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La Mola lighthouse prepares to don veneer of cultural centre

foto ple setembre 2016At the Formentera Council's October plenary session, convened earlier today, the entire house backed a deal between the Balearic port authority (APB) and the Council on la Mola's trademark lighthouse, “el far de la Mola”. The plan, besides doting the monument with public facilities, envisions adding cultural space to the lighthouse's list of uses.

As culture and patrimony councillor Susana Labrador explained, the site will contain an interpretative centre for Formentera lighthouses, a museographic exhibition and a hall for culturally-themed, small-scale functions, which the administration speculates may spill over onto an outdoor patio. Currently the Council is drafting plans to remodel the building in its entirety. The project has a tentative pricetag of €600,000 and could be undertaken as soon as autumn 2017. The partnership, initially framed for 15 years, can be renewed to last another five. APB will retain control over parts of the lighthouse like the utilities room and its upper chambers to ensure continued functioning.

Unanimous consent was also received by the proposed rezoning for a municipal morgue, planned for the lot adjacent the Sant Francesc cemetery. Land councillor Alejandra Ferrer pointed out that the site's rezoning will make it possible to move ahead with a call for bids on the project. The councillor, who referred to a forthcoming pick of a winning bidder, assured that “the start of construction and the much-needed building itself“ are not far off. All parties in the plenary backed the measure and agreed on its importance for the island.

Ferry landing
Another proposal backed by the entire house dealt with the agreement to transfer the docking point for Eivissa-bound boats from Formentera. Council president Jaume Ferrer described the proposal as “making official our council's deal with the other administrations in relocating the Formentera boat landing at the Eivissa port, basing it on the terms of the September 28 board meeting with APB”.

Ferrer took the opportunity to salute the other branches of the public administration — Eivissa Council, Govern Balear, APB — as well as civil society organisations like On Sempre for defending the wishes of the people of Formentera.

Plenary members pledged to continue working from a position of unity “to make sure that the new harbour station furnishes all of the necessary services” for Formentera's residents and visitors.

Also adopted was a joint proposal put forth by Gent x Formentera and PSOE to overhaul a law on urban property rentals. The goal, explained Alejandra Ferrer, is to set limits and establish the definition of seasonal tourist rentals as “any dwelling that a property owner cedes, either directly or indirectly and on a repeated basis, to a third-party, in exchange for financial returns and for a period of 30 days or less”. If the criteria are met at least twice in one year, the property shall be subject to the regulations on tourist-use rentals. Properly documented temporary rentals for labourers are excluded from the measure.

Land and tourism
Appearing before plenary members, land and tourism councillor Ferrer detailed her departments' areas of action, invoking “a smart use of our natural resources and surroundings” and aspirations of “breaking with the pack in terms of quality”. She stressed the need to educate visitors about Formentera and push them on social and environmental responsibility.

Ferrer also reviewed the recent launch of the Council's new inspection unit. On urbanism she pointed to a continued push to apply and enforce the island's code of “subsidiary regulations”. Speaking on housing, the land councillor highlighted multiparty support —between Formentera, the office of housing in Balearics and the Govern in Palma— for a report documenting  local needs aimed at recalibrating help money and reimagining moves forward.

Local commerce and artisan crafts also featured heavily among the councillor's plans, and Ferrer described a brand of tourism “that centres on product and market diversification”. She underscored, lastly, the importance of “improving the pre- and post-summer season”.

Formentera to host country's first hands-on underwater metals course

foto curs metallsEarlier today in the conference hall of the CiF Office of Culture, patrimony councillor Susana Labrador took part in a presentation regarding the island's first practical course on subaquatic metals. The course —which will include hands-on work at a shipwreck site— will also be the first of its kind in Spain. For four days 16 experts in conservation and restoration will gather on Formentera to learn from the experiences of two high-profile experts in the field, Jean-Bernard Memet and Victòria Folgueira, about the latest techniques in treating metal objects in underwater environments.

The councillor of patrimony highlighted the importance of supporting initiatives like this one, saying “here on Formentera, it furthers the conservation of our heritage”. The course, both theory-based and practical, is organised by the Formentera Council and the Balearic institute of maritime archaeology (IBEAM), with additional support from the archaeological museum of Eivissa and Formentera and Trasmapi transport company. Undersea archaeologist Javier Rodríguez was a supporter of the event.

One year ago the Formentera Council and IBEAM signed a deal to draw up an underwater archaeological map that would not only help get the word out about the island's subaquatic patrimony, but also help conserve it. The five-year agreement sets out €2,000 in funding for researchers during each cycle. The archaeological map that is produced will ultimately become property of the Formentera Council.

Council continues bid to support scientific research

MIRADOR PREMSAThe Formentera Council’s Office of Culture and Patrimony announced today the start of its 2016 call for applications for its €6,000 research grant. Applications can come from any area of the arts, humanities or social sciences.

“The Council's renewed backing of this measure, now in its fifth straight year, is a sign of the administration's firm support for scientific research and production”, explained Susana Labrador, culture and patrimony councillor of the CiF. Conditions of eligibility have been posted on BOIB, the online bulletin of the Balearic Islands, and interested parties have until October 14 to apply. At the close of the application period a panel will evaluate proposals for scientific interest, coherence and methodology and based on researchers' curriculum vitae.

Winning projects from years past include the 2012 study “De qui venim: anàlisi psicocultural de la gent gran a Formentera” by Josep Maria Garcia-Borés, the first grant recipient. In 2013, Vicent Ferrer Mayans and Raquel Guasch Ferrer were awarded the grant for “Estudi ecotoponímic de les véndes de gregal de l’illa de Formentera”. The following year, in 2014, the winner was Maria Bofill Martínez, for her project “L’estudi de les comunitats prehistòriques de Formentera a partir de l’anàlisi funcional dels artefactes lítics i ossis”. Last year, Dr Francesca Tugores Truyol won the grant for her study “Formentera vista pels viatgers”.

Justice and happiness pay Pitiüses a visit in 'Distancia siete minutos' tragicomedy

distancia 7 minutos 2The Formentera Council's Office of Culture wishes to announce a performance of Distancia siete minutos next Saturday October 1 at 9.00pm in the municipal cinema (Sala de Cultura). The stage production, a tragicomedy, can also be seen in Santa Eulària des Riu's Palau de Congressos on Sunday October 2. Produced by Titzina Teatre, promoted under the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports' Platea programme and included in Formentera's l'Illa a Escena series, Distancia deals with happiness, father-son relationships and justice.

The production showcases the astounding expressive abilities of writers and directors Pako Merino and Diego Lorca. In an effort to ensure the rapt attention of audience members, the two men remain alone on stage throughout the production, joined only by a single prop. A humorous tone at the beginning slowly gives way to bitterness as we follow the story of Félix, a judge who, marked by his father's authoritative influence, finds emotional interaction and enjoying life's simple pleasures difficult. When a termite infestation forces him to relocate temporarily to his father's home, conflict ensues. And so, perhaps, does hope. Meanwhile, the audience witnesses as Félix's father, individuals involved in past court cases and even a fumigator all make appearances the production. All parts are acted by Pako Merino, who manages to distinguish between the different characters with the tiniest changes of language, dress and body movement.

The production, for adult audiences and performed in Spanish, runs 90 minutes. Tickets for the Formentera performance, 12 euros, are available at the cinema box office 30 minutes before showtime. Tickets for the Santa Eulària des Riu show are 13 euros when purchased in advance at Holidays stores on carrer Sant Jaume in Santa Eulària des Riu or at Holy Sport on avinguda d'Ignasi Wallis, in Eivissa. Tickets sold at the Palau de Congressos box office the day of the event are 15 euros.

On the Formentera performing arts beat

volen volen 4The Formentera Council's Office of Culture has chosen today to unveil this season's programme of performing arts at the municipal cinema (Sala de Cultura). According to CiF culture councillor Susana Labrador, the calendar of musical and stage productions comes on the back of the positive response received by last year's programme dubbed l'Illa a Escena (“the island on stage”). This year's shows get under way in October, Labrador explained, with brand new proposals aimed at raising the cultural bar for all audiences. L'Illa a Escena 2016, she said, contains “elements of every style and artistic expression” and includes works of opera, theatre, children's shows and musicals.

In October, the Titzina Teatro company will share with Formentera audiences its most recent work, Distancia siete minutos, an emotional work of dramatic writing and stage interpretation by Pako Merino and Diego Lorca. The critically-acclaimed production can be seen Saturday October 1 in the Sala de Cultura, Formentera's municipal cinema, and then in the Palau de Congressos in Sant Eulària des Riu the following day. The production comes to the island under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture's Platea programme.

Formentera Viu l'Òpera is a performing arts series that brings opera —in the case of El cas dels 3 porquets, Mozart arias— to children. With three singers and musical accompaniment by keyboards, El cas dels 3 porquets is a part-opera, part-fable production sung and spoken in Catalan. It also provides young ones in the audience a chance to actively participate. Part of the Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics's Talent IB push, the show will be presented October 9 at 6.00pm.

The Formentera Viu l'Òpera programme continues in November with a screening of Los Tres Tenores. Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and Josep Carreras star in this magical musical production set in the Roman hot springs of Caracalla. Los Tres Tenores can be seen Saturday November 5 at 8.00pm in the municipal cinema (Sala de Cultura).

Formentera Viu l'Òpera, created to get the word out about this particular branch of the performing arts, draws from an extremely representative selection of opera and projects them in high-definition before audiences at the municipal cinema (Sala de Cultura).

On Universal Children's Day one of the most celebrated clowns from the Catalan stage brings his latest production, La gran A...ventura [història d'un Pallasso], to Formentera audiences. With a professional career that spans more than thirty years, Marcel Gros never fails to snag smiles from viewers of this “multicomical and minimedia” production, tailor-made precisely for absolutely all audiences. It can be seen Saturday November 12 at 5.30pm in the Sala de Cultura and Sunday November 13 in Santa Eulària des Riu's Palau de Congressos. La gran A...ventura comes to Formentera as part of the Platea programme.

Back on Formentera on November 19 is Cap·pela's new musical, Feel'N'Soul Vint anys de veus. Golden soul hits from Stevie Wonder, Jackson Five, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Van Morrison and more are recast here by one of the world's great vocal groups. Tenderness, elegance and a healthy dose of groove is in the air on this production, completely and entirely a cappella.

On December 10, as part of the Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics's Talent IB run, the Sala de Cultura welcomes Gran Buffet, a production by Diabéticas acelerades. This show, the latest by the Majorcan theatre group, tells the story of triplet sisters who, getting on in years, run one of Palma's most blue-collar bars. The old Palma neighbourhood is a symbol of the pluralistic and globalised society we inhabit today, where people of all castes, races, languages and colours are brought together. A musical comedy for all audiences, races, sexual identities and religions.

La Mostra d'espectacles Infantils is an effort, jointly organised with Sa Xerxa, to bring performing arts productions to local children. On Sunday December, kids will be treated to the Mariantonia Oliver dance company's presentation of Volen Volen. The show, which blends dance, circus arts and teatro de objetos, is conceived for audiences three and up.

On December 28 the Minorcans of Dosnoudosmil will arrive on the island ready to present Formentera theatregoers with Quina pescada, a fun-loving show in which keen attention to detail permeates the story, stage design and lighting.

Promoting culture
L'Illa a Escena receives support from Talent IB, a programme of the Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics, and from Platea, an initiative of Spain's Ministry of Culture which focuses on promoting the performing arts.

This kind of cultural programming is made possible thanks to Fundació Baleària, which, under a deal signed this year with the CiF, collaborates actively in putting together Formentera's cultural agenda.

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