For the last year or so, the rather central Plaça Porta de Santa Catalina in Palma de Mallorca has been in bad shape, but now all is seemingly sorted. Before the recent reforma was carried out, the square was in a bit of a disarray and not far from being an eye sore. Its centerpiece was a non-functioning fountain crowned with a phallic obelisk from the Franco period, bedecked with red paint from the anti-fascist protesters. There was also the strange art object of a garden shed with a tower tilted on its head, called Device to Root out Evil (1997), by Denis Oppenheim (USA, 1938). Plus there were a good number of parking spaces, mostly already taken when you were in urgent need for one. Plus there was a lot of dust and debris.
Now, after spending 1,571,500 Euros, equivalent to a massive 261,475,599 of the old Pesetas, I’m not sure that much has improved in the new Plaça Porta de Santa Catalina. Franco’s phallus has gone, yes. Some of the parking spaces have gone, too. A few of the old pine trees have also gone, with half a dozen young pine trees newly planted in their place. An old bit of city wall from the Moorish period was unearthed, and duly concreted over again. The garden shed is still there. There are two new sculptures of pigeons by omnipresent artist, Ben Jakober. There is still a lot of potential dust, due to the earthen surface of the square. There are two new petanca (boules) courts and a number of strangely shaped seating benches. The debris is absent as yet, but just wait. Where all the money has gone I could not tell you, and probably nobody else can either. Some of the funds are perhaps lining someone’s pockets, yet again, and this time round, Jaume Matas cannot be accused.
I am very annoyed about the continuous free spending habits of our Mallorcan politicians, be they of local, regional or national inclination. It is just abysmal. No effective cost controlling system appears to be in place, ever, or so one has to assume. Shame on you, people.
The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 31st, 2010. The time was 15:46:43.