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Manifesta 15 will be held from September 8 to November 24, 2024 in Barcelona
Spain Architecture News - Apr 21, 2023 - 11:45 1265 views
Changing its location every two years, Manifesta, founded in the early 1990s, rethinks the relation between culture and civic society, investigating and instigating positive social change through contemporary culture in response to, and in close dialogue with, the social sphere of the Host City and its communities.
Manifesta has consistently chosen unexpected host locations that reflect Europe’s ever-changing DNA to shed light on a world defined by changing ethical and aesthetic imperatives. Manifesta, as a recurring event, has transformed itself into a multi-layered and inclusive instrument of civic engagement projects.
In 2024, Manifesta 15 will take place in Barcelona. Manifesta 15 will seek to explore alternative models of how to democratise cultural institutions and decentralise contemporary culture in Catalonia.
Urban Landscape 9. Image © Manifesta 15 Barcelona / Julia Coldwell and Gerard Guillo
In Barcelona, Manifesta’s participatory process will create an experimental platform and a laboratory for a new form of cultural institutionalism including a variety of new voices.
"Manifesta will be a great field of research, experimentation and action, also tying in the creative network, institutions and the citizens. A process from which to broaden rights to access and participate in culture without discrimination based on origin, general or class, said Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona.
Previous editions of Manifesta included Rotterdam (1996), Luxembourg (1998), Ljubljana (2000), Frankfurt (2002), San Sebastian (2004), Nicosia (2006 – cancelled), Trentino-South Tyrol (2008), Murcia in dialogue with North Africa (2010), Genk (2012), St. Petersburg (2014), Zürich (2016), Palermo (2018), Marseille (2020), Prishtina (2022).
Urban Landscape 2. Image © Manifesta 15 Barcelona / Eva Carasol
Manifesta 15 aims to explore alternative urban and mobility structures and new ways to connect social and artistic communities and infrastructures. Manifesta 15 will investigate the relation of the metropolitan cities with the inner city of Barcelona whilst creating new collaborations between the individual metropolitan cities.
The focus will be the cross-pollination between the metropolitan cities, their communities and their needs, through artistic interventions and community projects. The main elements are creating accessibility for a diverse audience, implementing participatory processes, including rural and urban channels with decentralised projects, to create green and community-based projects.
In order to conceptualise and develop a framework for each biennial edition, Manifesta first ascertains the needs and interests of the citizens, the professional cultural sector and civil society of the Host City. Manifesta’s extensive biennial research process identifies local structures and geographical nodes to develop the goals and parameters for the biennial programme.
Manifesta 15 in Barcelona is an opportunity to promote, enhance and expand the artistic landscape across the Metropolitan Area.
Urban Landscape 7. Image © Manifesta 15 Barcelona / Julia Coldwell and Gerard Guillo
The ten metropolitan cities which supported the Bid written by the municipality of Barcelona are: Badalona, Cornellà de Llobregat, Granollers, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Mataró, Prat del Llobregat, Sabadell, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Terrassa and Santa Coloma de Gramenet.
Recently, Manifesta 15 has announced its pre-biennial conceptual framework and geographical positioning in Barcelona’s metropolitan region.
Manifesta 15’s pre-biennial process, which commenced in 2022 led by Manifesta’s founding director Hedwig Fijen, delves into the urban fabric of the metropolitan region, identifying the key socio-cultural themes and geographical locations where Manifesta 15 will develop.
During the past half year, Manifesta 15 Barcelona has focused on generating a set of critical questions which will be researched and will lead to the presentation of socio-cultural and ecological collaborative projects in the metropolitan region. A participatory process launched in May 2023 will be created in between civil society organisations working alongside cultural practitioners from different regions and disciplines.
Urban Landscape 3 © Manifesta 15 Barcelona / Eva Carasol
The outcome of this research and knowledge production will identify the needs for urgent socio-ecological transformations in the metropolitan region through creating innovative artistic projects. By working with artists and architects in an experimental manner, Manifesta 15 hopes to present the key finding of this research in an alternative eco-social “Magna Carta”.
The 15th edition of Manifesta, will have a scale never addressed in the previous fourteen editions of the European Nomadic Biennial, both in terms of the population size and the large geographical scope. The research process implemented by Manifesta 15 takes into consideration the urban transformations that the city of Barcelona and its metropolitan region have experienced over the last four decades.
Geographical Nodes of Manifesta 15 Barcelona. Image © Manifesta 15 Barcelona
Pre-biennial process and the allocated nodes
To identify social and geographical crossroads or nodes where Manifesta 15 will conduct its research and to create a thematic framework of the pre-biennial process, Manifesta 15 has appointed the New York based Spanish architect, Sergio Pardo as the first Creative Mediator to work together with the local Manifesta 15 team.
Rather than developing a new urban vision, which has been the approach for the previous three editions of Manifesta, Pardo will use the extensive urban researches that have already been conducted about Barcelona spanning the past four decades as a departure point.
The results will inform where Manifesta 15 will work and with whom, considering the municipalities that supported the bid: Badalona, Cornellà de Llobregat, El Prat de Llobregat, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Granollers, Mataró, Sabadell, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Santa Coloma de Gramenet and Terrassa.
By navigating across the greater metropolitan region, Sergio Pardo and Manifesta 15’s director and her team have been developing a conceptual framework in which new forms of interaction and collaboration are identified for these nodes. Within the context of Manifesta 15 Barcelona, the three geographical nodes that have been selected are in the following three territories: the Besòs river, the Llobregat delta and the Collserola mountain range. The commonality between these nodes is their presence as large natural systems and open spaces that surround the metropolis that is Barcelona, yet their presence is in close relation with urban and industrial development. Additionally, these nodes represent the urgent need for decentralising and reallocating cultural eco-systems to the metropolitan region.
Urban Landscape 4. Image © Manifesta 15 Barcelona / Eva Carasol
These nodes which connect with their immediate environment will articulate the three relevant themes of the eco-social participatory process: how to imagine a future and the tools we have to do so (Besòs area), how to manage disbalances in the framework of the commons (Llobregat delta) and how we want to care and be cared for (Collserola mountain range).
Exploring pedagogical histories
These three nodes will be the "expanded worktables" where co-creation is an essential part of the transformative process. Additionally, the essential and integrated educational research process of Manifesta 15 Barcelona has started through exploring pedagogical histories of Catalonia in relation to the three allocated geographical nodes.
The results of this participatory process, including that of the education programme, will be showcased at Manifesta 15 Barcelona’s headquarters in the late summer of 2023 and will inform the integral process of the vision for the biennial which will run from the 8th of September until the 24th of November 2024.
Hedwig Fijen.Image © Manifesta 15 Barcelona / Flaminia Pelazzi
"Manifesta 15 Barcelona is committed to a thematic framework that focuses on the critical role of arts and culture in the ecological transformation process and the most pressing and all-encompassing issues related to the urgent environmental, humanitarian and political crises of our time," said Hedwig Fijen, Director Manifesta 15 Barcelona and Founder and Director of International Foundation Manifesta.
"Our ambition is to focus on the integration of culture, nature and science, as well as human and natural rights. This urges us to emphasize on the healing power of arts and culture regarding the position of non-human actors. The mountains, the rivers and the sea are the origin and the inspiration for the 15th edition of the European Nomadic Biennial," Hedwig Fijen added.
Manifesta 15 Barcelona 2024 is co-initiated by the Municipality of Barcelona and the International Foundation Manifesta. Additional public partners are the Diputació de Barcelona and the Generalitat de Catalunya.
Top image: Urban Landscape 6. Image © Manifesta 15 Barcelona / Julia Coldwell and Gerard Guillo.
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