Alta Mora, the spirit and magic of the place

Feel the force of nature and the spirit of the place and, later, evoke that wonderful day, that almost magical mystery of a place called Alta Mora located at the ends of the Algarve land

In the time we live in, in the middle of the digital age, places and places are diversifying and multiplying. These are the places of residence (1st, 2nd and 3rd residences), workplaces (face-to-face, telework, coworking spaces, tiers-lieux), places for recreation, leisure and visitation, places for shopping and consumption, places of public space, places for physical and sporting practices, places for escape, worship and pilgrimage, places for artistic and cultural expression, places for augmented, virtual and immersive reality, places and platforms for teaching and training , etc.

As is evident, many of these places and places are part of the routines and micro freedoms of our daily lives and the small gratifying nothings that life has and, to that extent, are not, shall we say, a revelation of the spirit and genius of the place.

But other places and places have this force of nature, this magical enchantment, an almost poetic inspiration, typical of a visit that we will classify as unforgettable. In the name of a hermeneutics of places, our brief journey to Alta Mora, to the Almond Blossom Festival, in the parish of Odeleite in the municipality of Castro Marim, begins here.

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said that “art exists so that reality does not destroy us”. Today, in 2023, I would say that the philosophy of the landscape, the arts and the culture of nature exist so that material and virtual reality does not destroy us, especially the excess of reality, measured now by the excess of virtual and augmented reality.

Let us register some striking features of this hermeneutics of places:

– Accelerated mobility, augmented virtuality, increasing topoligamy and ubiquity are the dominant characteristics of our time;

– From now on, we witness an intense dialectic between spaces of flows and spaces of places; in this intense dialectic emerge the great vertical cities that mix speed and vertigo with prolonged moments of boredom, melancholy and depression;

– We are in a growing phase of digital nomadism, towards hybrid forms of employment and, increasingly, in a precarious regime of temporary work; these trends lead us to the liquid city where everything is transitory, fleeting and ephemeral, that is, liquefied (Zigmunt Bauman's liquid modernity);

– In this vertiginous society where a growing number of people look for strategies of escape and escape, cultural manifestations, street arts, digital arts, landscape arts and the arts in general are also growing, but also a new city-country relationship, a 2nd rurality, which seek, together, to fight daily against this vertical melancholy, peri-urban and suburban, of large metropolitan cities,

In this context, which I designate here as a double movement, the spirit of places is no longer obtained from their substance, but from their itinerancy, that is, the individual is constantly summoned to participate in a series of events held in non-places, in third places and in hyper-places, places more produced than received.

In this double movement, we move towards a kind of paradox or hybridity of everyday life, somewhere between the routine and melancholy of everyday life and the freedom and reinvention of everyday life through the micro freedoms and small revelations that life still holds, transposed, many them, to the field of arts and culture.

An additional factor of hope that deserves to be highlighted is that, in this framework of double movement, in search of our personal balance and our best sentimental geography, we will also discover the strength of weak ties through our community experiences and relationships in virtual communities and this discovery will sometimes be a true and rewarding revelation.

In summary, we live in constant double movement, between material reality and virtual reality, between the excitement of bubbles and the depression of escapes, between the melancholy of our routines and the joy of our discoveries, a kind of paradox or hybridity of everyday life. , and this duplicity is perhaps the most striking and impressive feature of our time.

It is true, modernity and globalization have dissipated the spirit of places, in some cases their uniqueness has disappeared and many places have lost their enchantment. The reinvention of everyday places is, for our mental health, a true categorical imperative. I will not invoke here and now the words of architect Christian Schultz for whom the spirit of the place will become the art of the place, an art that cultural and tourist marketing, sooner or later, will take advantage of to segment, differentiate and commercially exploit. In Alta Mora this invocation does not apply.

Quite simply, I just want to invite all Algarve people and all readers of the Sul Informação to pay a visit to Alta Mora, to the Almond Blossom Festival, between the 3rd and 5th of February, so that they can feel the force of nature and the spirit of the place and, later, evoke that wonderful day, that almost magical mystery from a place called Alta Mora located at the end of the Algarve land.

Many thanks to the local association, to Valter Matias, to the friends, volunteers and seniors of Alta Mora, to the Odeleite Parish Council and to the Municipality of Castro Marim. Well done.


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