You may wonder what these three cities have in common besides the Catalan language but the curators of ‘Barcelona-València-Palma, Una història de confluències i divergèngies’ dissect their similarities in the type of exhibition that the CCCB does best: a close look at urbanism, sociology and human behaviour.
The show considers the good, the bad, and the ugly from the historical evolution of the three cities, dividing the content into six sections: The City of the Future, Language, The Spectacle City, The Ugly City (Urban Planning, Corruption and Tourism), The Hedonistic City and The Medieval City. The various views take the visitor from the Dark Ages through to 2085 with a projection of what the cities might become, if we take care of them…or if we don’t.
Major events, like Barcelona’s 1992 Olympic Games and two recent America’s Cups in Valencia, have contributed to the cities’ prestige and dynamism but they’ve all seen their historic centres crumble almost to ruins, then pull back from the brink in the nick of time in order to revitalise their urban core. But decay and corruption remain ongoing problems. The galleries dedicated to language, while perhaps the least visually oriented section, hold some remarkable data about Catalan, which has been around since at least the 13th century. Recent waves of immigration notwithstanding, all three cities officially have two languages. What can we learn from such an exhibition? The curators direct our urban planners to make the most of our assets and to use our tourist attractions wisely, while respecting the historical fabric that makes these three cities unique.