The European Nomadic Biennial, Manifesta, set to open its 15th edition on the 8th of September 2024, presents its pre-biennial conceptual framework and geographical positioning in Barcelona’s metropolitan region.
The European Nomadic Biennial, Manifesta, set to open its 15th edition on the 8th of September 2024, presents its pre-biennial conceptual framework and geographical positioning in Barcelona’s metropolitan region.01. Conceptual framework
The European Nomadic Biennial was invited by the City of Barcelona, with the main objective of aiding the decentralisation of existing cultural infrastructures by producing a geographical framework for artistic interventions that extends across the region. Changing its location every two years, each edition investigates and reflects on emerging developments in Europe by inviting interdisciplinary practitioners. The biennial does this by looking at the world through the eyes of Barcelona and understanding how we can learn from one another through creative projects that engage with diverse audiences and leave a legacy for each Host City and its citizens. 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. 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.
02. 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. 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).
03. 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.
Image : Urban Landscape © Manifesta 15 Barcelona. Photo by Eva Carasol
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