Cultural Capital – the Santiago Pilgrimage

We move to the final panel of the Santiago triptych,

upon which I found myself drawn to

The Two Towers

on a distant hillside.

BeyondMoving through the city…

Crossingbeyond the dual carriageway,

into the peri-urban,

stone marking transitions.

Peri-UrbanityTrafficless I ascended.

RouteAn uncertain entrance.

Entrance Light dancing on the polished steel of hope.

SignageEngineering Culture

amongst steel beams and rods,

Bones watery inner belly exposed,


encasement in concrete

before facadification.

CladdingOld Distant Towers.

CityscapeSignal to the New.

Glimpses Glass and granite clad

organic forms


across the hillside.

Cultural Capital 4Baleen   The Two Towers                   drew                      me                              towards them.

Cultural Capital 3 Cultural Capital 2Twin TowersBefore I realised,

I had crossed the


ThresholdBroken shadows danced across the raw concrete.

Cut by ShadowsFalling shards.


the body


FallenDescending to another level,

traces of others



EmbellishedUnfinished displays.

RevealedHidden from site,

I found The Three Towers…


to the city


marked by

standing stone.

Standing StoneAnd thus my pilgrimage ended.

The Two Towers are part of The City of Culture of Galicia (Cidade Da Cultura de Galicia) which when I visited was a building site partially open to the public.  It became apparent, however, as I was ushered out by a workman, that the degree to which The Two Towers were open to the public was ambiguous ! 
The Two Towers are conceived as a memorial to architect John Hejduk (who designed them in 1992 for another project) but also function as a means of ventilating underground galleries and will act as a information centre.  The void between the towers is an exact inverted profile of one of them: so in a sense there are actually Three Towers.
The City of Culture Galicia was designed by architect Peter Eisenman in response to a design competition in 1999.  Based on overlaying a morphed ground plan of Medieval City and five main pilgrimage routes across the hillside of Mount Gaiás.  The City of Culture was conceived as comprising buildings for several major Galician cultural institutions.  It is a remarkable project in many respects, a modern assertion of confidence in Galician cultural identity which converses with the historic environment of Saniago de Compostela.
However, construction commenced in 2001, with a budget of 109 million Euros.  The project required another intervention in 2005 ’12 Actions to Make the Cidade da Cultura Transparent’ by architect Andrés Jaque to raise its awareness in the public consciousness. By 2011 400 million Euros had been spent on construction and in March 2013 work was stopped.    It is unclear as to whether all elements will actually be completed, and how well it will articulate with the Old City.
The standing stone encountered at the end of my journey was erected in 2006 to commemorate the opening of a new suburb, others can be found around the margins of the city.

Past Inspired Sculpture 6



perhaps one of the most controversial pieces of public sculpture in Scotland.

It was created by sculptor Tom Church and once stood at the foot of the

Wallace Monument,



Unveiled in 1997 by Nigel Tranter, the piece portrayed the figure of William Wallace, at whose feet was the head of the Governor of York.

Spirit of WallaceThe piece provoked a strong ‘marmite’ response, to the extent it was vandalised (the head of the Governor of York is still to be discovered !) on sufficient occasions to merit it being closed in a metal cage every night.

It would appear that those strong negative responses largely stemmed from the remarkable resemblance between the sculpture of William Wallace and the actor Mel Gibson in the 1995 movie Braveheart.

However, the likeness was in all probability in part derived from the circumstances of its production.  Following heart surgery, during recovery sculptor Tom Church, watched Braveheart, and was inspired to create the piece from 12 tons of sandstone.

Faded SignThe piece stood at the foot of the Wallace Monument for ten years before being removed in 2008.  It now resides as the center piece of a remarkable display at the sculptors house in Brechin which can be seen in an interview.

Bronze Hands

The sculpture ‘Freedom’, and its entanglement with other appropriations of historical figures in contemporary culture, is a remarkable example of the series of gaps between

‘historical reality’,

authenticity of representations of the past,


the scope of imagination inherent in all art forms.

Above all, however, it shows how an acute sense of the past can inspire an individuals creativity.


For more examples of Past Inspired Sculptures:

Past Inspired Sculpture 1

Past Inspired Sculpture 2

Past Inspired Sculpture 3

Past Inspired Sculpture 4

Past Inspired Sculpture 5