‘Barcelona Flashback’: an exhibition for discovering the history of the city through a hundred objects

‘Barcelona Flashback’: an exhibition for discovering the history of the city through a hundred objects

08/10/2019 - 16:27

Culture and free time. This artistic project by the MUHBA offers a means of interpreting history by interrogating architecture, neighbourhoods and landscapes.

The Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA) is offering a new exhibition entitled ‘Barcelona Flashback. A history kit in 100 objects’, an innovative and experimental way of showing and exploring the city’s history with a route divided into five stages: interrogating witnesses, constructing narratives, exploring territories, comparing with other urban places and reading heritage.

The MUHBA is seeking to reaffirm its plans to become a 21st-century city museum with ‘Barcelona Flashback’. The exhibition is an educational initiative, at the same time acting as an international research project on the minimum combination of knowledge and urban awareness that a 21st-century museum must provide, in support of democracy and the right to the city.

More than an exhibition, ‘Barcelona Flashback’ is a multi-format participatory project that involves the whole museum and plays a full part in the future renovation of the Casa Padellàs, which is to become a home for the history of Barcelona, a nucleus for the network of heritage sites all over the city which belong to the museum.

Five-part journey

Rather like playing at being Alice in the tales by Lewis Carroll, the exhibition starts in front of a mirror which contains Barcelona’s heartbeat in eleven verbs and invites people to delve deep into the city.

Going through the mirror invites people to ‘Listen to witnesses’, the first stop on this journey offered by the MUHBA. The witnesses are valuable objects, documents and images, carefully chosen as they help us to explain where we come from, who we are and where we are going.

As we follow the route, we discover major geopolitical changes in the city, which has been a Roman colony, an episcopal seat, a frontier stronghold, a medieval capital, a textile metropolis and a global city. This discovery, through the interrogation of objects, helps us ‘Construct narratives’ to address changes in society and appealing to us in our own time and to our desires for the future.

From the construction of narratives, we move to the city centre to ‘Roam around Barcelonas’, a room which gives us the keys for exploring the architecture and cartographies that compare economic, social and political differences and show the constant transformation of the city.

These multiple Barcelonas lead to the ‘Connecting cities’ section, an invitation to see and experience another city as if it were our own, or to contemplate our city as if we were visitors. This is where we move onto the last frontier, ‘Interpreting heritage’, where the MUHBA offers us a chance to walk through part of the wall which couldn’t be visited until now and step into the urban world for a practical exercise in reading landscapes which focuses on the deconstruction of Plaça de Ramon Berenguer el Gran and the Gòtic neighbourhood.

Routes for discovering Barcelona

Besides the exhibition, the MUHBA is offering a series of routes for discovering the leading role the city had in different periods in history.

The exhibition ‘Barcelona Flashback. A history kit in 100 objects’ is on from 10 October at the MUHBA, at Baixada de la Llibreteria, 7.