Sound and media arts residency about the intangible religious heritage of the Gralheira mountain range

6 – 26 October 2013
(Parishes of Covas do Rio, S. Martinho das Moitas and Sul, municipality of S. Pedro do Sul)

Public presentation of sound and media works:
Saturday, 26 October 2013, 15h00 – 18h00
Meeting point: Main Square of Sul

Artists in residence:

Ana Rodríguez (Uruguay)
Patxi Valera (Spain)
Christoph Korn (Germany)
Trish and Dan Scott w/ Father Rodney Schofield (United Kingdom)
Mary Rothlisberger (USA) and Monique Besten (Netherlands)
Rodrigo Malvar and Ana Guedes (Portugal)

“We were always friends. But as happens with between family members or between friends, our relationship was getting worn out. (…) We didn’t explain you our things. (…) We didn’t have you as students, friends, and talkers. (…) And we also went through dubious paths, where art and beauty, and – what is worse to us – the worship of God – weren’t always served well. Let’s remake the peace? ”

(Pope Paul VI, Speech to Artists, 10-12).

The sacred is a central element of the rural communities of the Gralheira mountain range, São Pedro do Sul (PT). The relationship between rural daily life and sacred practices is so close and real that it is impossible to think about these communities apart from the religious themes. Despite the accelerated transformation of these rural areas, there remains a strong support by the inhabitants towards religion, not only the older but also the younger ones, which may surprise many people given the increasing secularism of contemporary societies. It is therefore useful to analyze the particular aspects of religion in these rural communities and the reasons why it continues to deserve such high levels of adherence.

Religion is clearly a major element of social cohesion in rural mountain communities, where ancient ways of living and feeling remain vivid, which are passed on from parents to children, thus ensuring a very genuine balance, anthropologically interesting, between a contemporary way of life and the permanence of a set of ancient beliefs and practices that give a sense of continuity over time (historical, familiar, personal) and reinforce the sense of belonging to a place. In particular, religion intertwines their lives (the masses, the social work, catechesis, religious heritage, the festivals that mark the seasonal cycles, celebrations of life and death, etc..) that it becomes a crucial element for the study of the rural communities of the Gralheira mountain range.

As the religious subject is very contaminated by simplistic debates and irreducible positions, it seems to us that it’s necessary to convoke free-spirited and multi-faceted visions about it. On the other hand, being the opening to the “other”, to the “unknown” one of the primary focuses of Binaural/Nodar’s, activities in order to build bridges between the world of globalized contemporary art and contexts that are not normally dealt with through a first-hand experience, we believe it’s very relevant the inclusion of this subject in the artistic research developed in our region, which is materialized in the following aspects:

  1. Rural hagiography: Legends of local saints and miracles.
  2. Parish Stories: Memory of the local historical relationship with religion.
  3. Religion, gender and generational issues.
  4. Built Religious Heritage: Churches, chapels, sanctuaries, shrines and cemeteries.
  5. Object religious heritage: garments, crosses, litters, chalices, books, etc..
  6. Local religious musical heritage.
  7. Sacred rites: Celebrations, Masses, weddings, baptisms and funerals.
  8. Religious phonosphere in the landscape: Bell tolls, chants, processions, fireworks.
  9. The sacred in the private sphere: Prayers and rosaries, religious iconography in the rural house.
  10. Religion and the agricultural cycles.


The program of creative residencies in sound art and media art has as theme the rich religious heritage found in the rural villages of the Gralheira mountain range, within a framework of promoting an open and frank dialogue with local religious institutions and in line with the theological, liturgical and cultural changes initiated after World War II with the Second Vatican Council and more recently addressed by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI through regular dialogues with contemporary artists.

Binaural/Nodar is funded by Government of Portugal | State Secretariate for Culture | General Office for the Arts

Link to the full program of DIVINA SONUS RURIS: http://www.binauralmedia.org/images/DivinaSonusRuris-ProgramaEN.pdf