FIELD TRIP – January 22nd, 2-6pm. Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal

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We are pleased to announce our first event in 2017: On invitation of FRAGMENTA, Berlin-based German artists Sonya Schönberger and Christof Zwiener have chosen to investigate and have a critical look at the ferry terminal of Cirkewwa, which is the only connection between the islands of Malta and Gozo. The central hall of the waiting area has become the chosen location for the artists’ site-specific interventions. This space, situated between departure and arrival, and thus equipped with a certain “tristesse”, provides a place that activates a transition, but naturally also carries with it a functionality such as can be found all over the world. The artists’ works incorporate the functionality of the space in a critical way and present ephemeral work which picks out as its central theme the relationship between citizen and traveller.
As part of their 3-week residency in Gharb, Gozo (supported by Valletta2018), the interventions by Sonya Schönberger and Christof Zwiener will be presented in form of a FRAGMENTA-event entitled “Field Trip” on Sunday, January 22nd, between 2 and 6PM.



FRAGMENTA is open to all public and free of charge. FRAGMENTA is supported by Valletta 2018 – European Capital of Culture



Sonya Schönberger’s artistic works are usually personal and invite the viewer to enter a realm that allows reflections and confronts the individual with itself. With long term projects she puts herself on a very intimate search for traces.
www.sonyaschoenberger.de

One of the central motives in Christof Zwiener’s artistic work is the visualisation of the invisible, the easily overlooked parts of our perceptual world. Ephemeral and complex installations of thin yarn or the deciphering of historical traces within public space – both have the same intellectual origin in his work and repeatedly ask the question of how far our perception can go.
www.christofzwiener.de

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MEMENTO MORI – recap

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A tower with a plank facing outwards …

John is confused.

John is on holiday in Malta, and on this glorious sunny October Sunday afternoon, he goes to the popular sandy beach of Ghajn Tuffieha.

Suddenly, he spots the tower – his curiosity walks him to the cliff edge, overlooking the neighbouring Ghajn Tuffieha bay. In front of the Ghajn Tuffieha watchtower, a beautiful young woman approaches John and invites him to have a look inside. John startles – it looks as if an invisible man with a white (visible) hand was strangling her. Yet, her smile is reassuring. This is not a funny religious sect; it is likely to be a contemporary art exhibition.

“Hand-necklace”/ “Choker”: a sculptural object which can be considered jewellery, in the terms of “practical/functional” wearable sculpture.

Indeed, upon entering the tower, John meets the artist Aaron Bezzina, who is wearing a T-Shirt with the words “PUNCH ME IN THE FACE”, which John wisely ignores.

Behind John, there is a panel with information about Terror Management Theory (TMT): the theory proposes a basic psychological conflict that results from having a desire to live, but realizing that death is inevitable. This conflict produces terror, and this terror is then managed by embracing cultural values, or symbolic systems that act to provide life with meaning and value. It is too much to read, John concludes, but he swears he is going to google it when back home.

John looks up – a steep staircase made of glass and metal leads to the upper floor of the tower. From here, a 4m long wooden plank protrudes outwards, like an invitation. John steps on the wood. He hesitates. He does not know what it is … was somebody walking the plank before him? Is this for real?

2016_10_fragmenta_mementomori_aaron_picbettina_02Walking and jumping would inevitably result in his demise, or severe injury. This cannot not a physically interactive work … what’s the point?

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Aaron Bezzina describes his work as “anti-interactive” artworks.

A woman jokingly suggests to jump – John looks down on the viewers outside of the tower. His belly is having a visceral reaction to the height, but when he turns around, the glass staircase amplifies the feeling he just had. A second woman approaches John, another hand choking her neck.

John starts to see the reminders of death and mortality everywhere – is there an invisible hand choking him as well? Might he at any moment die? All of a sudden, he feels uncomfortable.

Going down the steps, he sees another sculptural object he had not seen before: a hammer hanging upside down, with the lower part in shape of a crucifix. This Cruci-Hammer glistens eerily in the sun. Aaron explains that it was influenced by a documentary about Earnest Becker’s book ‘The Denial of Death’ and researchers attempted to test his theory. In an experiment, subjects were instructed to hang a crucifix to a wall. The task required them to use the same crucifix as a hammer (watch documentary at 52:10)

Walking out of the tower, the cliffs have turned from a beautiful setting into just another death reminder in John’s head… he is experiencing the feeling of having swallowed a big question mark.

In the meantime, artist Aaron Bezzina, very friendly behind his violent T-Shirt, stresses that his work carries humor and irony, “diluting the tensions of possible serious issues in play, with reference and questioning the role of the art object with regards to its impact on political/religious issues…”

2016_10_fragmenta_mementomori_aaron_picbettina_48The question really is: Can art actually make a difference? Or can culture and its artefacts, and by extension art only provide fleeting meaning in an insecure world? Can art change something?

For John, it certainly changed something – he just does not quite know exactly, what. Waving good-bye to John, we chuckle. It is good to be confused.

And we try once again to evaluate our own position in this very instant…. over and over again.


Aaron Bezzina’s first solo exhibition entitled “MEMENTO MORI: Hints Taken From Terror Management Theory” was held at Ghajn Tuffieha Tower, on October 23rd.

Special thanks to Valletta 2018 and GAIA Foundation for supporting the event!

 

 

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Memento Mori: Hints Taken From Terror Management Theory

For the upcoming FRAGMENTA-event on October 23rd, Maltese artist Aaron Bezzina will present new objects and a site-specific installation entitled “Memento Mori: Hints Taken From Terror Management Theory”.
All presented works take their point of departure from Terror Management Theory (TMT), which claims that culture and art provide meaning in an insecure world by being a manifestation of concerns with our own mortality.
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Photo Credit: Still from “Flight From Death”, a documentary about “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker. Directed and produced by Patrick Shen.

As usual, FRAGMENTA is open to all public and free of charge.
This event is made possible through generous support from the Gaia Foundation Malta.
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TIME:

Sunday October 23rd, from 2 to 6pm

LOCATION:

Ghajn Tuffieha Tower, Il-Mellieha

Location on Google Maps

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Aaron Bezzina (b. 1991) has earned a BA (Hons.) in Fine Art at the MCAST Institute of Art & Design in 2014 and has just completed an MFA in Digital Arts at the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences, University of Malta. Bezzina has been exhibiting work both locally and overseas for the past four years, and in 2015 he has recently been awarded a residency by the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg. Although, Bezzina’s works tend to incline towards the sculptural, he is also interested in other media which encourage meaning making and further associative actions.

Link to  FACEBOOK EVENT

 

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Untitled (Ix-Xemx) – recap

It all started with a story: “All day long the little boy worked hard in field and barn and shed; but every day, when the work was done, there came an hour which was all his own…”

In the story (dated 1903) I am referring to, a poor boy sees Golden Windows every day from his room, and imagines the rich people living behind these glistening windows…

The announcement for the FRAGMENTA-event UNTITLED (Ix-Xemx) was clear and ominous at the same time: On October 2nd, the sun will set at 18:44. The sun, the main protagonist of this event, was to be celebrated in a site specific installation by artist Sandra Banthorpe. The event was announced to take place between 5:15 pm and 6:45pm only. This set the tone for an event born from the idea of story of the Golden Windows, which brought together a childhood story, illegal boat houses, a beautiful bay and Sandras installation-building capacities.

Visitors were invited to come to St. Thomas Bay in Marsascala, known to be a popular local beach in the south of Malta, with multiple constructs of (illegally built) boat houses, that have merged by now so much into the landscape and the unconscious mindset of Maltese that they have become part of the normal landscape. Looking out from St Thomas Bay, one sees clear waters, a fantastic blue sky, in the far distance to the left the ruins of a formerly richly decorated Jerma Palace Hotel, and in the far right, a left-over bunker construction from the Second World War – in short, a typical Maltese scenery. Behind you, you’d hear Maltese picnic and BBQ sounds, the tunes of the Ice-Cream Truck, and shouting children… it all feels, smells and looks like summer holidays.

This setting proved to be the perfect match for planning and setting up the event, that was in a challenging way a culmination of the FRAGMENTA “rule”: you have to be at the right place in the right moment. If not, you’ll miss the event. If you get your coordinates aligned you will discover the treasure: with you, as visitor, the story of the Golden Windows became a metaphor for discovery, growing up, learning to live in the world we live in, and learning to observe.

Did you know that Sunset on Mars was blue?

Visitors were invited to discover the story of the Golden windows by getting together in pairs of two and unrolling/ rolling back the story printed on another very long roll of fax paper, reading it as it rolled by the eyes, following the little boy move through his day full of discoveries, through their own body movements. They read: “but as he faced West and looked across the valley in front of him, behind him the rays of the rising sun struck the window panes of his own home, bursting into a dazzling golden light…”.

Looking up, the visitors saw the sun reflected by something in the distance, which then caught their attention: in fact, the sun was reflecting in a golden ominous, crystal-shape structure, seemingly floating next to the bunker in the distance.

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As the sun got closer to the horizon, the glistening got stronger, presenting a poetic experience which cannot be described in words, bringing the Golden Windows into St Thomas Bay. As the sun went down, the golden reflection vanished – the afterimage in our retina kept holding on to the visual energy of the installation for a bit longer, before heading home in darkness.

2016_fragmenta_xemx_sandra_picbettina_11Sandra, a known sun- and beauty-aficionada, describes her impetus as such: “As a visually poetic reminder of the inevitable, this installation also prompts us to remember that we can(not) take everything for granted. Things are often not what they first appear. In contrast to this and to the sun’s irrefutable predictability, we are then ‘slapped in the face’ by its ability to dazzle and seduce, rendering the average with a new lease of life.”

So off you go, friends and neighbors, to go and look for your own Golden Windows – believe me, you can see them almost every day. It depends on your point of view… GO!


 

On Sunday, October 2nd, the sun set at 18:44, while Civil Twilight ended at 19:08.

Visitors arriving late found a romantic pontoon – and the lingering atmosphere of some ungraspable discovery.

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Untitled (Ix-Xemx) – on OCT 2nd 5-7pm

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 15.11.11.pngDUE TO UNFAVORABLE WEATHER REPORTS THE EVENT HAS MOVED FROM SEP 25TH TO SUNDAY OCTOBER 2ND!

The next FRAGMENTA-event is going to take place at St. Thomas Bay in Marsascala on Sunday, October 2nd.
Artist Sandra Banthorpe invites visitors to the poetic site-specific installation “UNTITLED (Ix-Xemx)”. According to calculations, the sun will set at 18.44 after a day-duration of 11h and 56min length.

BEST VIEWING TIME: 17:30 to 18:30

UNTITLES (ix-xemx) is based on a story which accompanied Sandra during her childhood, but which even more becomes a metaphor for discovery, growing up, learning to live in the world we live in, and learning to observe. there is also an element of a larger quest in life – but we would not want to say too much before the event.

Sandra describes her impetus as such: “As a visually poetic reminder of the inevitable, this installation also prompts us to remember that we can(not) take everything for granted. Things are often not what they first appear. In contrast to this and to the sun’s irrefutable predictability, we are then ‘slapped in the face’ by its ability to dazzle and seduce, rendering the average with a new lease of life.”
UNTITLED (Ix- Xemx) is a time-and site-specific installation scheduled to happen at the moment the works protagonist, the Setting Sun, makes its dramatic daily exit. As a visually poetic reminder of the inevitable it also prompts us to remember that we can(not) take everything for granted. Things are often not what they first appear.
In contrast to this and The Suns irrefutable predictability we are then ‘slapped in the face’ by its ability to dazzle and seduce, rendering the average with a new lease of life.
To then go (sometimes accidentally) and discover this for yourself is to realise the intention of the work itself …. BUT to never get greedy, and remember as long as the earth turns, there’ll always be a tomorrow…

As usual, FRAGMENTA is open to all public and free of charge.
FRAGMENTA is supported by Valletta 2018 – European Capital of Culture

Malta-born Sandra Banthorpe lives primarily in Malta where she currently works as practising artist, As well as an accomplished Set Decorator on internationally acclaimed feature films and stills work.
Having studied at Chelsea college of art and at Camberwell Art college, her work maintains a distinct element of sculptural being, be it in the re-appropriation of the everyday, or the conjuring of a past life; her work inevitably culminates in a consciously collected harmony.
Sandra also ran an independent gallery space, 2c Albert rd (uk) for many years and is the Creative Director of the Kinemastik international film Short Festival & its childrens film festival ‘Little Rock People’ .
Sandra is a sun aficionado.

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Leave me alone I am an ODZ hiding – Recap

On April 24th 2016, FRAGMENTA was holding a 1-day-event with two guided tours around the topic of “Outside Development Zones” with German artist Erik Göngrich.
What does art have to say about Outside Developent Zones, does art have a say at all in political issues?

Marsascala North Policy MapIt all had started with a demonstration FRAGMENTA attended in Valletta in 2015, organized by Front Harsien ODZ and various NGOs, to protest against the development at Zonqor point, which according to the local plan for Marsaskala should form part of a national park. Zonqor Point is part of Marsascala, land which was sold to the private construction group Sadeen in order to develop a private “university” which does not exist as such. At issue during the protest were not only the actual locality at Zonqor point, but also Maltese development zones in general, Outside Development Zones (ODZ), some public lies, profit-making, government “liberties”, the sell-out of public land to private investors, environmental issues and the striving for sustainable development.

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FRAGMENTA invited German artist and architect Erik Göngrich to develop a piece of art around the location of Zonqor Point. Erik has for years examined our notions of urbanity today and their extent of reflection on our urban reality. FRAGMENTA thought that he was the one and only one who could ask the question: “What the heck is an Outside Development Zone?”

In collaboration with FRAGMENTA, Erik researched and developed a walking tour with site-specific elements to implement during the tour.

For the FRAGMENTA- event on April 24th, Erik took participants for a walk around the supposed area of the national park / contested university building ground, in order to discuss the “zone-ness” of this Outside Development Zone together with the artist. The tour started on a wide road which was created in the 70s from rubble dumped here during the construction of Dock 6 of the Grand Harbour.

Campers are and were building their more or less temporary shelters along that road, while hunters were passing by occasionally. Erik was suggesting a sculptural view of the informal qualities of the public sphere. Then we turned into a field road and walked up towards Zonqor Village. Here, the highlight of Erik’s sculptural vision of landscape was his suggestion of the sculpture of a kohlrabi (in Maltese: ġidra) on a plinth. Coincidentally, this would give a powerful but subtle message to the viewers, as “kemm ġidra” also means “how stupid you are” in Maltese – funny coincidences in the process of art creation…

Erik had produced a series of drawings and prints for the occasion, which were successively handed out to the participants of the tour. These were used during the guided tour as mobile billboard and were handed out to the audience to take away as little booklets. Erik’s drawing of the Maltese coast line made visible the extensive use and transformation of this area throughout the last century visible – impossible to combine this thus used territory with the image of “pristine and untouched” nature.

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When asked about his approach to drawing, Erik states: “Drawings are a tool to summarize different experiences and information on one paper. Making a drawing is making a statement. It is sometimes more real than a photo and it “talks” more than a lecture. I love the German word “bezeichnen” as a description: pointing out something and drawing on something at the same time.”

Erik took the visitors on a physical and mental tour through different terrains and questions: What are we developing or not in Development Zones? What can be done and not done in an Outside Development zone? Can you build, or camp, or make fires, or hunt? What would change if you turned this area into a national park? Who does it belong to, now, and in the future? Can you bring motorized vehicles? (Obviously, everyone was driving around here…) What is a natural park, and what is a national park, and what is the difference?

The terminology of the Outside Development Zone, which is very unique to Malta and does not exist in any other country, was examined: Is it a field, is it nature, is it untouched environment? Or is it an area not for building? What would be an alternative to building (a university complex for example) – what could be examples of sustainable development? (Meaning and including the fact that also sustainable development is still a sort of development).

Referring to previous work of his in national parks in Marseille and in Germany, Erik pointed out differences and similarities in dealing with issues. By contrasting the problematic of Zonqor Point with international counterparts, the subject matter became very open and wide and invited participants to formulate their own ideas and wishes for the territory they had just walked on and looked at. The physical interaction – meaning, we were WALKING AND STANDING on the same grounds we were discussing – with the environment fueled the discussion.

Thanks to all the participants, thanks to Erik Göngrich for a wonderful piece, thanks to V18 for supporting FRAGMENTA and special thanks to Charlot Cassar and FRONT HARSIEN ODZ for help in getting in-depth information.

For more information:

http:::www.maltatoday.com.mt:printversion:63682:#.VzxT3GZn97c

Planned nature park at Zonqor to be expanded by 44,000 square metres timesofmalta.com

House approves ‘American University’ property motion after night-long debate – timesofmalta.com

Details emerge on proposed government contract with Sadeed Group for new university – timesofmalta.com

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Leave me alone I am an OUTSIDE DEVELOPMENT ZONE hiding – April 24th

FRAGMENTA is holding a 1-day-event with 2 guided tours around “Outside Development Zones” with German artist Erik Göngrich.
You might ask: Outside of what?
Outside of city structures would mean that one finds oneself immediately in nature or immersed in agricultural areas. In such a case, one is in a field, but not in a zone… Visitors are invited to a specific presentation on site, and to participate at a tour to some of these “fields” and discuss them and their zone-ness together with the artist.

For the event, Erik Göngrich will present 2 guided tours lasting each about 45-60 minutes.

Starting times of the performative tours:
15h
17h

Everybody is welcome. The tour is free of charge. The walk is very easy, but better bring good walking shoes if possible.

Link to event on FACEBOOK

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