CONF Dec 14, 2021

Citizen gazes (online, 16-17 Dec 21)

online / Barcelona, Dec 16–17, 2021

Lucila Mallart

Citizen gazes. Connections between urban experience, spectatorship, class struggle and visuality in the Hispanic world (1870–1930)

Convenors: Lucila Mallart & Núria F. Rius

Location: Auditori Mercè Rodoreda, Campus Ciutadella, UPF, Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27, 08005 Barcelona
Zoom link: To obtain the link to the event, please register here:

This conference aims at exploring how experiences of visuality, spectatorship, and citizenship converged in the cities of the Hispanic world between 1870 and 1930. In an influential article, Jo Labanyi (2005) argued that the process of construction of the Spanish citizen in the 19th century was concomitant with the construction of an audience for historical painting. Drawing on this idea, the conference presents a series of contributions that analyse, from different disciplines, how life and movement in the city contributed, around 1900, to the construction of experiences of citizenship and of spectatorship. The conference also draws on the contributions of authors such as Fried (1967) or Rebentisch (2011) to the theory of the installation art in order to understand the city as an immersive space in which spectators/citizens contribute, with their movement and their practices, to build the environment to which they belong. We are particularly interested in urban experiences connected to visuality, emotions, and senses because following Benedict Anderson (1983) and Elizabeth Edwards (2012), we understand that these are crucial to the construction of modern imaginaries.

Presentations explore different cities in the Hispanic world, such as Barcelona, Madrid, Lima, and Cuzco, and focus on topics such as national imaginaries, tourism, photography, entertainment, science and popular technologies, and other sensory practices. Presentations pay attention to the experiences of different social groups, such as anarchists and the lower classes, thus avoiding a bourgeois-centered approach. Methodologically, the conference takes a multidisciplinary perspective, with contributions from the fields of art history and visual studies, contemporary history, geography, history of science, and literary studies.


CET (UTC+01:00)


11:45-12:00 CET (UTC+01:00)

11:45 Welcome and introduction, Tomas Macsotay, Lucila Mallart
and Núria F. Rius

PANEL 1. Urban experience and visuality in the contemporary era
Chair: Nausikaä El-Mecky (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
12:00 Monica Degen (Brunel University, London), The New Urban Aesthetic: Instagram and the restructuring of urban experiences

12:30 Vanesa Rodríguez Galindo (Florida International University), “Hablar a los ojos”. Comunicación visual y experiencia urbana en Madrid a finales del siglo XIX

13:00 Cèlia Cuenca (Universitat de Barcelona), La mirada óptica. Introducción, remediaciones y supervivencias de los espectáculos
de vistas ópticas en España

13:30 Q&A

14:00 Lunch

PANEL 2. Imaginaries and citizenship in the Hispanic city
at the end of the century
Chair: Núria F. Rius (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

15:00 Maria Chiara d’Argenio (University College London), “Ciudadanía imaginada” en la prensa ilustrada peruana (1880-1930)

15:30 Teresa Ferré (Observatori de la Vida Quotidiana, Barcelona),
La construcción de la autorepresentación visual anarquista a través de la prensa (1890–1930)

16:00 Lucila Mallart (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Caminant per l’Exposició: Itineraris i construcció d’imaginaris a l’Exposició Internacional de Barcelona (1914–1929)

16:30 Q&A

17:00 Break

17:30-19:30 Working session
20:00 Dinner


PANEL 3. Technology, emotions, and leisure spaces in the contemporary city
Chair: Lucila Mallart (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
12:00 Oliver Hochadel (Institució Milà i Fontanals, CSIC), Looking at Avi. Barcelona’s emblematic elephant around 1900

12:30 Jaume Valentines-Álvarez (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), Where the smoke is not seen and the loom shuttle is not heard: Makers and spectators of landscapes of technological fun (1901–1929)

13:00 Núria F. Rius (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), El ciudadano frente a la cámara. Espacios de ocio y fotografía vernacular en Barcelona (1890–1930)

13:30 Q&A

14:00 Lunch

PANEL 4. Walks and drifts to contemporary urban culture
*Chair to be confirmed

15:00 Laurie Lomask (Borough of Manhattan Community College), Un paseo desde fuera, hacia adentro: La figura del paseante del siglo XIX al XX

15:30 Juan Carlos Bejarano (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), “Como si estuvieras dentro del cuadro…”: la pintura de historia y sus derivas, entre la erudición y el espectáculo, en la sociedad barcelonesa del fin-de-siglo

16:00 Q&A

16:30 Break

17:00-19:00 Working session


This conference is part of the research project Prehistories of the Installation: From Ecclesiastical Baroque to Modern Interiors (UE-PGC2018-098348-A-I00), directed by Tomas Macsotay and funded by the Spanish State Research Agency and the European Regional Development Fund.

CONF: Citizen gazes (online, 16-17 Dec 21). In:, Dec 14, 2021 (accessed Jun 10, 2023), <>.