Manifesta 15Barcelona Metropolitana08.09 — 24.11.2024
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About Manifesta 15 Barcelona Metropolitana

Manifesta is the European Nomadic Biennial, which operates every two years from a different Host City.

It was conceived in the early 1990s as a biennial of contemporary art, responding to the new social, cultural and political reality that appeared in the aftermath of the Cold War.

About

Manifesta 15 will take place over 12 weeks, across 12 cities in the metropolitan region of Barcelona.

Manifesta 15 aims to reshape the relations between art, culture and society by investigating and catalysing socio-ecological change. All whilst being in continuous dialogue with both local communities and international cultural producers.

From the 8th of September to the 24th of November 2024, Manifesta will work in extraordinary venues which are symbolic of the thematic and conceptual approach of the edition. The biennial is looking to include new, local perspectives to the ever-changing fabric and histories of the region.

Due to its nomadic nature, each edition finds itself in a new locality every two years because it is invited by a Host City. In Manifesta 15’s case, the Bid was written by the Barcelona City Council and supported by 11 cities in the metropolitan region: Badalona, Cornellà de Llobregat, El Prat de Llobregat, Granollers, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Mataró, Sabadell, Sant Adrià de Besòs, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Sant Cugat del Vallès and Terrassa.

Manifesta 15 will be larger than any previous edition, spreading over an area of 3000 km/2, with a population of 5.1 million inhabitants, whilst being hosted – for the first time in the history of Manifesta – by 12 cities.

Towards Manifesta 15

There are many reasons that explain why Manifesta was invited to help to incubate change in the region. In the past years, numerous factors have impacted the urban development of Barcelona. These include: the fast gentrification of the coastline and natural areas, the use of land for real estate development, the introduction of the Super Block model and the use of land for industrial transformation. City expansion is limited due to the natural barriers of the rivers, the sea and the mountains. However, rural and/or protected land are at risk because of the expansion of economic developments.

The Bid for Manifesta in Barcelona was also driven by the city’s commitment to cultural decentralisation. Manifesta 15 Barcelona Metropolitana aims to build new ways for social and artistic communities to connect with local infrastructures. It seeks to shift cultural attention to the city's outskirts and neighbouring areas, fostering collaboration between the metropolitan cities. Manifesta, known for its nomadic nature, emphasises creating site-specific structures that focus on local voices and memories, supported by extensive research in host cities two years prior to the biennial.

Through collaborative critical research involving local and international artists, architects and thinkers, the pre-biennial process, guided by the Manifesta 15 Team alongside Urban Creative Mediator Sergio Pardo and Manifesta Director Hedwig Fijen, established the conceptual foundation for the biennial. Researchers focused on selected topics — Balancing Conflicts, Cure and Care, and Imagining Futures — that link to three significant locations: the Llobregat Delta, the Collserola Mountain Range and the Besòs River. These collectives engaged with local communities, uncovering hidden archives and memories, to shape a biennial programme across multiple cities centred on these three clusters.

History

In its 30 years of existence, Manifesta has become one of the most influential biennials in the world. Because of its nomadic nature, Manifesta creates an ongoing analysis of the state of European culture in the context of the challenges of our time. It explores the geographical, cultural and socio-political DNA of Europe from a local perspective to create interdisciplinary and cultural programmes.

Manifesta is now based on a co-creation model that links critical urban research, community building and contemporary culture with local identities and visions. With this new strategy, Manifesta maintains its nomadic nature but turns towards co-creation with artistic communities, local citizens, grassroots organisations and institutional partners to tackle societal questions raised by the Host City. We aim to be inclusive, open-minded, diverse and green to uphold a culture of equality in all our programmes, people and procedures.

Manifesta 15 will take place in Barcelona’s metropolitan region in 2024 and seeks to explore alternative models of how to decentralise contemporary culture in Catalonia.

Past Editions

Since 1996, Manifesta has taken place in Rotterdam, Luxembourg, Ljubljana, Frankfurt, Donostia/San Sebastián, Nicosia (cancelled), Trentino‒South Tyrol, Murcia, Genk, St. Petersburg, Zurich, Palermo, Marseille and Prishtina. Over the course of 14 editions and 25 years, more than three million people have visited or taken part in Manifesta’s events and programmes. Manifesta has successfully presented artistic producers, curators and young professionals from as many as 40 different countries.