Barcelona has maintained a certain image of itself but it’s not appropriate anymore
Unlearning what we have learned, creating new spaces; that would be the real challenge to Barcelona
We are a society that was built with enthusiasm; Barcelona is known for its vibrance, based on simple elements such as our beaches, our good food, our architecture and our ideal location. However, if we want to be truly dynamic, we must realize that we need new spaces giving us new direction and we must take more risks.
All the dynamism that people see in Barcelona involves elements such as the city’s commerce, the architecture, the design, the movement of young people towards a certain ideal lifestyle but not really a reinvention of an attitude. To progress, we need to be a bit more freaky and willing to open up to the unknown. Unlearning what we have learned, creating new spaces; that would be the real challenge to Barcelona.
In the past, we took a lot of risks in the move from the Franco period to the democracy of today. It has been a difficult but very fruitful journey and things have now stabilized; we have stopped spinning madly around. This is not only the case in Spain but in Europe more generally. The importance of security in today’s society and the conservative values so widely held naturally affect what we expect from culture and life; people no longer want to take risks.
In this sense, Barcelona is quite conservative, probably because of its influential bourgeoisie but also because of its drive for a democracy where everyone must be equal, with the consequence that to be any less or more is problematic. To be average is the norm and this attitude affects our universities and our world view in general.
Excess is seen as a negative thing but I consider it as fundamental as its opposite. You always need extremes in order to test your limits, something you can’t do if you remain within your norms. I am curious to see how the city is going to respond to this difficult time; for many years Barcelona has maintained a certain image of itself but it’s not appropriate anymore and I think it’s time to renew it, to shed the skin we have outgrown and to produce something better.
Photo credit :
(1)“Untitled”, Federico Ferrario
NOMAD Barcelona 2011