LLOC I MEMÒRIA (PLACE AND MEMORY)

Bel Maria Galmés

Places transcend us, converting illustrative testimonies of the collective memory. People arrive and leaves, and with them the memory, but something remains in the approaching generations, as a testimony of their step in this world that we know. Sometimes something unperturbed, non corrupted -as some artworks, literary texts and photographies1- sometimes remade, reused, retouched generation after generation becoming an assortment of superposed testimonies: the places. Any place is as it was, nor in the sky we can't see the same stars exactly that saw the ancients, although it's the same sky.  Even the untouched for the human hand are transformed by the course of time: There are not colours in the Greek temples, the wild olive trees grow between the stones of the talaiots. The rubble joins the nature. The ancient factory is today an exhibition room.

Places talk to us. The mountains and the trees talk to us,  the walls and grounds talk to us, they talk to us like something intangible that you can see in the air, that are the people's histories who crossed there.

 Siracusa cathedral

The ancient temple of Venus columns flutter between the Siracusa Cathedral walls, placed in the west of Sicily, a place where had been a continued worship since then. The Pyramids are erected at the plain of Gizeh, impassive testimonies of the current period of upheaval, The Afghanistan Buddhas aren't there enough, because somebody make them exploded. The places of worship became a paradigm of the staunch tenacity of every religion to remain in the memory, sometimes superimposing lot of times the testimony of one on another, otherwise wiping out previous testimonies

 Hagia Sophia, Isanbul

Places transcend us, it's true, but we have the power of build and destroy, modify and recover them. A way quite extended for the recuperations of built spaces are their reapplications, the changes of the use: old churches, convents, stately home, factories and others abandoned buildings turned in, in the previous prosperity period, in the booming of capitalism, in cultural centres. Spaces proliferate, that nowadays are difficult of keeping as in the infrastructure expense or in the will power absence and resources to make in cultural projects of first rate.

Maybe because of that it's time for us to stop and think about these spaces, to invite the art to reflect about the space that welcomes it, in a strict and wide sense. Is time to depart to something particular for holding the universal, because the idea of Lloc i Memòria connects all the spots in the world and reconciled person and environment.

So, the project “Lloc i Memòria” ('Place and memory') born bounded a particular place: the village of ses Salines, in the south of Mallorca, a place where the thread of the memory carry us, with intermittent, to beginnings such the pre-talayotic era. Nowadays we can found spaces where the memory beats what they were, some of them are cultural centres, as we say, like the old church or the old school. And, like this, others, public and privates, some of them empty and another reused: Ca ses Monges, an old theatre, an old storehouse, bars and houses. Two defense towers, nowadays inhabited, raising integrated in the actual aspect of the town. The pre-historical remains in the  outskirts, the Roman, hidden. Let's see what we can rescue of all of that and in which way

 

'Place and Memory' in Ses Salines

Lloc i Memòria ('Place and Memory') is a cultural event with annual character conceived as a platform for exchanging reflections around this ideas, giving special emphasis to the arts, and that's why the artists are invited to think about these points.

Although Ses Salines and its streets and places are the point of this first edition, that is going to be in July 2014, Lloc i Memòria ('Place and Memory') adhere to multiples practices in the art's world. Talking about memory in relation with a place implies a mandatory gaze to the main place, the town in this case, the exhibition place or street that accept the artistic purpose. In other hand, some artists work this concept by themselves, like Bleda and Rosa in their series Camps de Batalla ('Battlefields') or Orígens ('Origins'), where photographed, in each case, places where battles had taken place, or where ancestral humans remains have been found.

The event will consist of some exhibitions in municipal and privates spaces, some specific interventions in exhibitions spaces, streets and shop windows, some activities related with the Roman and pre-historical remains, some conferences, performances...everything around a celebratory day where, of course, it's going to be music and another performances.

In the exhibition area become specially relevant two main places in the Lloc i Memòria ('Place and Memory') concept. Both of them both will host exhibitions of longer duration. This places will be the Old Church, that actually is a cultural centre where it takes place, between other, exhibitions, and the old haystack from a house, around that the town was born as we know, nowadays turned in a rural hotel: the Hotel Can Bonico, this space this space is currently used for cultural activities.

The salt, very important in the town and the component who gives it the name, is the third pillar that configures the exhibition area. Every year an artist will be invited to work about this theme in a free way, with a space to expose his works.

 

Lloc i Memòria 2014. First Edition. Ses Salines

The subject of this first edition invites to look at the town with an artistic point of view, giving relevance things that sometimes stay ignorant, like the names of some streets, and rescuing from the memory old forgotten spaces, abandoned, and images of old urban physiognomy. At the same time, is giving space at every reflection about the term "place", related with the memory and the public space idea.

 

All the ideas will be articulated through 4 points:

-An specific intervention will be proposed in some of the streets with the name of cultural celebrities as philosophers (Plató, Ortega i Gasset, Ramon Llull, Tagore), or poets and writers (Homer, Unamuno, Maria Antonia Salvà, Juan Ramón Jiménez, etc), or people of the town

-Some spaces will be rescued for exhibitions areas or for interventions, as old houses and bar. The most emblematic bar is the old bar Can Boira, a bar with a barbershop, that is closed for more than 30 years.

-The physiognomy of the town have changed in the last 50 years, when the streets were aren't asphalted yet. With the idea of give visibility to this fact will be exposed or projected  old photographies in some places. Is for that,  from Lloc i Memoria ('Place and Memory') we promote the creation of a digital photographic collection and municipal that it will become an entity by itself and it will be always open for the citizens, who can contribute with photographies and interesting documents

-Archaeology is very important in town. Since the subject of this first edition is the public space the activity consists in giving visibility to the Roman camp situated under the foundation of the village center, this will be carried through by an archaeologist

 

In the Old Church ins going to be a collective exhibition of contemporary art around the religion, named Deu visions (Ten Visions), meanwhile in the Can Bonico room will be used in this edition for an exhibition around the salt, the guest artist this year is Horacio Sapere. For other exhibitions, some empty houses will be occupied, shop windows, and the Escoles Velles, public building nowadays multifunctional which houses the library and have some rooms where some activities are done in, but that can be used as exhibition rooms. This building is an important  space for the collective memory. It was an old school built during the Second Republic and for these classrooms have passed generations of ses Salines people.

In the same line, we find Ca ses Monges ('Nun's House'), which was too the first school. After that, it was the old medical centre, and the rehearsal studio of the Music Band, in the chapel, and actually is the kindergarten and Music school. In spite of be an important building, any activity can be realized in there

On the other hand, we also find important private spaces, but his paper in Lloc i Memòria would be subjected to the orders of them owners:

-Restaurant Es Teatre: old theatre where all the events were celebrated and bar Ca na Maria Vella, nowadays is a business at full capacity, it haven't much space for artistic interventions, but have a room at the top for exhibitions. The business, in his recent renovations have ben produced, in certain way, an act of recuperation of the memory that is expressed in the name and in old photographies that decorates the walls. It was, also, one of the two cinemas of the town, the Cine Recreativo, which has been recovered material

-Restaurant Sa Fusteria: as the previous one, this business restore his memory with the name of what that was (a carpentry), publishing a brochure with the story of the first owners, the carpenters. Besides, you can see a big photography of the first Music Band of the town inside.

-Bar Llum de Sal: It is a bar, and also the owner is dedicated to the salt business, packing and selling freshener salt with different spices. Is located in the old storehouse Can Capità, place of meeting of men of the town. It has the same structure as used to have

-Ca na Moreneta is one of the bars that has been opened more years without interruption. Is a bar specially for daytime frequented by people of all ages. It has an attached establishment, where you can access from the same bar: The Pub, renowned with this name because, for years, it was the only pub in the town. Nowadays, sometimes it is opened and stays closed most of the days, resisting to fall into the forget.

-Bar Orient, known as Can Creus, in 2014 celebrates the 60th anniversary. Recently, the daughter of the first owner renovate it, respecting the original physiognomy, it is a bar with a lot of charm and full of memories

The other bars and restaurants that organise the actual town physiognomy would be invited to participate into the event. We don't have other option: can we, in our culture, dissociate the idea of public life from the bar? Collector of memories to the future, container of an assortment of old memories, as the El último de la fila song said:

 

(...)  Barras de bar, vertederos de amor

            Os enseñé mi trocito peor

Retales de mi vida

(...)

The collective memory is configured since particular memories and the public space makes possible the exchange of singularities. The artists give visibility to the subtleties that connects something private and something public, the singular and the universal, people and space that inhabit, that pass. That is the reason because Lloc i memòria ('Place and Memory') is conceived from the art glance.



1
        Despite the idea that a work of art remains undisturbed never ceases to be a fallacy. The passage of time affects all things and pieces that come "unperturbed" - if they are not of diorite- it is because at some point have been restored, so there are already been affected, with pigments or materials of a different era, with specific criteria is also a different era ... The literary text also fails to participate in this contradiction, as we remembered Borges to “Pierre Menard, author of the Quixote" and, by extension, the photography.