The Sea Stares at Us From Afar
by Manuel Muñoz Rivas
When moving images in colour replace the black and white photographs, little changes. The grass, sand and sky look no different than they did back then, back when the tower was new, back when they arrived from across the sea to mark out the land and extract its riches, back when you could stand at the top of the highest dune and still almost make out the city of Tartessos, far off in the distance. And the past is still here, in the solitary figure who gathers pinecones to burn in his beachside hut, in the two fishermen out at sea at sunrise, in the endless shovelling that keeps the rising sand at bay. As the camera calmly circles the same fixed axis, the radius gradually increases, bringing with it the present: the bus carrying tourists who spread out along the shoreline, the officials wanting to know if the huts are inhabited, the modern development that looms large on the horizon. This is no portrait of contrasts though, but rather of simultaneity, of unceasing shifts in light and texture that know no time, of modernity as just another element to be woven into the landscape. We stand on the shore and look to the sea. The sea stares at us from afar.