June 20, 2012 - Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) - Utopia is Possible
June 20, 2012

Utopia is Possible

Instant City, 1971. José Miguel de Prada Poole Archive.

Utopia is Possible
ICSID. Eivissa, 1971

21 June 2012–20 January 2013

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
Plaça dels Àngels, 1
08001 Barcelona


The 7th Congress of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID), organised by the Agrupació de Disseny Industrial del Foment de les Arts Decoratives (ADI/FAD), was held in Eivissa (Ibiza) from 14–16 October 1971. What might have been a conventional professional meeting became, in the Spanish context, an unprecedented event. For three days, what the ICSID did in Eivissa was not just an open congress where professionals and students could meet and debate; it was a point of convergence between design and the most experimental forms of art and architecture at the time in Spain. The exhibition is an attempt to recreate that event and the ideas that are still relevant today: sustainability, participation, solidarity, new relations between industry and society, and the liberating powers of art. It includes documentary material, photographs, and films, from various archives and from the MACBA Collection.

In 1971, the ICSID Congress was held at Cala de Sant Miquel, a bay on the northwest coast of Eivissa, away from the usual urban venues. The Congress wanted to avoid any kind of programming on principle. It was structured in the form of ‘speaking rooms’ (in the two hotels on the bay), where presentations and discussions on design, urbanism, art, new technologies, and ideas took place.

In parallel to this, a series of events relating design to other media were also organised. One of the most successful was Instant City, a project created to provide accommodation for students attending the Congress: an ephemeral city, made of plastic, and based on a simple construction system of geometrical figures. Muntadas and Gonzalo Mezza created Vacuflex-3, a mobile sculpture made from an industrial green plastic tube over 150 metres long. It became a playful object with which it was possible to sculpt in a spontaneous manner: art could be a game. Josep Ponsatí installed a large inflatable sculpture made of big white plastic balloons, which measured forty metres in length at one point. Being in constant movement, the organic forms kept changing. It was a different way of looking at art.

The Congress was an experiment in socialisation, an example of how communal work, vitality, intellectual reflection, and leisure can be used to promote dialogue, and of how imaginative proposals can be created to structure new models of behaviour. As José Miguel de Prada Poole said when referring to Instant City, the ICSID Congress in Eivissa was proof that ‘utopia is possible.’


Thursday 21 June, 7:30pm
Round table
Utopia is Possible. ICSID. Eivissa, 1971
With José Díaz Cuyás, Daniel Giralt-Miracle and Teresa Grandas
MACBA Auditorium. Free admission. Limited seating.

Monday 16 July, 7:30 pm
Special guided tour
With commentary by Daniel Giralt-Miracle and Teresa Grandas
(exclusive to the Friends of MACBA)
Museum galleries. Limited places.

Autumn 2012
Workshop and action with architecture students to build a fragment of Instant City
Museum spaces
Daily guided tours
(included in the admission fee)

Exhibition organised by MACBA and curated by Daniel Giralt-Miracle and Teresa Grandas

Weekdays 11–7:30pm

(25 June–24 September 11–8 pm)

Saturdays, 10–8pm
Sundays & public holiday, 10–3pm

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
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