Roquetes and Trinitat Nova

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Setze Barris, Mil Ciutats (Sixteen neighbourhoods, A Thousand Cities is a photography survey commissioned by the Barcelona City Council to document sixteen of the lowest income neighbourhoods in the city.

Xavier Ribas was one of eleven artists commissioned by Barcelona City Council to document sixteen low-income neighbourhoods in the city between July and December of 2018 as part of Setze barris. Mil ciutats, Fotografies per a altres relats de Barcelona (Sixteen neighbourhoods. A thousand cities. Photographs for other stories of Barcelona). These communities had emerged in the 1960s and 1970s when workers and their families migrated to Barcelona from other parts of Spain and developed informal communities on the outskirts. During the 1990s, these neighbourhoods of temporary housing and precarious urbanism were consolidated into the city with an extensive program of urban regeneration and investment in public transport, social and community services.

The Barcelona City Council, in conjunction with the Photographic Archive of the City of Barcelona commissioned the photographic documentation of these neighbourhoods, recognising the lack of representation in the city’s photographic archive. It also understood that official visual archives tend to rely on documentation of city centres and historical communities.

The curators, Marta Dahó and Marta Delclos, selected Ribas for his international reputation and experience in the photography of the city’s urban inhabitants, in for example, the photographs published as Sundays 1994-97 (1998) and exhibited in the exhibition Time as Matter, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) (2009) and his inclusion the exhibition Machines for Living: Flamnco and Architecture in the Occupation and Vacating of Spaces (2018).

Ribas used the commission to explore interactions of public space and the human body, building on a career-long investiation of aspects of the city and urban community use of specific environments. The work was contextualised theoretically by Bourdieu’s interpretation of the concept of ‘habitus’ as a materialised memory, a socialised subjectivity, and an embodied system of dispositions (Bourdieu, 1977).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSixteen neighbourhoods
Subtitle of host publicationA Thousand Cities
Place of PublicationBarcelona
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2021


  • Photography
  • Cities
  • urban planning


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