Human Towers: the Catalan heartbeat
Castells or Human Towers are over 200 hundred years of Catalan tradition; constructions of people of all ages and genders built in local festivals at many towns and villages all over Catalonia. The goal is to construct and deconstruct different kind of structures; depending on the difficulty, punctuation and style. Yet castells go beyond competition.
In 2010 they were declared World Heritage of Humanity: “Human towers are recognised by Catalan people as an integral part of their cultural identity, transmitted from generation from generation and providing community members a sense of continuity, social cohesion and solidarity” – Unesco.
The purpose of this photoessay is to show the strength of protagonists; the balance of its constructions; the courage of the elderly and the little ones; the good sense that surrounds the whole human towers world. As well as the Catalan culture and who the Catalan people are; the passion and emotion of engaged in this ancient culture and how it has adapted and manifested within contemporary culture. Yet beyond the Castells and Catalans is humanity in its essence.
Therefore, castells belong to everyone. The nature of this Catalan cultural tradition relies on strength, balance, courage and good sense, combined with a mixture of tradition and modernity, effort and beauty, feeling of belonging and social integration. In fact, can human beings construct something so grand without these values?
We cannot understand this unique artistic and cultural manifestation without relating it with the current moment that the region of Catalonia is undergoing right now. A majority of the Catalan population is claiming for the right to vote in order to decide their own future; the castells passion, effort and strength are perfect to understand the essence of this phenomenon in Catalonia. Actually if a new country wants to be constructed nowadays it needs to be done through strength, balance, courage and good sense: castells represent right now the Catalan heartbeat.
Joan was born in the Catalan city of Tarragona. He studied English and Journalism at URV University and is currently living in Barcelona. Joan founded the production company, Filma-t Produccions, where he produces photo and video journalism. Joan is a working freelance photographer for the American news agency Polaris Images, where he publishes his photojournalism work.
Joan’s work has been published in numerous European magazines. He has also exhibited some of his work relating to the Castells; his big passion, both in a human and in a photographical way.