for the Temple Crew: we secured a container for the new French barrio Intergalactic Love Factory, propane tanks for the flame effects of Ubertown, sorted out container logistics for The Garden, collected and delivered on site the shade structure to Here & Now, and tried to find some old couches for Sentimos (but didn’t find any…).

And more: we helped out participants secure audio and amplification gear needed for their experimental interactive installation, booking hotel rooms in Sariñena, getting car fixed by a local mechanic shop, and offered free access to the showers and washing facilities of our headquarter, also running the occasional errand to support the work or Production, Werkhaus and Malfare.

We really love this side of logistic local support to our community, and we’ll continue providing more and more support to Nowhere artists, barrios and participants also in the forthcoming years. Basically, the Nowhere Embassy is born, we’ll write more soon about it. In the mean time, we sure have a logo, that we designed during one of the hot afternoons of Temple pre-build. We hope you like it and most of all, that you like the support we offer to our community, and the commitment we put on interacting and giving back to the community of “vecinos” of Los Monegros.

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Last note: we said that we cannot thank enough all those who have supported the Temple of Reflection project, in particular the Temple pre-build artist residency in Sariñena. This is not true, we can definitely say thank you again to everybody. We love you too.

  • Thank you Carlos and Paqui for your prime support to the project, that has facilitated all pre-build operations. Thank you from each and every one in the Temple Crew.
  • Thank you Tye for jumping off your bike and into the project as a key asset for the Build Team.
  • Thank you Raul and Sergio for your friendship and the cold beers.
  • Thank you Garden of Joy for lending us your shade structure.
  • Thank you Karina for trusting us with your industrial sewing machines.
  • Thank you Salvador for more cold beers in the iceberg bucket.
  • Thank you Piluca for the coffee and the happy chats.
  • Thank you Mapi for the sewing machine and for your help on pre-build.
  • Thank you Radio Sariñena and Diario de Alto Aragón for helping our Temple Crew reaching out to the local community of Sariñena.
  • Thank you to the good friends at Guardia Civil who has always been supporting our community in the most friendly way.
  • Thank you to all the Sariñena neighbors who stopped by and had a chat with us, and even to those who strolled and stopped but couldn’t have a chat because there were not Spanish speakers in our international Temple Crew.
  • Thank you to all the supporters of the Temple’s online fundraising campaign, and to all those who have helped and contributed in some ways in making this beautiful project happen.
  • Thank you to the Temple Guardians for taking care of Temple of Reflection during the event.
  • Thank you to our friends at Wonderever for taking care of the Temple Crew during our build on site.
  • Thank you to all the participants, artists, performers, healers and spiritual beings who will infuse and exchange their energies into the sacred space the Temple Crew has gifted to the Nowhere community.
  • Thank you to the entire burners community for supporting the Temple culture across the burner world.

We really need to go now, the dust is calling, and so is the rest of the Temple Crew – we still have a lot of work to do before Nowhere will open its doors to participants tomorrow…

We’ll make sure to take plenty of pictures and videos of the many workshops and performances scheduled at the Temple of Reflection, to be shared via the Growing Nowhere blog and Facebook page right after the Nowhere event. Keep following us, and keep burning!