Nobel Laureates in Literature who have visited the CCCB

May 17th, 2016 No Comments

The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona’s interest in literature is very much present in its programme, from exhibitions to debates, in performative activities such as Slam Poetry and in consolidated festivals such as Kosmopolis, Primera Persona and Món Llibre. The CCCB is writers’ territory and this spring among the interesting authors visiting us are Juan Marsé, Jordi Puntí, Renata Adler, John Irving, Don DeLillo and Svetlana Alexievich. Taking advantage of the visit by the Nobel Laureate in Literature of 2015, we have done a little archaeological digging in our archive to remember other writers who have visited the CCCB and were also winners of this prestigious accolade.

Svetlana Alexievich Nobel Prize in Literature 2015. She visited the CCCB on May 2016 in a conversation with writer Francesc Serés.

Herta Müller Nobel Prize in Literature 2009 – She visited the CCCB in June 2012. She gave the lecture “Language as Homeland” and talked with translator and literary critic Cecilia Dreymüller. To coincide with her presence at the Centre, a small-format exhibition was dedicated to her “Herta Müller: The Vicious Circle of Words”.

Orham Pamuk. Nobel Prize in Literature 2006. He visited the CCCB in January 2010. The celebrated Turkish writer gave an interesting lecture on the future of museums and of novels.

J.M.Coetzee. Nobel Prize in Literature 2003. He made a “virtual” visit to the CCCB in October 2008. The South African writer read some excerpts from his book “Diary of A Bad Year” exclusively for the Kosmopolis literature festival.

Gao Xingjian. Nobel Prize in Literature 2000. Visited the CCCB in October 2008. The Chinese writer talked about the reason for being of literature and the sacrifices involved in the defence of creative freedom against the abuses of political or media power. The CCCB devoted an exhibition to him along with a television programme “Soy Cámara. El mundo de Gao”

Mario Vargas Llosa. Nobel Prize in Literature 2010. He visited the CCCB in October 2004.

Vargas Llosa gave the lecture “Wars at the 21st Century”.

The CCCB, a center commited to Literature

April 21st, 2016 1 Comment

Since 11 December 2015, Barcelona has formed part of the UNESCO’s Creative Cities network in the field of literature. Together with Baghdad (Iraq), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Lviv (Ukraine), Montevideo (Uruguay), Nottingham (England), Óbidos (Portugal), Tartu (Estonia) and Ulyanovsk (Russia), Barcelona now has official recognition of a reality that has been palpable in the city for a long time.

K15 // Martín Caparrós & Jon Lee Anderson © CCCB, Carlos Cazurro, 2015

Literature is one of the primary focuses of the CCCB and forms part of its founding principles: “The CCCB is a space for the creation, research, dissemination and debating of contemporary culture in which the visual arts, literature, philosophy, film, music, the performing arts and transmedia activity are interconnected in an interdisciplinary programme”. Literature is, therefore, one of the subjects that have most featured in exhibitions and activities over the centre’s twenty years of history.

In 1995, just a year after its inauguration, the CCCB presented the exhibition James Joyce’s Dublin, the first of a series devoted to cities and the writers linked to them. After Dublin, the series continued with The Lisbons of Pessoa (1997), The City of K. Kafka and Prague (1999) and Cosmopolis. Borges and Buenos Aires (2002). All of these exhibitions went beyond the writing to relate the works of authors with their literary and personal landscapes, to discover how the cities that they inhabited were the direct or indirect protagonists of their works. In The Trieste of Magris (2011), the Italian city served as a physical tour around the work of the Italian writer; with Pasolini Rome (2013), the filmmaker met the writer to defend his most critical role and Bolaño Archive (2013) recalled the passing of the Chilean writer through Blanes, Girona and Barcelona via a detective-style journey that visitors had to resolve, a kind of “meta-exhibition” that allowed relations and clues to be discovered in the very work of the author of The Savage Detectives.

Bolaño Archive. 1977-2003 © Lidia González Alija, 2013

Other writers as subjects of exhibitions and debates have been Calders (The Mirrors of Fiction, 2000), Espriu (I Looked Upon This Land, 2013), W.G. Sebald (Sebald Variations, 2015, an exhibition that related the walks taken by the German author with contemporary art), Julio Cortázar (Travels, Images and Other Territories, 2004), Federico García Lorca (1998) and J.G. Ballard (Autopsy of the New Millennium, 2008).

Espriu. I looked upon this land © La Fotogràfica, 2014

It was the exhibition devoted to Borges that gave its name to the amplified literature fest Kosmopolis, which held its first edition in December 2002. Since then, every two years (with some exceptions: in 2005 a special edition was held to coincide with Book and Reading Year and the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Quijote), it has brought together some of the best authors of world literature, including several Nobel, Cervantes and Príncipe de Asturias prize winners, such as Juan Marsé, Gao Xingjian, Claudio Magris, J.M. Coetzee, Tzvetan Tódorov, Amos Oz, Ismail Kadaré, Mario Vargas Llosa and Svetlana Alexievich. Kosmopolis bears the subtitle “Amplified literature fest” because it is more than a literature festival, because the themes for each edition are related to each other, because writing, science, comic art, the written and spoken word, music and theatre all form part of a programme that explores the letters from very diverse perspectives. And because it does not focus on a single form of literary expression, but rather encompasses them all. For all these reasons we would be so bold as to say that Kosmopolisis the only festival held in Barcelona on literature understood in its broadest sense, since other meet-ups, such as BCNegra or Barcelona Poesía, focus on the field of literature specialising in the crime and poetry genres, respectively.

K04 // Mario Vargas Llosa © CCCB, Susana Gelida, 2004

Beyond the exhibitions, the CCCB has also hosted book presentations, courses, tribute events and lectures by authors from al over the world. To cite just a few examples: Paul Auster presented his Winter Journal in 2012; Erri de Luca talked about the Mediterranean; Amin Maalouf debated on identity and memory; Orhan Pamuk reflected on the future of museums and literature; Herta Müller presented a small-format exhibition on her work; Salman Rushdie explained why we live in the time of strangeness, and Jonathan Safran Foerdefended the need to stop eating animals.

K15 // Salman Rushdie & Rodrigo Fresán © CCCB, Miquel Taverna, 2015

In 2016 we commemorated the seven-hundred year anniversary of the death of Ramon Llull and over the course of the year various activities were held related with the writer, philosopher, theologian, professor and missionary. At the CCCB we joined the commemoration with an exhibition, The Thinking Machine. Ramon Llull and the ars combinatoria, which offered a new perspective regarding his work. However, this is not the first nor the last anniversary to be celebrated at the centre: we also remembered J.V. Foix with the recital FestFoix. 25 Years With/Without Foix; we hosted a tribute to Joan Vinyoli on the thirty-year anniversary of his death, Anniversary Promenade. Tribute to Joan Vinyoli, and Raimon read texts by Joan Fuster on the 2012 commemoration of ninety years since his birth and fifty since the publication of his most important work, Nosaltres, els valencians. For the last three years we have also been celebrating Orwell Day; once a month we host a meet-up focusing on the spoken word, PoetrySlam, and regularly the Friends of the CCCB participate in the Reading Club led by journalist and writer Antonio Lozano. Furthermore, since 2013 the CCCB has formed part of the Literature Across Frontiers platform, which promotes literature and translation in minority languages with member literary festivals from places as diverse as Turkey, Poland, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Norway, Portugal and Slovenia.

Apart from Llull, the literary programme for 2016 was again brimming with important events. In May and June we were visited by Northamerican writers John Irving and Don DeLillo and in November we hosted Eurocon, Europe’s most important science-fiction literature meeting. We also received the most autobiographical authors of the moment at the Primera Persona festival, which confirmed authors such as Renata Adler, Juan Marsé, Carlos Zanón and Jordi Puntí. Writers such as Elif Shafak, Mia Couto and Patrick Deville came to talk about books and literature and in 2017 we’ve celebrated a new edition of Kosmopolis with guests like John Banville, Pierre Lemaitre, Zeina Abirached, Jean Echenoz and PJ Harvey, who gave her first poetry recital in Spain.

Primera Persona 2015. The writer Caitlin Moran talking the journalist Marta Salicrú © CCCB, Miquel Taverna, 2015

With this track record, Barcelona’s candidate status as Literary City was a project that the centre defended with enthusiasm and with the conviction that it was a recognition that Barcelona has deserved for some time. Now, with this honorary title, the city has fully entered the worldwide league of creative cities, and the CCCB will continue to be on the front line, defending literature as one of the fine arts. Because, as defined by the principles of Kosmopolis, literature is “the only discourse that does not try to model the world on absolute foundations, disciplinary frontiers or ideological straitjackets”.

The CCCB Lab Blog, nominated for the “GLAMi Awards” at the Museums and the Web conference

April 4th, 2016 No Comments

Museums and the Web is one of the annual events par excellence for cultural sector professionals from all over the world interested in research and innovation. It has been held annually since 1997 in various cities in the United States and Asia and brings together cultural managers, developers, students, researchers, technology experts, etc., to present practical cases and digital tendencies.

This edition of the MW conference is held in Los Angeles. Thomas Pintaric. CC BY-SA

Museums and the Web has become an important network of knowledge regarding the most outstanding museum projects of recent years thanks to its online professional forum, the papers presented at the conferences and its “GLAMi Awards”, previously known as “Best of the Web”. The name of the awards has been changed with the idea of reaching beyond the web and being able to award prizes to any project responding to the initials GLAMi (Galleries/Libraries, Archives and Museums Innovations).

At the twentieth edition of the MW conference, which is to be held in the first week of April in Los Angeles, the CCCB Lab Blog has been nominated for the GLAMi Awards, together with 95 other international projects. The nominees represent interesting practical cases of how museums are working with education, the opening-up of archives and collections, participation and relations with audiences or scientific and cultural outreach, among other subjects.

The CCCB Lab Blog, a window on cultural innovation

The CCCB Lab Blog has been running since 2009 as a window from this department of the CCCB specifically devoted to research and innovation in the cultural sphere. Over the years it has become consolidated as a digital magazine with an editorial and art-based approach, with a professional community of followers behind it. Every Tuesday it publishes an article specialising in subjects such as new audiences, open science, the digital transformation in museums, expanded education, etc.

The Blog has two possible routes to winning a GLAMi Award:

  • People’s Choice. Registered members on the website of Museums and the Web can vote until 7 April 2016.
  • Through a judging committee formed by specialists at the Conference who decide on the winning projects. These will be announced publicly on 8 April in Los Angeles.

In the year 2011, the CCCB was awarded a prize for the exhibition project “The City of Horrors” and in 2009, the Picasso Museum and the MACBA won prizes for Social Media Strategy and for the MACBA Web Radio project respectively. You can see a list of MW winners from previous years on Wikipedia. This project is one of the four Spanish projects presented to the awards. The other three are the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Museo del Prado and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.

CCCB to participate at Museums and the Web Los Angeles

This year, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona will be represented at the Los Angeles event, thanks to a scholarship awarded by the event’s sponsors to Lucia Calvo, journalist and contents editor of the Centre’s website. Ultimately, if the CCCB is lucky and the CCCB Lab Blog is chosen as a winning project, she will collect the prize.

(Català) Més enllà del cos

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