Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Last works on the human towers museum of Catalonia

ACN / Marieta Figueras Bonachi

Valls (ACN).- “Strength, balance, courage, and sanity” are the four key elements that guide the new Human Tower Museum of Catalonia in Valls, 100 km south of Barcelona. This ambitious project, aims to become a reference for the human tower world. All that is on show at the moment is indoor equipment with the most spectacular set ups: latest videos, support tools, and interactive games. The aim of its creator, Ignasi Cristià, who has designed the space for both experts from the ‘castells’ world and for the more inexpert public as well, is to create a new space for explaining human towers.

This initiative has been drawn up between Valls City Hall, the Tarragona Provincial Council, the Culture Department of the Catalan Government and the Coordinator of Catalan Human Tower Groups.

To honor the ‘castells’, this building will stand out from the rest of the city thanks to a huge cylindrical tower –20 meters high– reaching towards the sky. For this reason, this new home for the ‘castellers’ or human tower builders, means a great step for the city of Valls and for all followers of castells. The museum is a powerful proposal that will change Valls’ skyline thanks to its external structure.

What it has meant

With 10,000 m2 of surface area, the museum is in its final construction phase. This project has meant an important change for the area of the old suburb and an agreement between INCASÒL, the Catalan Land Institute, assigned to the Catalan Government, and Valls City Hall. Albert Batet, Valls' mayor, does not know when it will be finished. No date has been set to open the doors yet but, after three years of construction, there is not much left to do.

When they arrive at the museum visitors will see, first of all, a large hall where a vertical screen will be hanging from the first floor. On this screen, an audiovisual film about the concept of “courage” in the human towers world will be projected. Throughout the museum, people will be able to behave like a ‘casteller’ doing a human tower thanks to a video simulation game.

Impressive video montages

The main concept of this museum is that it will be composed by a lot of big screens that will project an impressive selection of graphic material. With this idea, visitors will have an epic vision of the human towers. In fact, in one of the spaces of the building, which is called “strength”, a big structure will descend from the roof behind the public in the middle of the projection and they will see a human tower made by different human tower groups.

All the explanations will be available in English, French, Catalan, and Spanish. The materials are prepared for all types of tourists and they aim to use the latest technologies. “We are so glad to have the opportunity to produce all the videos with the best techniques,” says Antoni Esteve, the owner of Grup Lavinia. This company, specialized in multimedia creations, has been working on 3D videos to show the human towers in the most experiential way. “We are working hard to be state-of-the-art, but we know that this world is in constant change and that in one year, there many better techniques will exist.”

At least for now, Valls City Hall has added 1.8 million euros to get the last ten seasons of human towers, a very important exhibition for compilation. Apart from this payment, the city hall has supported the project and it has allowed for the installation of a system in order to listen to all of the typical sounds in a ‘castells’ day, another interactive space to be a ‘casteller’, and big cylindrical areas thought to make a reference to the ‘pinya castellera’, the part of the castells that supports the construction.

What locals think about the project

“I think that it will be a great success for our city,” says Anna Maria Bonet, a tourist guide from Valls. “They are working so hard and when it is finished, they will need a lot of qualified people in different areas to prepare adequate communication, the best guides to show off the museum, and people who love the museum to assure its continued success,” she adds.

Maria Torrell is a member of La Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls, one of the best ‘castells’ groups in Catalonia. She is excited about this cultural event which recognizes the ‘castells’ history and values the ‘castellers’ effort and strength. Maria says that she loves this idea because “it is like a gift for all human tower followers,” and she states that “this museum will revive Valls as an important city.”

Valls is identified as the cradle of human towers and is also home to the best human tower group in Catalunya next to the Castellers de Vilafranca, La Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls. Marina Barberà is one of the musicians of this group and she says that “Valls is the best place for this museum.” She thinks that “this creation will be so positive because it represents a space to make our culture known and where people will be able to appreciate the worth of this tradition.”

  • sagrada_familia_human_tower

  • The human tower built in front of the Sagrada Família, at the same time than those in the rest of Europe (by M. Martí)