Quondam video shot in La Soledad neighbourhood

Francesca Marti interviewing residents from La Soledad district in Palma de Mallorca for her Quondam video (filmed by Ricardo Blazquez)

The new Quondam video by Francesca Martí looks at how our personal stories continue to evolve, but how they are always affected by what came before. Plotting change over time in the Soledad neighbourhood of Palma in Mallorca, the video focuses on different generations from the largely migrant community. It reveals a sense of social inclusivity and how we build the concept of «home». Various people tell their stories about running a bakery in the district, or playing on the streets, or opening a restaurant. Residents who originally came from such places as Andalusia, Paraguay and Senegal talk about their dreams, their ambitions, their faith and their grandparents. This is how folklore is made.

«La Soledad is a small village on the outskirts of Palma,» says Fatima in the former warehouse, which now houses the gallery. «There were some businesses here, but then many people left the area, or they died. The building that was here before was a wine cellar. And underneath there was a subterranean tunnel which rumours said was used for storing bombs. It is also said there is a secret underground labyrinth below the church, but we don’t know exactly.»

Quondam also explores the cyclical nature of life. The video features imagery which turns and rotates, including scenes from Martí’s earlier videos Cocoon, Ma’at and Painting a Dream, projected on a large satellite dish. There is also footage of the round, stained-glass window in the church of the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, spinning hub-caps painted with graffiti from a former car-repair workshop, and the circular form of the large satellite dish found abandoned on the roof of the garage.

In this way, Quondam functions as a biography of Martí’s own video work from the past two decades (more fully explored in her recent 208-page book Passage and Presence), as well as a documentary about the making of the Quondam video itself. It includes filming the process of salvaging the actual satellite dish onto which the video is now projected.

«Quondam does not have a single message because it’s an abstraction of moments, the construction of lives, of how different people come together to make a neighbourhood,» says Martí. «The various residents explain fragments in the history of their personal lives, talking about the area. This is mixed with my own trajectory, of the people from many countries who have passed through previous performances I have recorded in my past videos. So the Quondam video is simply a selection of moments. It looks at how every moment from the past brings us to the present, and becomes a part of building our global life.»

Francesca Martí
Quondam, 2024
video: 9 minutes 28 seconds

La Soledad neighbourhood: Juan Bonin, Eva Muñoz, Carles Gispert, Soledad Vargas, Khadim, Maria Tamaño, Jorge David Torres Coronel, Margalida Mesquida, Fatima Muñoz.
Retrieving abandoned satellite dish, 2024. Church of the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. Painted hub-caps from the former garage.

Excerpts from videos by Francesca Martí:
Cocoon / Scream, 2008 (Ray Scott Pardue) – the Colombian-born, Kentucky-raised pop singer interpreting the idea of being trapped in a cocoon, followed by his energetic dance of freedom.
Planet of Fusions, 2012 (Bjorn Larsson Lindman) – the Swedish psychologist talks about how we view history and human achievement
Children, 2012(Egypt/Sudan) – showing the liberty, joy and open nature of children.
Painting a Dream – blue, green, yellow, 2009 (Matthew Mitcham) – the Australian Olympic gold medal diver playing the role of Droplet the elf, using his hands to «feel» and transform his environment.
Buddhist monk, 2012 (Sri Lanka) – rhythmic chanting to establish inner peace.
Ma’at, 2017 (Madeleine Trigg) – the English performer in the guise of the ancient Egyptian goddess of balance and justice, finding a path through chaos.
Mental Disorder, 2012 (Karina Holle) – the Dutch actress expressing the distortion between the soul and the mind, partly the result of today’s constant invasion of communication.

Video footage: Ricardo Blazquez, Johan Danielson. Editing: Martijn Lucas
Quondam© Francesca Martí, Mallorca 2024