Skip to main content

We don’t know what we’re sitting on

Pau Grau

We Valencians don’t know what we’re sitting on: if the Water Tribunal was anywhere else, the people would have turned it into a goldmine. We should advertise it, exploit it, publicise it, promote it. We should tout it to all the tourists, to those who come already, those who want to come and those who might just come. We should get everyone to come here to see this unique phenomenon, to attend a session, to listen to the trustees. We’ll make promotional videos and posters at the airports; we’ll pay for reports in the airplane travel magazines; we’ll put stands up at the travel trade shows all around the world. What the hell, we’ll even take the tribunal to the trade shows! And then we’ll sell special packages with all-inclusive transfer, hotel, paella and front-row seats at the tribunal on Thursdays, with a special VIP area with sangria on tap. We’ll make souvenir badges and fridge magnets, and cups, spoons, thimbles, corkscrews, keyrings, lighters, fans, T-shirts, bags and postcards. People will come to see the tribunal like they go to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, or the figures in the clock in Prague, or the Pope on his balcony. It will be a huge success.

It will be so successful that maybe we ought to improve the conditions so that people can listen to what is being said. We should install large public address systems so that everyone can hear better; and place huge screens so every moment can be scrutinised; maybe we should use subtitles, yes, to translate it into Spanish so that everyone can understand. And into English as well. Or maybe just Spanish would be enough. And then, of course, the lighting needs to be improved and the way it looks: a little bit of make-up, hairstyling, maybe some changes to the costumes wouldn’t go amiss, so that it isn’t so austere. And it could all be broadcast via streaming, live, and a GoPro camera could be installed in the sheriff’s cap. And it doesn’t only have to be on Thursdays, does it? Maybe we could have a session on Fridays, to take advantage of all the people who come for the weekend. And if there are no cases for the tribunal, we would just have to invent them: there are hundreds of actors who would give their right arm to earn a few pennies. But, it goes without saying, respecting the spirit of it. After all, this is the oldest court in Europe. You always have to respect tradition, because it is really important to achieve a balance between tradition and modernity, the past and the future.

Or maybe we could not do this. Maybe we could choose to do the right thing

We could ask a painter to reflect in his paintings the dignity of every gesture, every detail, every expression. We could let the brushstrokes of Antoni Miró capture the beauty of this secular liturgy, contemplate the irrigation channels which are now so ignored, and freeze in time a timeless institution.

There is no-one better than Miró to make an artistic icon out of the Valencian Water Tribunal.


More texts from Pau Grau regarding Antoni Miró

Other texts regarding Antoni Miró

Go to texts