Through the programme KSI-Berritzaile, promoted by the Basque government, Irantzu Lekue was chosen in 2019 to carry out a project which combines art and technology, jointly with Technalia Research & Innovation. In doing so, the artist created a great mural painting in the village of Arraia-Maeztu where the team from Tecnalia later intervened.
People of all ages participated in the painting of the mural, and did their bit in this great innovative Project, a pioneer project in Euskadi.
The theme of the mural focuses on the Vasco-Navarro train, known as “the Little train”, which passes through the area. The place to be designated for the mural painting had to have some symbollism with the theme in hand, and for this reason, a stone wall not far from the train station was chosen. On it, lanterns, suitcases, whistles, watches or train tickets were painted. But, without doubt the main characters of the mural are the people who brought the station to life: children playing tag; people waiting for a train, talking together and keeping warm, etc. The Vasco-Navarro train was pioneering in hiring women; because of that, it was important to portray the female station master of Laminoria.
The mural acts as a window to the virtual world which Tecnalia created in the surrounding area. Though the use of a mobile app, focusing on a point in the mural, we are immersed in a virtual reality which allows us to see a replica of the Little Train, the old tracks and so many other objects reproduced digitally. Apart from that, the Tecnalia team also managed to add sounds, like the jolting of the train or witness statements from some local women.
The startup of the Vasco-Navarro train brought great economic, social, and cultural growth to the village of Arraia-Maeztu and the Alaves plains. Nearly a century after its inauguration, the Little Train once again becomes an object of attention claiming centre stage in what hopes to be the first of many mural paintings with aumented reality, combining art and technology, and breaking down invisible barriers which exist among these art disciplines.