There are over 2,800 villages listed as abandoned in Spain. More than half of them are for sale and/or in the process of becoming spas or sport centers. These crumbling towns are, in a very real sense, visual monuments to a moment in time the rest of the world has long forgotten. As such, they are part of an endangered portion of Spain’s history. This project uses Google Maps’ Street View features to create an online space where Internet visitors will be able to virtually stroll through these villages amongst recreated ghost inhabitants, and by doing so, provide a new perspective on our collective past and present. The point of this project is not to urge for the rehabilitation of these villages. Rather, it is to keep their memories alive through Internet’s unique twofold capacity to navigate through time as well as space, and to play with the boundaries between archival practice and creative production.
Ghost Town Initiative – Los Despoblados
Google street view interactive artwork
Site Specific Artwork – Ongoing Project
2016 – Present
The little village of Tobes in Guadalajara was abandoned in 1973. It has around twenty houses that are still in very good condition and which housed up to 90 villagers at one point in time.
Oreja was abandoned in the early 1960s. Located on top of a cliff near Toledo, the town has Roman and Muslim roots, a hermitage, and a castle dating from c.1085.
This small town in the Campo de Gómara region only had one inhabitant left by 2014.
The last remaining villager, Mrs. Gregoria, left in 1963 although she came back every day for a few years to herd her small cattle.
El Alamin was built by the Count of Ruiseñada and his son in 1956, and vacated less than fifty years later. The town was erected in the “colonization” style that was favored during the Franco dictatorship years.