Things to Do
Essential museums, monuments, walks, talks and tours in Barcelona
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What's on in Barcelona
It's not just about Sónar and Primavera Sound. For an unforgettable year of music, art and cultural experiences, follow Time Out's guide to festivals and events. The coming months promise an endless array of events showcasing the best in Catalan and international culture - from hip hop and documentary filmmaking to religious and traditional celebrations. Plan your year here.
This week and beyond
The Fabra Observatory is the stage for another year of a one-of-a-kind event that combines gastronomy and science. Summer nights are full of science, astronomy and gastronomy in one of the most impressive viewpoints of the city. The evening begins with a gastronomic proposal designed with astronomy in mind, with quality ingredients and good food served on the terrace at 9pm. After the meal is a 30-minute science talk, with questions taken from the audience. Afterwards it's a visit to the museum, the Noucentisme hall, and the telescope, and then it's into the hall with the great dome, which still boasts original materials. From there you can observe distant constellations, stars and much of the solar system with the 1904 telescope, one of the largest and oldest in Europe that's still in operation.
- Camí de l'Observatori, s/n, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, 08035
- Wed Sep 17 - Sat Oct 11
Casa Batlló opens its doors and invites us into the magical universe of Gaudí under the light of the moon. Enjoy a glass of cava, an aperitif and live music beneath the stars from the impressive mosaic terrace of the majestic Noble Floor. Music from a variety of artists will flood the night with rhythm, with Spanish guitar from Sergi Vicente, sophisticated piano recitals from Olga Kobekina, the rhythmic sounds of Catalan Rumba, Marga Mbande's powerful voice and the smooth funk-soul of Laura Simó.
Film-makers, playwrights, artists, designers, comic book illustrators and architects all converge under one umbrella, in the first part of a triple exhibition dedicated to the most boundless, modern and wildly imaginative creativity produced in Catalonia in the new millennium.
- Rated as: 4/5
An ocean of data ('Hello world!', an installation of 5,000 personal video diaries downloaded from the Internet), a sea of information ('Thingful.net', a system for discovering connected objects around us), rivers of references (basic vocabulary: algorithm, geolocation, prediction, pattern) and graphics ('Submarine Cable Map', marking the fibre-optic system that connects the world) attempt to explain what Big Data means. For some it's the new oil, a source of inexhaustible wealth; for others it's a tool of social control. What is certain is that the metaphor of the cloud, an ethereal place where all our tweets, passwords and photos go, is quite misleading: it's more like a tangle of wires and sensors that could literally encircle the globe, and large containers have been built to preserve the content._Big Bang Data is a dense and complex exhibition, in the amount of material presented. It's a panopticon on the storage of information (in 2009 alone as much data was produced as in the whole history of humankind leading up to then) that leaves us facing the abyss of a big question. We have created a technology ready for archiving information about ourselves and our surroundings, but we haven't been able (yet) to agree on certain uses, to establish rules for our own protection, as citizens and consumers, against the dangers of this creation.
- CCCB. Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona Montalegre, 5, El Raval, 08001
- Fri May 9 - Sun Oct 26
- Rated as: 4/5
When I heard about it for the first time, I frowned. Eight unemployed people choose an object from their everyday life and a piece of art in the permanent collection at the MACBA. The process is photographed in the people's homes by Francesc Torres, whose idea it was. When the same contributors get to the MACBA, film-maker Mercedes Álvarez is on hand to shoot the second phase. Finally everything is exhibited: photos of the unemployed, the object they chose, the art they chose from the museum, and the film of the process. Why '25%'? Because that's the percentage of unemployed. 'Again with the exploitation of social criticism,' I said to myself, 'an experiment using the disadvantaged and calling it art.' But lest we forget that Francesc Torres is behind all this, a man with exquisite taste and a background in the conceptual and a man of exquisite taste, less harsh than Muntadas and more incisive than Eugenia Balcells ... The conceptual finesse is extraordinary: it draws a parallel between concepts such as the labour market and the art market, job value and artistic value, the value of use and of change. We monetize everything, even affection. And this show, wrapped in a cold hard percentage, reveals the underlying humanity. Eight people tell their personal story, and we can identify with them. They choose a work of art from the same perspective that they have chosen an object from their home, for strictly personal and non-quantifiable reasons. It's art that goes beyond theories
The Asia Festival celebrates its 13th edition this year with a total of 11 international performances over the course of 6 days on 8 different stages in Barcelona. And the best bit is that 10 of them are free. (The performance of 'Don Quixote, the Knight-errant' from the Guizhou Peking Opera costs just €6.) More than 150 artists representing 13 Asian countries are set to participate. Where can you see them? In the Plaça dels Àngles, the Plaça Joan Coromines, the MACBA auditorium, the Francesca Bonnemaison space, the Plaça de la Catedral, the Ateneu Barcelonès, the Modernist Sant Pau building and the CaixaFòrum. You've got plenty of chances for a meeting with Asian culture.
- Critics choice
The Gran Teatre del Liceu kicks off the season with one of Rossini's most popular operas, and one of the most popular in the whole of the opera world at that. The show is a new co-production, with stage direction by Joan Font (Comediants) and musical direction by Giuseppe Finzi. Vocal soloists include Juan Francisco Gatell, Carlos Chausson, Annalisa Stroppa and Mario Cassi, among others.