Every year, citizens of Catalonia commemorate the events of September 11th 1714, a key date in the War of the Spanish Succession that has come to symbolize what Voltaire called "the Barcelonans' extreme love of freedom." With this year marking the 300th anniversary of these events, Barcelona Cultura enlisted the Fundació Enric Miralles to curate 7 public installations around the city as part of its Tricentenari BCN program.
The result is BCN RE.SET, organized by Benedetta Tagliabue of the Fundació Enric Miralles and stage director Àlex Ollé, which invited guest architects from countries all over the world to colloborate with local universities and create installations symbolizing 6 political and ideological concepts: identity, freedom, Europe, diversity, democracy and memory. These installations will be in place until September 11th. Read on after the break for descriptions of all 6 installations.
Citadel / Benedetta Tagliabue + Àlex Ollé, with the collaboration of Institut del Teatre
Passeig dels Til·lers
The central installation by organizers Benedetta Tagliabue and Àlex Ollé draws meaning from the history of its location on the edge of the Parc de la Ciutadella. The park was once the location of a large citadel, built after the events of 1714 both to protect the city but also to repress the citizens. Drawing on the idea of this "wall facing both inward and outward" - and the power of walls to delineate between friends enemies, between the powerful and the disempowered, and between the individual and the collective - the installation explores "the polysemy of the wall" in its many forms.
Identity / URBANUS with ETSALS (Escuela Técnica y Superior de Arquitectura La Salle, Tutors: Eugeni Bach, Josep Ferrando)
Drawing on the dynamic formation and re-formation of identity in our modern age, Chinese practice URBANUS took an alternative approach to make their installation reflect the identity of Barcelona, managing the tension between their status as outsiders and the inside knowledge of students at La Salle Barcelona.
Freedom / Anupama Kundoo, with the collaboration of IAAC
Plaça de Salvador Seguí
Anupama Kundoo build on their idea that "knowledge is empowerment, and knowledge will lead to progress and freedom" with their 'Library of Lost Books'. The focus of this library without books is on content and the act of reading - using 'unbound' books to create a sense of unboundedness in its visitors.
This pavilion takes as its theme the children’s game of Xarranca (Hopscotch), creating a sequence of individual moments that forms a collective experience. This sequence of moments emphasizes the celebration of differences and yet the erasure of boundaries through a transformational journey to symbolize the European values.
Diversity / Studio Odile Decq, with the collaboration of Recetas Colectivas
Plaça dels Àngels
Alluding to the 300 years since 1714, and the huge number and diversity of citizens that those centuries have seen in Barcelona, this installation hangs 300 t-shirts with images of faces on them over the Plaça dels Àngels. However these diverse faces are united culturally with a simple cultural reference: the t-shirts refer to the traditional way to dry clothes in Barcelona's Old Town, by hanging them on balconies in the narrow streets.
Based on the principle that the protection of the human rights of all people is a crucial component of democracy, this installation takes the form of an inflated canopy in the shape of a universal symbol of human rights. It is lent more poignancy by the fact it is located outside the Civil Registration Building, thus "dedicating the square over the coming summer months to the celebration of human rights through civil weddings."
Memory / Grafton Architects, with the collaboration of ELISAVA (UPF)
Arc de Triomf
Architecture is a medium which embodies memory, telling the stories of events which unfold around it. Grafton Architects attempted to create a 'house of memory' within the city which people can use to meet, chat and reminisce, capturing many years of memories in its short 3-month lifespan.