The climate crisis, the limits of democracy and the impact of the technological revolution are just a few of the big challenges facing contemporary societies. Aiming to find a window of pause that enables reflection on the big questions raised by reality, the second week of October, cities of Barcelona, Palma and Valencia will be holding the Biennial of Thought.
The three Mediterranean cities have forged a strategic alliance for promoting thought and culture, with three simultaneous editions of the same event launched by a common spirit and adapted to the idiosyncrasies and particular nature of each host city.
The biennials will be tackling issues which affect all cities, within the framework of the great global urban-planning and social debates, and also those to do more specifically with the cultural space that all three capitalise on.
Towards an open city
The Biennial of Thought is a cultural project working towards an open city. Its main mission is to encourage discussion of its most usual formats and get all city residents to take part, based on the conviction that the city needs to be governed through dialogue and shared reflection.
That way, the Biennial’s sessions, open and in public spaces, are set out not just in a dialogue format between specialists, with roundtables, debates and talks, but also in artistic activities, whether in exhibition or performance language.
Barcelona organised the first Biennial of Thought in 2018, which enjoyed an excellent turnout, with close to 20,000 people attending. The Biennial held its second edition, affected by the pandemic, in 2020 (6,000 people followed it face to face and 10,000 online).
This third edition will see the Biennial being held with the aim of becoming a tool for dialogue and collaboration between the three cities, each with its own personality but highlighting what unites them.
Common thematic areas
The Barcelona, Palma and Valencia Biennials cover the same thematic areas:
culture, city, democracy and technology, understand as general frameworks with multiple ramifications.
Each host city has its own Advisary Council, which has worked specifically on the respective programmes. The various commission teams have been sharing experiences throughout the process, to enrich it and look for a way to optimise resources and expand collaboration channels.
As a result of this joint work, from this dialogued creation process, the three host cities are sharing several participants and activities. The most notable of these include a reading of texts by Blai Bonet, Joan Fuster and Gabriel Ferrater carried out simultaneously in the three cities. The texts in all these will be read by representative poets.
Critical thought and optimistic approach
The Biennial poster, designed by Susanna Blasco, is another of the elements shared by the three host cities.
It represents city residents looking at the challenges raised by the future with critical, though optimistic thought. A direct, close and positive image but one which is at the same time dynamic and enigmatic, alluding to reflection, curiosity, learning and debate.
The image is built up, among other things, on the idea of city, on the grid that could perfectly represent a map; blue-colour (of the sky, see… open minds) are discovered between the raised corners.
These corners and the layout of the grid create volume and movement, a mental architectural species, where the questions and ideas open the way as they change and advance