A Thread of Stones

In the late 19th century, textile colonies — small industrial communities made of a textile factory, a housing complex, a church, and other services — were constructed along the Llobregat river in the Catalonian countryside.

Colony owners provided low-cost welfare to the proletariat-class inhabitants at the expense of liberty constraints and exploitative labor practices. For the workers and their families, the perceived benefits of this paternalistic system generated a climate of obedience and compliance.

In the aftermath of the textile industry crisis of the 1970s, factories shut down. As the colonies declined, schools and other services closed. Most factories were abandoned, left as remnants of a different time.

Nowadays, the elderly generation and a few of the descendants of the factory workers are still living in the colonies; besides them, these in-between places are now home to migrants from other countries and outsiders that find shelter in these secluded communities.

"A Thread of Stones" seeks to reflect on the colonies' contemporary identity and issues by bringing together traces of its historical heritage and collective memory combined with speculative imagery.

By intertwining both imaginative and documentary approaches, the project attempts to make visible the troubled relationship between storytelling and historicity, problematizing the unilateral narration of facts in favor of a multilayered strategy that acknowledges the gaps and flaws of the archival record.

Through the use of images that evoke historical reiteration and fabulation, the work explores the anachronistic nature of the colonies while finding imprints of power, control, hierarchy, and class that prevail in these spaces.

At the same time, these colonies allow for a representation of an emotional climate of stagnation, nostalgia, and longing that is collectively felt across displaced communities, aimlessly waiting for their demise.

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A Thread of Stones by Joel Jimenez

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