The aim of the project is that the river Besòs become an important element of connection between the fluvial, social, econòmic, natural ecosystems to bring more sustainability to the city of Barcelona, ceasing to be a natural border between city and its suburbs. 


The project show how the interaction between the city and the river, human being and nature, is recursive, in progress; in this concept of transformation, in which the shape of things changes, the water of the river as a mysterious, perpetual, primordial element, allows the mixing and fusion of parts apparently foreign to each other, acting as a binder and a place where build new relationships. The city and the river have become an organism, an ecosystem in itself showing the surprisingly large capacity of nature, to recombine evolving structures and processes, to be resilient, of enduring perturbations by the complexity of human impacts.

The study and exploration of the Besòs river is refined through collaborations with UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and the Urbanism Department at the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB/UPC). Scientific researchers have been studying the Besòs ecosystem and encountered a powerful bacterium that contributes to the destruction of toxic elements within its waters. This bacterium’s only other known home is the Mississippi River in the United States. The constant conversation and interaction with UAB’s scientists, who contributed to these findings and are currently studying its possible future applications, have been key to the strong scientific component of Duae’s artistic investigations. 


The project was developed in various phases with the support of different festivals, entities and curators. This aspect of sharing between these different agents, has meant that the project could be developed on several levels in order to make all the disciplines and languages harmoniously dialogue.

Curators: Virgilio Ferreira , Krzysztof Candrowicz,  Arianna Rinaldo.

Festival, Exhibition:

Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg,  

Espai Zero, Centro de Arte Contemporaneo Barcelona,

Biennal of Photography, Porto

Centre Civic Baro de Viver, Barcelona

Museo do Douro, Porto.



Besos: A Noble Ecosystem  is a multidisciplinary and partecipatory project, and an exchange of knowledge between art, ecology, science, that focusing on urban sustainability.

The project is part of the European Escape program promoted and developed by CICLO Platform of Photography (Portugal) and Triennial of Photography Hamburg. The 2-year program coordinated by Virgílio Ferreira, Krzysztof Candrowicz and Christian Barbe addresses ways in which artistic practice can foster discussion of sustainable cultures and environmental issues.


10 artists: Cláudio Reis, Constanze Flamme, DUAE Collective (Luna Coppola and Silvia Campidelli), Jayne Dyer, Lisa Hoffmann, Marco Caterini and Pawel Kowalski.


3 Workshops: Amsterdam (Unseen), Porto, Hamburg (Triennal of Photography Hamburg).

Supported by: Triennial of Photography HamburgBienal'19 Fotografia D' OportoCentre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona - Fabra i CoatsICUB Institut de Cultura Ayuntamiento de Barcelona - Generalitat de CatalunyaLFI-Leica Fotografie InternationalBienal Ciutat i Ciencia BarcelonaUAB Universidad Autonoma BarcelonaUPC Politecnico de Catalunya


A River Runs Through It. 

by Arianna Rinaldo


[...] 'Ecosystem’ is one of those well-known words we learn at school, referring to an interconnected network where biological elements share a balanced living environment; an interdependent community in which all components interact and influence each other. 


Duae Collective (Silvia Campidelli / Luna Coppola) has been exploring and studying the river Besòs and its surroundings for two years, investigating its natural, urban and social ecosystem: an ongoing artistic research that has created a vast archive of aspects of the river that refer to its history, its biology and its existence within the city environment. 


A river running through a city can reveal the secrets of nature’s laws to its inhabitants and create a link to the biological and organic flow of life that can be profoundly affected by humankind’s behaviour. 


The Besòs river was one of the most polluted in Europe during the 1970s and 1980s due to the intensive industrialisation of the Barcelona area. It has been the object of improvement projects and various city planning efforts but still needs to be experienced and become a more familiar component of the urban ecosystem it belongs to. [...] 

ART AND SCIENCE: Dehalogenimonas


Researchers from UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) have discovered a bacterium of the Dehalogenimonas genus in the Besòs river. This bacterium uses toxic organochlorine compounds as an energy source and transforms them into more biodegradable and less harmful products. This is the first time this bacterial genus has been found in Europe.


From sediments in the Besòs river and after years of research, scientists have obtained a stable bacterial culture and have demonstrated its capacity to transform some of the chlorated aliphatic hydrocarbons most commonly found in aquifers, such as 1,2-dichloroethane and 1,2-dichloropropane, into harmless products like ethylene and propylene, respectively.


The Dehalogenimonas genus was described relatively recently – in 2009 – and only two strains had previously been isolated in aquifers contaminated with chloroalkanes in Louisiana (United States). Although sequences of its genome have been identified in different places, such as the Arctic Ocean, the Baltic Sea, Canada, China, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Taiwan and the United States, this is the first time a Dehalogenimonas has been characterised and cultivated in Europe.


The researchers also used an analytical technique to determine the fractionation of the stable isotopes of one of these contaminants, demonstrating in situ that the bacteria contribute to the disappearance of the contaminants. This distinguishes the process from naturally occurring physicochemical ones such as the dilution of contaminants in rainwater, adsorption to organic matter or volatilisation.


The study, led by Ernest Marco-Urrea and published in Environmental Science & Technology, was conducted at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering and Department of Genetics and Microbiology) in collaboration with the University of Barcelona (Research Group in Applied Mineralogy and Fluid Geochemistry) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ (ISOBIO Department) in Leipzig (Germany).

Maps drawn by architecture student Maria Paola Marciano. 


The final section of the river Besòs, from the confluence of the river Congost in Montcada i Reixac, flows through a complex territory, characterised by a high population density and little continuity with the neighbouring natural systems. 

UPC (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya) MAPS

These maps are the result of a collaboration with students from the Urbanism Department at the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB) of UPC (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya), who have developed a detailed analysis of the urban surroundings of the river Besòs in the form of six 1:4000 scale maps.


These maps seek to re-interpret and highlight the singularities and the role of the built landscape, assessing the residential and industrial layers, the resources and equipment, the free spaces and the transportation hierarchy and its infrastructures. This contribution allows an understanding of the territory and helps establish intervention criteria to improve the quality of life in this urban environment. 


Six 1:4000 scale maps





Narrative Cartography

Original Draw, Pencil on Paper

This map is the result of our work methodology, which we call “Narrative Cartography”. It is a drawing that represents an oral narration. 

This map has been drawn by three people who are deeply knowledgeable of the river Besòs: the architect David Velasco Delgado, the anthropologist Irma Estrada and Irati Irulegi from the IDENSITAT collective. 







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