Valencia, Spain – For the 2015 Fallas de Valencia festival last March, architect Miguel Arraiz García and sculptor David Moreno Terrón of artist group Pink intruder designed EKKLESÍA, a cardboard-and-wood installation at a street intersection. EKKLESÍA was burned along with other fallas throughout the city in celebration of the arrival of spring.
Every year, groups throughout the city design temporary monuments called fallas to display ninots (puppets or figurines) for parades. The fallas are then burned in one “night of fire.” The festival evolved from pagan spring celebrations as well as the burning of carpenter’s torches on March 19, the day of their patron Saint Joseph, when they no longer need the additional light to lengthen their work days. The fallas often involve social satire or critique.
EKKLESÍA is a contemporary take on the festival tradition. Inspired by temple architecture, the 144-square-meter installation was constructed with metallic cardboard tubes and wood joints over a floor mosaic of 96,000 colored wooden pieces. The lost Nolla Mosaic, a traditional Valencian ceramic work, inspired the design. Children helped to make the mosaic, which provided a stage for performances during the festival. The video at the bottom of the post shows the construction process and a light show by Led Visuals during the installation.
The title refers to the ekklesia, an ancient Greek assembly of citizens where policy decisions were made, including elections and public court appeals. At the Athenian ekklesia, politicians could be banished from the city temporarily based on the citizens’ votes, which were cast on ceramic pieces. In keeping with the histories of both the ekklesia and the Fallas festival, Pink intruder screen printed citizens’ political critiques onto the cardboard columns of the installation.
Collaborators on the project included ARAE Patrimonio, Asociacion Cultural Falla Cronista, Retales, Josep Martí, Barret Films, Led Visuals, Ignite, Valencia Vibrant, Choreoscope, and Visorifashionart.