Welcome night walkers,
This year we crossed the railway to light up the neighbourhood of Ses Cases Noves. The adjective «noves» – new – which gives name to this area was chosen two centuries ago. So, from a modern perspective, these place has already become something quotidian. Changes in villages, houses, jobs, or uses given to certain spaces are the main topic of this edition of Contrallum, with ses Cases Noves as patrimonial framework.
Giving value to the present is a way to honour our memory, and understanding the past allows us to give value to our tangible and intangible heritage.
With our eyes fixed upon time, then, we hope you enjoy this walk in the dark, but full of light.
The first reference made to ‘sa Farinera’ dates back to 1893, when the physician Antoni Alomar I Jaume (Sineu, 1852-1919) owned a factory of schnapps and a factory of “harinas a vapor por una piedra”. In the beginning of the twentieth century the building was a flour mill and a sawmill. The functioning of the flour mill remained in operation until the end of the 1980s. The popular name of the building is «sa Farinera de can Gual».
In order to remember the origins of this building, we can observe a sieve – a tool the peasantry used to separate grain and flour from the dirt they might have – and flour, one of our food “treasures”. It is essential to value everything related to the farming, picking, and processing of wheat for their importance in our diet and history: the Mediterranean trilogy – wheat, vines, and olive. Unfortunately, many of these buildings don’t catch our attention always because of the industrialisation of the transformation process, among other reasons.
In one of the slopes of this wide and deep space, which connects the centre of the village with ses Cases Noves neighbourhood, known as “es Comellar”, we find this artificial cave which seems to be a columbarium – a funerary construction with small niches on its walls where urns were placed, traditionally built during Roman times.
This was subject of study between 2014 and 2018. It is also known that the site where the cave is located was once a stone quarry. The cave has had several uses throughout the ages, for instance, as a pigpen until the 1960s.
Thus, now we are in an ancestral site, both for its age and function. For this reason, we wanted to illuminate sa Cova d’en Gaspar and its surroundings like the ancient Elysium, the underworld in Greek and Roman mythologies, which was reserved for the virtuous souls. Everyone has a virtuous soul which is lovely remembered and missed, and to them is dedicated this installation, especially to Jeroni.
In 1934, the philologist Francesc de Borja Moll (Ciutadella, 1903 – Palma, 1991) published Technical Vocabulary of The Windmills in The Balearic Islands, a detailed study on the construction, functioning and vocabulary related to these mechanisms for grinding grain. Among the list of informers there is the man who was the las miller of this mill, Master Gaspar Coll i Real (Sineu, 1868-1947). For this reason, in the study there are thirteen nomenclatures typical from Sineu collected: mitjana, càbria, ànima, batitó, etc.
Just as these words have fallen into disuse or changed in meaning, the function of this mill has also changed. With the industrialisation of the production of some foods, it has become easier to eat more processed products, favouring the production of easily accessible foods that in some way affect our health.
The Mediterranean diet has been largely replaced by fast food and packaged foods. In the past, we used to be able to buy flour, grains and other foods by weight depending on what we really needed. Over the years we have gotten used to buying food wrapped in plastic as if it came out of the trees in this way.
That is why are asking ourselves how far this plasticised network will go in our daily lives.
An important part of Cases Noves was and still is a spread-out neighbourhood, which entails a significant distance between the houses in the large surface it occupies. In 1863 the name “Calle Contornos Casas Nuevas” was established in the nomenclator to refer to this spread-out sight, and later adapted to Catalan in 1978.
This street is – or was – a space for neighbourhood, friendship, company, to have some fresh air, where children gathered every day to play together. Imagination collectivises; thus it was the protagonist bringing laughter, fights, races, scraped knees… we want to blur an image which has been lost with the passing of time: children’s games in the street. Because how many of us has not spent hours of our leisure time in the street playing with our neighbours and friends? Now, cars have taken these spaces making the coexistence more difficult. A change which should make us reflect on what we prioritise.
The origins of Ses Cases Noves and Son Palanca neighbourhoods are established in the property Sa Torre de Can Font (before en Vallfogó i na Gelaberta), between the road to Santa Margalida and the road to Llubí, made in the 16th and 17th centuries. At the point between the stables and the land there is a way that links the Llubí and Santa Margalida roads and, until the construction of the bypass of the road from Inca to Manacor, there was the main access gate to the property.
In the past, these properties were the core of the community life, a production unit which made fed many people and allowed them to live on. Who doesn’t appreciate a hot soup dish? The warmth of broth and home are comforting. However, nowadays life in these properties is in constant decline; they are surviving dimly like the light of these candles.
Since 1987 this is the naming of this street, which goes from the mill of s’Oguera to the mill of en Jordà or en Nepto, active until 1936. Nearby them, there are the ones d’en Carrió or de can Torres, d’en Ros or d’en Guillemet (currently de’n Pau) and des Comte or can Mates, which disappeared.
But we want to highlight another typical element of the Balearic peasant farmer and country life: the safreig. This artificial construction made of stone or concrete is used to collect water from a ditch, a well, or rainwater in order to irrigate the orchards.
These have been replaced progressively by swimming pools, which have become luxury elements with the passing of time, allowing us to have a “beach at home” but making disproportionate use of such a precious and scarce commodity as water. Thanks to the different irrigation systems, our orchards offer us a wide range of fruits and vegetables. All this is a gift and a miracle of nature.
What has not disappeared, however, from our fields are the watering cans, which pours water respectfully and brings the countryside and nature closer to our balconies, gardens and porches.
These two semi-detached houses have a framed space that corresponds to the width in front of each of them: the porch. In this case, they have an arbour, being part of the house. Under this porch many household and leisure activities were made: food handling, sewing, getting some fresh air…
This space allows us to illuminate two things at once: the vine arbour and the porch, but also allows us to pay homage to Bacchus and the world of grape and wine, which has been present on our island since time immemorial and which is present in all of our meals.
*Listen to this fragment of “Vi de la terra”, from the album El Lladre de les taronges (Nou Romancer).
Not too far from here, in 1878, a conflict among neighbours took place for one of them narrowed the street “to the point that before even carts could drive through it, which is impossible now”. The City Council intervened there by refining and aligning that part of the road.
At the corners of these streets, we can see a few drip edge flashing to protect the pavement from being scraped by the wheels —formerly of carts and now of the cars. These elements pass unnoticed to our daily sight, and they are well integrated, as well as we have gotten used to getting in our cars up to the front of our doorway. The function of these flashings was to protect the walls of our houses, but nowadays, do we protect our homes, nature, and the air we breathe?
In the 18th century this street was named “Carrer de ses Cases Noves”. It should be noted that the street is one destre wide (a Majorcan measure unit, equivalent to 4.21m), that the different plots are six destres deep, and that the width of the façade is 1, 2, 3 or 4 destres wide. This fact gives the street a certain homogeneity, which is its main characteristic.
Focusing on its name, and by extension, the name of the whole neighbourhood, we wanted to play a Scrabble game in the collaboration with the students of CEIP Rodamilans. We’ve played with words related to the household, not only related to its everyday items, but also to the essence of itself, the people living in it. Old words written by children in a street of “new houses”.
In 1863, along with the normalisation of the official nomenclator in Spanish, what had been known as the “street which leads from the village of Sineu to Muro and Sta. Margalida” was changed to “Calle de Santa Margarita”. This name was kept until 1987, when it was normalised as “Carretera de Santa Margalida”.
This street and the train tracks were connected and at the same separated the neighbourhood of Ses Cases Noves from the centre of the village. Somehow, this separation has reinforced the feeling of belonging in the neighbourhood.
Thus, we suggest this a dynamic presentation, a journey back intime through these pictures, many of them of the entrances and exists of our village. A look into the ways which connected us with other villages in times when for many “the whole world” were their surroundings.
*Project by the artist Blanca Alonso – @blanca.alonso.vidal
*Pictures lent by Massay Fotografia, Joan Vanrell, Arxiu Municipal i Cine-1.
“Camp de’n Morera” was a field nearby the train tracks in “sa Rota des capellà real”. It was not until the eighties that this field was urbanised in order to build an industrial area.
This square – whose well was built in 1931 by the owner Mn Bartomeu Real i Munar (Sineu 1893-1955) and which is preserved nowadays – was named as “Plaça dels Donants de Sang” and a referring sculpture was placed in 1991 – a work by the artist Joan Ramis “Sineu” Garcia (Manacor, 1965).
Deep into these veins and arteries of music, dance and lights, we wanted to show how Majorcan people have been feeling during this “successful” summer, but which, in some cases, has deprived us of indulging in our own island due to the saturation which has been suffered in many areas in Mallorca.
It is true that tourism is one of the main blood vessels of our economy, but when the veins and arteries get stuck, blood cannot circulate normally, and our body is suffocated, and it fades. Thus, let’s take care of our body, in this case, of Majorca, and let’s show it this love with a more responsible and paused kind of tourism, giving rise to a good cohabitation for all of us anywhere.
*Musicians: Núria Adrover López and Benjamí Salom Miró
*Dance: Mariona Jaume Camos, Mar Pérez Garau and Maya Triay Sarasa
*Lights: Jaume Vidal Fortesa