The art of winning without fighting

The art of winning without fighting

27/06/2019 - 17:42

Culture. The exhibition ‘The Art of War: Strategies for Winning without Fighting’, is on at Montjuïc Castle until 9 January.

“He who knows his enemy and knows himself can fight a hundred battles at no risk” is one of the most famous sentences from ‘The Art of War’, the military treatise written in China by Sun Tzu around 500 BC. An exhibition by the ICUB at Montjuïc Castle illustrates the political, historical and cultural context for the book, which deals with the use of stratagems, manipulation, intelligence and concealment to cut the cost of battles.

The exhibition ‘The Art of War: Strategies for Winning without Fighting’ features a visual, physical and sensorial route. A bamboo forest bears seventeen famous sentences from Sun Tzu’s work, as well as an audio-visual piece where the translator of the work into Spanish, Dr Albert Galvany, talks about the origin of the author, the book and its political, historical and cultural context.

The display also includes a multilingual interactive game with 36 stratagems to test dexterity and intuition in the knowledge of these anonymous and enigmatic proverbs, which use deception and ingenuity to tackle conflicts successfully. It is a memory game where users must choose between three possible titles which correspond to each of the strategies which appear on the screen.

The display includes a reproduction of the original work in bamboo cane, along with a table showing the front covers of various works inspired by The Art of War.

In parallel to the exhibition, a series of activities are being offered at Montjuïc Castle until 9 January 2020 for the public to learn more about the author and his work.

Why is The Art of War so important?

The book is set in China in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, in a sub-period of the Zhou dynasty known as the Warring States period. In this turbulent period of battling kingdoms, Sun Tzu centres all efforts on the strategy of avoiding battle and bloodshed through risk calculations, alliances and deceptive information and politics to avoid military confrontation.

In recent decades the book has become a highly relevant work not only in military terms, but also in relation to culture, politics and strategic thinking. It has been applied as a management tool for sports trainers, in self-help manuals and for negotiation and competition in legal, economic and business spheres.