Via Laietana, Barcelona, Spain
Team with Alejandra Alonso, Albert Casas, Mercè
Lorente, Laura Sanchis, Gina Surià, Aleix Turón
Invisible Traces is a night light installation that takes advantage of the
magical quality of Christmas lightings to discover the city of the XIXth century
and to turn into visible the spirit of the invisible Barcelona.
During the second half of XIX century, social and health problems forced
Barcelona to grow outside the walls. L’Eixample, by the hand of Ildefons
Cerdà, was proposed as a homogeneous mesh able to solve the surface
that was in between the city centre and all the little towns around, giving
priority to certain streets.
One of those was Gran Via A, built in1859 and
known today as Via Laietana.
This new connexion between the city and the sea forced to destroy around
2000 houses and several medieval palaces, obviating the crossings of
transversal streets that finished disappearing or being completing cut.
The construction of huge institutional buildings created a new facade
that hides, even nowadays, the history of Via Laietana. The superposition
of the historic and present plan allows us to reconstruct the city of 1850
making evident those current testimonies of the past streets.
In this way, Invisible Traces introduces the citizen to the disappeared
streets throughout vertical lighting panels that reproduce the destroyed
facades and the narrow streets. Lighting curtains, apparently aleatories,
make the walker participes unconsciously into this magical experience from
the Via Laietana’s side walks as well as from the streets that crosses it.
This experience allows escaping from the monotone Christmas lighting
and finds a unitary lecture between via Laietana and the invisible traces.