Jose Vaaliña develops the programme “The Kinèctic Dream”

One of the basic tools of Visual Lab, where the twelve acts of dining are developed, is Kinect, a movement detector permitting interaction with a computer without any physical contact; it works using only audio, video and infrared depth sensors. Jose Vaaliña, the RocaLab  I.T. sound technician and head technician at Visual Lab, has developed the programme “the kinèctic dream”, an exclusive application for el somni (the dream) which will detect the hand movements of customers and waiters at the table where the dishes are.

Jose Vaaliña who in the photo shows how Kinect works, affirms that this will be the year of kinetic animation. This technology was invented in 2005, but Kinect didn’t come onto the market as a peripheral for Microsoft domestic consoles until November 2010, allowing video game control with just body movements. In 2012, it made its appearance as a PC peripheral and now the developers have had access to models that have allowed them to progress beyond games. Today, Kinect already has uses beyond games, such as scanning objects for 3D models, architecture and industry, security, capturing movement without special clothing, commerce and fashion.

There are two Kinects for the dinner, with which Vaaliña will activate audio and video events, according to the presence of the diners detected with the reality sensors. Jose Vaaliña explains that “the sensation will be real”, but he didn’t want to reveal what they will be doing, nor what will be on view nor what sensations they intend to produce. The I.T. professional warns that “you can only interact with a dream when you have a lucid dream” and that “the kinèctic dream” governing the Kinects will play a fundamental role.

The exclusive programme for el somni (the dream) has various parts, the most common being the virtual interaction areas situated at the tables, above the plate, so it can detect when hands are there and activate the programmed events. Each Kinect will be able to control and detect six pairs of hands –the hands of the diners–, as well as those of the waiters who are serving the dinner.

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Sketches of mermaids and beauty by Sergi Espada

We present you with a set of five illustrations by the artist Sergi Espada, a character animation, design and modelling specialist.These five pieces form part of the studies and sketches produced prior to rendering the animations using a computer.

The first one is a study of the movement of the Mermaid under the sea. It is simple and possesses great stylistic beauty, particularly through the way it captures the elegance of the movements of the mermaid under water.



moviment sirena dibuix

It is very interesting to discover how many hours he has dedicated to studying mermaids. Yes. The mermaid Hannah. No, not Daryl Hannah, the star of 1, 2, 3… Splash /(Splash (1984). He has watched lots of videos of Hannah Fraser, a professional mermaid whom Franc Aleu introduced him to.


animacions sirena


Next we see the study of a relaxing spring scene: Astrid and the 2 Hesperides play without a care in the world. Nothing worries them because they have attained a state of happiness.


Astrid i Hespèrides relaxades primavera


Sergi Espada has studies of David and Venus making love in a number of positions, with the aim of working out which is the most natural.”Sometimes, it’s not completely realistic, but the posture is agreeable to the camera”, acknowledges Sergi, who is also responsible for modelling and animating Michelangelo’s David, the sculptural masterpiece on display at the Galleria dell’Accademia, in Florence.


Estudis bellesa David i Venus

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Josep Roca talks to Raül Bobet, high up in Pallars Jussà

Raül Bobet conversa amb Josep Roca.

Raül Bobet conversa amb Josep Roca.

Josep: Raül, here we are, in a privileged place and a really peaceful setting, where I am overcome by an underlying need to ask you questions and to have an open conversation about you, about who you are and what you do. Why do you do what you do? And how? To start off, I’d like to propose something about your background, to suggest that what you do is linked to your family, that your overwhelming vitality could in a sense be fuelled by an ever-present memory. On this note, I’d like to outline your reality: you come from a family of farmers who worked from dawn to dusk.

Raül: Just like all the others.

Josep: What others?

Raül: Oh! Well, I mean all the families that have survived, or at least, say, the smaller ones. The ones that have survived are pretty much all like this. I think all humans are searching for peace and that here is a privilege, isn’t it? It is a privilege to enjoy landscapes like these, to have the chance to go somewhere you’ve liked since you were a kid. And then, because you know these places well, you are able to add on top a certain je ne sais quoi  by way of method and experience, which is extremely important in terms of freshness and aroma precursors, not only for grapes and the wines they are used to produce, but also, as you know full well, for many other things beside. This is the hallmark of a gentle approach. A cold place like this requires this sort of method. There are inherent risks, frontiers that cannot be crossed, because then you land yourself in trouble. But it gives you scope to dream and to do big, or even infinite things.

Josep: But we are at the limits. You seek out the limits.

Raül: There are limits, which in the case of wine, have to do with varieties, latitude, altitude, and often also affect the orientations you work with. But you can find limits anywhere, can’t you? That is to say that it’s not an easy synthesis. But the limits here are identifiable. In fact, the snow is practically a stone’s throw away and you can do really interesting things here, provided you bear in mind that nature is going to teach you a lesson from time to time. That’s when, at the very least, you have to try to defend yourself.

Josep: Mother nature is always the boss, but the human factor has a role to play too. In this instance, I can see a very strong link between your work and your personality, or even, I’d go as far to say, your dual personalities rolled into one. On this note, I’d like it if you could expand on this constant duality in your life, which is made up of a mixture, a correlation of different elements, which sometimes blend together, while on other occasions they seem to be in conflict. Sometimes it’s as if you were split into two parts: your roots and your knowledge. Has your father’s hardworking example left a big imprint on you? Why do you work so hard?

Raül (laughing): No doubt it has left an imprint. I think cultural factors are important and especially here in Catalonia, it’s really tough. I think it’s something that affects a lot of people. Not only those from farming backgrounds – there are a lot of hardworking, industrious people out there. We’ve had to struggle here. The poor are poor in part because of the climate and landscape. It’s not like we have an abundance of water or particularly fertile soil, and I think this has had a particularly strong role in shaping people’s characters. Cultural aspects leave a lasting mark. There are two ways you can react. Either you can fight against it and leave, flee and try to cut your ties, although I don’t know if you’re ever really set free. Or you can embrace it, which is something that I think you can see even in many Catalan executives who come from farming backgrounds, they never lose touch with these roots, so to speak. I don’t think it’s a question of why I work so hard or why I like having so many irons in the fire, or whether sometimes there’s no need… need is always relative, it depends on you. Me, I don’t need much. Maybe sometimes I needn’t do so much, like many others besides, I guess. But it’s not about that. It’s about wanting to feel alive If you have ideas swimming around your head, then you can’t exactly hold them back, because that’s the way we are and part of life, of the way we conceive life, is to be here, only withdrawn from the action. The epitome of this comes in a sort of meditation, like through tao and zen . But on the other hand, you have to reconcile this with everything to do with the hand nature has dealt you, the opportunities you’ve had, the places you’ve worked, the people you’ve met, all your baggage, everything that is there bubbling under the surface. If I have different tools at my disposal, if I want to do things and have these experiences, then why shouldn’t I make the most of that? It’s not all about you; I don’t only work for myself; in part, sometimes I feel as if I were on some sort of mission.

Josep: You have something constantly tugging at you inside you?

Raül: Yes. Maybe. But I don’t know if I’m conscious of it.

Josep: Is it conscious or unconscious?

Raül: I think it’s unconscious, but it’s a sort of refusal to ever settle for doing something just well enough. You want more, and at the end of the year…

Josep: You react?

Raül: You react, yeah! You react, and you give it everything.

Josep: And you like that process.

Raül: Yes, I like that struggle. In fact, it’s what keeps me alive.

Josep: That’s the case for you and a lot of people, but it also has to do with your particular sense of conscience.

Raül: Yes. Your team is hugely important. In any project of a certain magnitude, your team is absolutely vital, alongside your family, who are very often the ones there to help and support you.

Josep: Do you think your constant struggle and drive to improve, which probably shapes your aura of intensity, your demanding nature and constant vitality, also has to do with a need to keep proving something to yourself? Or can it be boiled down to the spirit of discovery?

Raül: I’d say no.

Josep: Is it about having the ability and talent to broaden your horizons and break new ground?

Raül: I think it’s like this: the phase when you want to prove yourself is a very logical one, and is a key part of everyone’s development, but there comes a time, or an age, let’s say, when you don’t have much left to prove to yourself. I think it stems rather from being grateful for what’s in your reach, and for your team… Ultimately, why not make the most of your hands, or your mind, or your friends, acquaintances and possessions to create something? Then, deep down there is also an issue of national and local identity. We have the urge to do things locally, on our turf, over here in Pallars Jussà. I challenge anyone to not fall in love up here! In other words, I think that if you can, then why not do something? Especially because there are so many people who have the talent but, because of their circumstances, are unable to do what they want. If you have the means, I think that makes a difference, and I think it’s being very ungrateful if you don’t try to create jobs and build something, to make things happen here in Pallars. I think that, in a sense, each of us has the duty to do things. It may be unconscious, but that’s what drives me on.

Josep: When you’re lucky enough to be able to study where and what you wanted and you’ve devoured everything you’ve been taught, how does that leave you feeling? This sort of dialogue with education, with your academic side, with the urge to find answers to your questions, all the way from when you were a child up to the present day. What’s your experience been like? What do you think?

Raül: More than anything, I feel grateful for all my education and experiences. For the people who have helped me, without whom what I do would have been completely unfeasible in many ways. First comes this gratitude, and then what I see is a progression. I see no difference between the dream I have now and the one I had when I was a rather rebellious kid. Often, you want the same things now as you did before, only you express it differently. This yearning to overcome this sense of dissatisfaction, to discover things, is a sort of progression.

Josep: A struggle of sorts.

Raül: Yes. They have the same roots. Exactly, the roots are the same.

Josep: These roots go very deep.

Raül: Yes, very deep indeed. The struggle never ends and maybe, even if I don’t realise it… maybe I can’t fathom my life without that struggle. Yes…. I think that if there were some sort of trouble or something happened, whatever the circumstances, my mind is geared up for a hard struggle. No doubt about it! Yes! Now that’s a different type of education.

Josep: And this, that ability to… gear up for the struggle, it also spurs you on to live life intensely. It’s like a double-edged sword: it can be seen from the perspective of unrest, but also as a drive for happiness. A willingness to take on the challenges that come your way: to say “I’m ready”.

Raül: That’s right, but there is also a danger. I mean, there’s a risk of undervaluing yourself, and turning the leitmotif of your life into struggling for struggling’s sake isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing. I think that you try to work on the part of you that… to accept yourself the way you are and be more humble. That can be an advantage. In and of itself it means nothing, but if you embrace who you are, I think it can be a great source of satisfaction, because it means you can accept your nature and develop it. Some people develop in one way and some in others – I have my own path. But yes, that struggle is a constant in my life. There are times in life when the going gets tough and you need to struggle and rebuild to find happiness. When you’re a kid, you ask yourself big questions about existence, transcendence, spirituality, about why things are formulated one way or another, about social contradictions… And then as you get older, you ask the same questions, only expressed differently. Why can’t that also be the case for wine sometimes?

Josep: Speaking of which, we’d better get onto wine now.

Raül: Right (laughing).

Josep: You can say that again!  Let’s get cracking, then.

Josep: Your limits have taken you to a place that doesn’t look suitable for wine making. Or at least not on the surface. What is this all about, Raül? What do we have here?

Raül: Well, it may not look like it, but it is actually really well designed, so that you don’t end up drudging away just any old how. We use fermentation tanks made out of stone, although they mustn’t contain any calcium, or else the wine would absorb it. Tanks like these have been around for ages – monks from the Order of St John used them in the 12th century. Everything we do up here already, including the gravity calculations, already existed. Everything I’ve told you about using open fermentation so you know what’s going on, which is now the latest rage, like we have here in the kitchen, was already present here. All that stuff about a 1:1 ratio, about height and breadth, about extraction in red wines… No, we humans often take credit for inventing things that already existed. That’s what we have here, among other things.

Josep: And what’s your take on this? What can you say about a farmer’s son with a PhD from the University of California, Davis, who has studied so much and is now, in a manner of speaking, looking back and seeing that all this has something to say for itself?

Raül: There are different ways of looking at it. There is always one big risk involved: you could exploit it as a marketing gimmick, which would be a very superficial outlook. We have eight fermentation tanks here, and all have one key feature, for better or worse: the lack of yeast. Any yeasts contained are native. Secondly, the stones used aren’t incidental. These silicates contain certain trace elements, which produces a particular extraction. This comes about owing to the surrounding elements, whether lichens or something else, and to the composition of the stone itself. This means that every tank produces a particular flavour, with slightly different nuances. Well, that’s one difference. Now, to once again go back to the issue of roots, there is another aspect that is extremely difficult to pin down. It has to do with a place that lies just around the corner, by an old hermitage, where the profusion of stones has left a deep imprint on the surrounding nature. In part, I was drawn here because I was looking for somewhere full of energy and peace. Which is fine, but once you’re here, you have to apply yourself. That’s just the way it is. Again, it’s about struggling on – you realise it must have taken a lot of time and effort for people to build things up here. They must have done it through trial and error. There must be a reason why things up here have been done this way. What I’ve done is to add on top some pieces of knowledge, like knowing to do the pumping over using truncated cone-shaped gratings. Or by covering the tanks in a certain way. But, that aside, the biggest surprise on my part has been how people have taken to these wines. In fact, I can remember doing tastings with you once or twice. People come back for more, don’t they? For better or worse, all wines have a soul. And their dimensions are perfect for experimentation.

Josep: Wine is also a symbol of the struggle we were talking about, right from the very beginning, when you have to choose the variety. I can also picture it being a bit of a struggle when you start pruning, taking on the plant, so to speak.

Raül: Yes. When you are in extreme locations, you have to adapt to nature. In this regard, of course up here you have to be very attentive, because you can go from wet springs to hot, dry summers and then back to it being cold and wet again when it comes to the harvest. All that lends itself to the way I do things, which is to have a somewhat heterogeneous approach to both the grapes and the wine making process, trying to produce the maximum number of colours and striving to make it turn out as close as possible to my original idea, to my vision. That’s a big part of the way I am.

Josep: And what is your vision?

Raül: First of all, we are all influenced by a concept of each wine, and behind each wine is a dish. Then, there is also a certain idea of freshness. Of course, being up here, that freshness is added too by the nature around me. My vision is that when you try a wine from these parts, you should at the same time get a taste of the landscapes around here – in other words, undergrowth, wild mushrooms, minerals. All this comes together and leaves a mark, which means sometimes…

Josep: And there certainly is a lot of stone around here.

Raül: When you make wine with stone… I think it leaves its imprint more in terms of the texture than as pure expression or aroma, which is something more volatile and, what’s more, is always changing.

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The Latvian Radio Choir record the music for Act 10 of El somni in Torroella de Montgrí

El Cor de Lituània a Sant Genís.

Recording  Vivancos’ Rèquiem at Sant Genís parish church in Torroella de Montgrí. Photo by ©Tono Folguera

The Sant Genís parish church in Torroella de Montgrí (Girona) was the setting for a recording of Requiem, by Bernat Vivancos, by the famous Latvian Radio Choir, regarded as one of the best chamber choirs in the world. Vivancos is the musical director of the Escolania de Montserrat boys’ choir and his Requiem is the soundtrack for Act 10 of El somni: Mercy / Death.

The Sant Genís church is the usual venue for the Torroella de Montgrí Music Festival, one of the most important festivals out there, especially as regards classical music.

In the last act but two the death bells toll: the body of Adonis, draped in veils, lies motionless on the marble, after it has been unable to survive its own attack. The air is filled with the smell of piety, the aroma of incense, and the flowers are wilting.

Accompanied by the cello of Pau Codina, the harmonious voices of the choir from Latvia, who experiment with traditional song, provide musical accompaniment for the pain of this transcendental act. Taking part in the recording team, led by the project director Franc Aleu and Bernat Vivancos, were the producer Aixalà, the scriptwriter Jo Sol, and Neu Records, responsible for the audio recording. The recording also enjoyed the material and logistical support of the Juventudes Musicales de Torroella de Montgrí.

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“El somni” launches “Barcelona Cards”


“El somni” is the first of 250 Barcelona Cards we are publishing. They will be the image, the icon of this great project, the dream. It is not the first card in a deck of playing cards, it is the first in a set of concepts, an invitation to think, to reflect.

The 250 Barcelona Cards have been created by Franc Aleu and the illustrator Peret. It is they that must set the tempo, provide the central idea of this intense dream, this exhilarating opera in 12 acts with a prelude.

Barcelona City Council, with a clear ambition to go further, to move towards a prosperous and culturally enriching future, is using these cards as a vehicle to enhance Barcelona’s position in the world as a symbol of commitment to the culture of innovation, stimulating thoughts, ideas, commitments and realities, always at the forefront.

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The Palau de la Música holds the presentation of “El somni”

Presentació el somni al Palau de la Música de Barcelona.

Josep Roca, Joan Roca, Jordi Roca, Jaume Roures and Franc Aleu, at Barcelona’s Palau de la Música.

On Friday 22 February Barcelona’s Palau de la Música was the venue for the public presentation of El somni . Among those present were the audiovisual creator Franc Aleu, the three Roca brothers – Joan, Josep and Jordi – from El Celler de Can Roca, and the producer Jaume Roures, from Mediapro. Roures presented the project as one of the great dreams of Franc Aleu and an example of the creativity of El Celler de Can Roca.

Joan Roca recognised that El somni is a bold project in keeping with the nonconformist approach of El Celler de Can Roca, one that helps them to explore the limits of gastronomic creativity. His brother Josep believes that this project lets them “explore the limits of the capacity to feel, the physical and psychological limits of the capacity to receive stimuli while eating”. For the youngest of the brothers, it has made this a “magic moment” for El Celler.

And for Franc Aleu, the real creator of this “opera in 12 courses and banquet in 12 acts”, it is the most glorious creative moment he has ever experienced.


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“El somni” at the Gastronomic Forum

Tres germans_bosc2_bis

Jordi, Josep & Joan Roca by David Ruano

The Roca brothers – Joan, Josep and Jordi – were the main figures at the highest-attended event at the Fòrum Gastronòmic Girona 2013, on Sunday 24 February: the gastronomic presentation of El somni. Their talk, the “Emotional Revolution”, was the centrepiece of the El somni presentation in the main hall of Girona’s conference centre, the Palau de Congressos, to the world of gourmet food, gathered there to learn all about it.

Expectations were high. From the moment the three Roca brothers appeared in the hall, full to bursting, they were received with the unbridled enthusiasm usually reserved for rock stars on stage. Because the motto of this all-embracing work says it all: “An opera in 12 courses, a banquet in 12 acts.” A GastrOpera!

The gastronomic presentation of this work, directed by Franc Aleu, was one of the parts of this opera in 12 courses that had aroused the most interest. The Roca brothers offered some explanations for the choice of each course thought up for the twelve acts and the prelude, and the wines selected by Josep. On the subject of wine Josep warned he could not say anything until his brothers had made their final decision on the courses: “you have to have tried them, although some have already been chosen”. In fact, on our website it is already possible to consult the courses Joan and Jordi are planning and the wines Josep has thought of to accompany them.

The brothers stressed this is a dream inspired by François Vatel and the emotions he strove to conjure up with his banquets, and Richard Wagner with his operas. They recognised how moved and excited they were when the project started to take off.

Josep Roca took the opportunity to talk about the possibilities of interaction between El somni and the Temporada Alta, one of Europe’s major autumn stage festivals.

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Wolfgang Mitterer puts the music to war



The celebrated Austrian composer and musician Wolfgang Mitterer, a reference when it comes to electronic and conceptual music, has spent several days in Girona and Barcelona to finalise the instrumental arrangements for the work he has composed for El somni. He brought his musical score for robots for War, Act 9 of El somni. And, after contact with the “Pollywog robots” in Girona, together with Carlos Fesser, and the organ at Barcelona’s Palau de la Música, he has decided to revise his score. So he is going to prepare a new robotic base, together with Fesser. He was recorded playing the monumental organ at the Palau de la Música and those notes will be incorporated into the electronic base and added to the sound of the “Pollywogs“. And, while the chords of Mitterer’s composition are played, the poem Warcant, written by the thinker and poet Rafael Argullol, will be recited.

During his visit, Franc Aleu accompanied Mitterer to El Celler de Can Roca, where he was able to try goose royale with a blood orange and beetroot sauce, the bloody dish for Act 9, War . Serving this dish is a performance, in which the waiters serve part of the dish, representing blood, with pipettes that bombard it in blood red. The result is suggestive, with an eloquent finale. What remains of the food on the plate evokes a painting that it would not be out of place to title “the disasters of war”. Referring to the destruction, Wolfgang Mitterer reflected on beauty: “By destroying beauty, a new beauty is created.”

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