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Barcelona – Valencia – Palma

A History of Confluence and Divergence

The CCCB and the Department of Culture and the Media of the Generalitat de Catalunya will be presenting the exhibition “BVP”, curated by Ignasi Aballí, Melcior Comes and Vicent Sanchis. The show looks at the confluences and divergences of three Mediterranean cities: Barcelona, Valencia and Palma.

These are three cities which, at many points in time, have walked in step or moved along the same lines of force, which becomes apparent when we evaluate their history and the way they have evolved in recent centuries. In addition to their common language, we find similarities in architecture and urban planning, a comparable human geography and an urban aesthetic that unites them, though each has conserved its particularities, with periods of greater distance and even confrontation.

The exhibition will showcase the present-day situation of Barcelona, Valencia and Palma, concentrating on two fundamental aspects: the urban and the human landscape.


The City of the Future

The city of the future or the city that awaits us. Our aim is to take a leap forwards to the year 2085 to discover how the three cities will evolve to adapt or face up to the contingencies that may arise as a result of possible climate change that could blur the cities’ relation with the sea.


Barcelona, Valencia and Palma have shared the Catalan language since the 13th century. Today, Spanish is almost always spoken in Valencia; in Barcelona, Spanish and Catalan share their living space, and in Palma this is also the case, though Spanish is gaining ground. In legal terms, the two languages are official in the three cities. At the same time, many others have made their way into all three cities, whether in the homes or the neighbourhoods where the speakers live, as a result of recent years of immigration, including Tamazight, Urdu and Chinese. This space sets out to trace every aspect of the linguistic reality of the three cities, on the basis of a study by the GELA (Grup d’estudis de llengües amenaçades [Threatened Language Study Group]) in collaboration with the CUSC (Centre universitari de sociolingüística i comunicació [University Centre for Socio-linguistics and Communication), directed by Carme Junyent.

The Spectacle City

The three cities have their sights firmly set on being the focus of attraction for major events. They have sought to capitalize many economic, social, cultural and sporting movements to attract attention, which translates as financial income that contributes to the cities’ prestige and dynamism. These three capitals have adopted a strategy that allows them to rebuild impoverished or run-down areas lacking in investment as sites for major constructions by internationally renowned architects. These creations bring a whole new impetus to city spaces, which become showcases of the image the city aims to project around the world.

The decision to reinvent themselves by means of events and facilities turns the three cities into showcases that cease to evolve in terms of either content or research.

The Ugly City: Urban Planning Corruption and Tourism

The old towns of the three cities are rather run-down, the medieval fabric is largely fragmented and there are few traces of the past. At the same time, the urban growth of the sixties produced outlying housing districts with many structural shortcomings and few services. Recent years have seen public and private attempts to restore and conserve the old towns and improve the periphery, but it is not enough. At the same time, tourism has increased exponentially, and this part of the exhibition asks the questions: what kind of city do tourists find when they arrive? How do we receive them? What do we offer them?

This sector includes ugliness, corruption and degradation in the fields of aesthetics, ethics and landscape, as well as the economy.

The Hedonistic City

Barcelona, Palma and Valencia are Mediterranean cities, with the sea nearby, a plain on which they have settled and grown, active trade and a pleasant climate. Their inhabitants live in an enviable location where the street and public life play a major role. And, with nuances and differences, historically they have always enjoyed them. Today, the keystone of the economy of all three cities is tourism—mass tourism that has led to unbridled growth of leisure activities that are cheap and often disruptive for local people. Pleasure, then, is expressed differently and can also be interpreted differently, but it does play an important role in the three cities.

The Medieval City

The Gothic city forged the spirit of the three cities that merge to translate as a bygone but still distinguishable setting of town walls, guild streets, exchanges, cathedrals and churches. This common heritage is further accentuated by the fact that the artisans and architects who erected the most notable buildings from this period were associated with all three cities, and came and went between them, leaving us enduring works. With the advent of modernity, the middle classes and hygienist movements, the walls of the three cities were demolished and it became necessary to build city extensions.

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Exhibition. Reportage

The CCCB’s Audio-visual Department takes us on a tour of the show.

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