The Heart of Time. 1997 — Performing arts

Scenery for the Maria del Mar Bonet concert at the Palau Sant Jordi commemorating her 30-year career in music along with other musicians and artists.

Institutional sponsor: Jordi de Ramon Produccions

Location: Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona

© Photography: Toni Catany

On 23 April 1997, María del Mar Bonet held a concert to celebrate her 30-year career in music accompanied by other singers, musicians and artists like Martirio and Joan Manuel Serrat. The show was recorded live and an album was put out with the same name as the event: El cor del temps (The Heart of Time).

Our job was to design the background scenery for this special concert, which was not only a celebration of her work but also a paean to the Mediterranean and the musical culture of its peoples. Bonet wanted to combine two references to the sea: a typical boat from Nuragic culture, which existed on the island of Sardinia during the Bronze Age, and a depiction of The Great Wave off Kanagawa by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. A wide variety of musical and dance performances were to take place on the stage.

The first challenge was to skilfully combine these references to ensure they were not discordant, and to downplay them so that they were not overly prominent to make sure that the most important thing was the music. We were also interested in engaging in a kind of dialogue with the building. To do so, we planned a structure with different levels of depth based on the square modules that the Palau Sant Jordi had on the wings of the stage. This module generated a pixelated composition whose different layers became transparent when lit from behind. The area onstage, which was sand-coloured, simulated a large beach. As the concert progressed, the Nuragic boat moved and appeared slowly, so by the end of the show it stood centre stage. The slender silhouette of this ancestral vessel was both metaphorical and symbolic, since the concert closed with a song performed by the University Choir of the Balearic Islands, which came out onstage from the boat, as if the choir members had been conveyed there via the Mediterranean.

Maria del Mar Bonet Website