Back An exhibition of industrial chimneys that are preserved in Barcelona inviting reflection as to their significance

An exhibition of industrial chimneys that are preserved in Barcelona inviting reflection as to their significance

“Industrial obelisks. Chimneys /BCN” is part of a research project by urban geographer and photographer Brian Rosa, currently attached to the UPF Department of Humanities as a Marie Curie researcher. The exhibition, which will include photos and maps, as well as roundtables, guided tours and workshops, can be visited from 2 April to 5 July 2022 at the Oliva Artés facility of the Museum of the History of Barcelona, and will require the active participation of visitors.

14.03.2022

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redevelopment processes it has undergone? What do its citizens believe the industrial chimneys that remain signify? What cultural, spatial and socio-economic implications has this industrial heritage had on its neighbourhoods?

These are some of the questions to which the exhibition Industrial obelisks. Chimneys /BCN will seek to give answers. It can be visited from 2 April to 5 July 2022 at the Oliva Artés facility of the Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA). The activity belongs to the research project that urban geographer, artist and photographer Brian Rosa is currently carrying out at the UPF Department of Humanities, through a European Union Marie Sklodowska-Curie  grant.

The display, to be inaugurated on 2 April at 5 pm, presents a wide variety of photographs and maps in a variety of formats, that document all of the industrial chimneys currently found in the city of Barcelona

The display, to be inaugurated on 2 April at 5 pm, presents a wide variety of photographs and maps in a variety of formats, that document all of the industrial chimneys currently found in the city of Barcelona, to demonstrate how many of them are still preserved in the city’s old industrial districts. These chimneys include two that are on UPF campuses: the one inside the Poblenou campus, and the one beside the Dipòsit de les Aigües, on the Ciutadella campus.

“As a geographer and an artist, the use of photographic images gives me the chance to document landscapes undergoing transformation. In Barcelona, and elsewhere, I am interested in the social, cultural and economic processes of de-industrialization, and how cities seek to reinvent themselves in their post-industrial era”, Brian Rosa explains.

Moreover, the exhibition, which will include a series of panel discussions with the presence of academics, activists and artists, guided tours and community workshops, has the collaboration of Fujifilm and Dinasa Laboratorio Fototécnico y Digital. The designers of the show are Amica Dall and César Tomé; the graphic designer is Diego Borbalan; the map designer is l'Observatori del Paisatge de Catalunya and the carpenter is Borja Moreno (Vasdelpalo).

An exhibition as part of a research methodology that will require the participation of visitors

“Industrial obelisks Chimneys /BCN” is framed in the research project by Brian Rosa titled “Post-Industrial Chimneys seen Through Urban Regeneration Imaginaries: toward a Networked GeoHumanities” (PICTURING), which was supported by the mentorship of Joan Roca, director of the MUHBA. The project, which is to run from July 2020 until July 2023, is funded by a European Commission Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant. To conduct it, Brian Rosa is supervised by Toni Luna, a tenured lecturer at the UPF Department of Humanities.

“The exhibition is based on uncommon methodological innovations in research into the social sciences and humanities, which develops yet further the emerging, interdisciplinary field of Geohumanities at UPF”

As Brian Rosa explains, the exhibition at the Oliva Artés facility of the MUHBA (a public urban history museum located in a converted industrial factory) adds a further dimension to the research he is carrying out at the UPF Department of Humanities: “Along with archival and interview-based research, the display rather belongs to the methodology than the end result of my research project”. It may be considered experimental since “it is based on uncommon methodological innovations in research into the social sciences and humanities, which develops yet further the emerging, interdisciplinary field of Geohumanities at UPF”.

Thus, after viewing photographs and maps of the industrial chimneys that remain in the city today, many of which stand as monuments in isolation, visitors will be asked to fill in a survey. “The purpose of this collaboration is so that they reflect on the relation between the city and its industrial heritage, urban redevelopment processes and, above all, what they think these monuments signify”, Brian Rosa clarifies.

PICTURING focuses on two concrete areas: the city of Barcelona (the direct subject of this exhibition), and Greater Manchester, in England. The goal is to explore industrial heritage and urban redevelopment in de-industrialized European cities, focusing on the cultural, social, spatial and economic implications for historically working-class, industrial neighbourhoods and towns. The focus is on industrial chimneys, concrete elements of urban landscapes that have served as a predominating symbol of industrial (and post-industrial) settlements, and are used by Brian Rosa to explore the dual processes of de-industrialization and the transformation of the built environment.

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