Imħabba bl-Addoċċ

We are pleased to invite to a FRAGMENTA with Roxman Gatt on August 23rd from 7pm onwards, with a one-of performance at 8pm.

Roxman’s main inspiration for the upcoming event is fetishisation of objects and brands in a consumer capitalist society, epitomized in men’s love of cars: “I am aware that this car culture is popular in other countries, but I have always been fascinated by Maltese men and their obsession with their ‘Bejbi’ or ‘Angel’.”
The event evolves around sexuality, gender and consumption, and consists of video works, sound, sculpture and a live performance, which will take place in the public car park at Ta Qali, between Meridiana wineyards and the racetrack in front of MFCC.

Doors open at 7pm.
Performance will take place at 8pm sharp.
Afterwards, join us for video screenings and social gathering.


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Roxanne Gatt (b. 1989, Mosta, Malta), also known by the pseudonym Roxman Gatt, lives and works in London. The multidisciplinary artist’s work encompasses, text, painting, 3D, video, sound, photography, installation and performance. Roxman’s research explores sexuality, identity, women within popular culture contexts and consumption. Mundane aesthetics and the internet become both a tool and a trigger to produce work.
Roxman was awarded the Chris Garnham Prize (2015) as well as the Magnum Showcase Online Photography Award (2013). Recent exhibitions include: Homo Melitensis: An incomplete inventory in 19 Chapters, Malta Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Venice, IT, The Sacred 419, The Square Gallery, London, UK, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA, London and Bluecoat Liverpool (2016)

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

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From Purity to Perversion – July 12th

We are pleased to announce FRAGMENTA’s upcoming event:
“From Purity to Perversion” presents a kaleidoscopic and absurdist reconfiguration of the feminine. On invitation of FRAGMENTA, Charlie Cauchi playfully weaves together archival images, home-movie footage, personal and found artefacts,

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memorabilia, textures and sounds to explore notions of femininity on the island of Malta. Expect edible delights and tipple from the nipple.

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

 

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The event takes place at:

Valentine Hall
664 Triq il-Kbira San Guzepp
Hamrun HMR 09

(between Cafe ELIA and the shop “Shady Lady” on the main street, opposite main church)

TIME: WEDNESDAY July 12th, 7pm – 11.55pm

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Charlie Cauchi is currently working on a 3-year transmedia project, which forms part of the Valletta 2018 programme for Malta’s European Capital of Culture. Entitled “Latitude 36”, the project engages Maltese diaspora in different parts of the world. She has assisted Claire Nolan in the production of work for artists including: Peggy Shaw, Lois weaver and Liz Carr. She curated BornShorts Short Film Festival from 2012 to 2014 and has produced short films herself. Charlie holds both a BA and MA in Film Studies and is doctoral candidate within the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film at Queen Mary University of London. Her published work includes: ‘Descending the Staircase: From Purity to Perversion and Nowhere In Between’, Homo.Melitensis: Malta Pavilion (Mousse Publishing: Biennale Art, 2017); (World Film Locations: Malta (Intellect, 2015) and many others.

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Art in Public Space. A case study of FRAGMENTA Malta told in its own words

View original post on: http://interartive.org/2017/06/art-in-public-space-hutschek/

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(page from leaflet by Sonya Schönberger, distributed during Fragmenta event FIELD TRIP, January 2017)

The loudspeaker system of the ferry terminal announces in a solemn female voice: “There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown”.

Ferry users are slightly irritated. What happened to the soothing commercial spots about bathroom interiors?

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Public space is now speaking to you dear listener …

“What did I just see? What happened?”

John asks Holly, Clarissa asks Paul, or the other way round.

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Maybe this: A generous spreading of space and floating display … a doubling of seriousness and subtle irony … and a plethora of materials and its inherent meanings, playful ideas. A yellow glass bowl meets an ornate plate, meets a fake flower, meets a lamp holder stuck in vegetation, meets the mineral ground. The objects had all been assembled from thrift shops and flee markets during the artists’ stay in Malta, now placed on the dissection table of the sun. Exactly at that same spot – 450 years earlier than FRAGMENTA – this spot had been setting for the bloodiest fight between Ottomans and Maltese Knights during the Siege of Malta in 1565, a fact which in no way influenced the show. 

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Let’s talk about public space. Public space in cities is the network of streets, squares, and parks that constitutes and represents urban communities. In Malta, public space on the one hand is available to all and truly and fully public space: during festas or other celebrations, streets are turned into a continuous big living room, where all citizens meet and hang out. Sometimes, however, public space is misunderstood as “since it is public, part of it is mine and I can therefore claim this parking space/ this lot of land close to the beach/ this rock/ this cave/ this boathouse (you name it)”.

Faced with this dichotomy and ambiguity of interpretations regarding public space, FRAGMENTA was founded in 2013 as a platform to present contemporary art or other events in public or semi-public spaces on the Maltese Islands. As project space without physical space, FRAGMENTA’s mission is to offer experiences in form of events, which happen in different locations or settings in and around Malta, lasting a maximum of 24 hours, offering the public and random passers-by an opportunity to engage with art and some of the relevant, complex issues of our time.

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How do we move through public space? How does our perception work?

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Rules tell us how to behave: no naked bodies should be presented in public space. No boobies. No sexual intercourse. Swearing is to be kept low. No murder, no stealing, no insults. Rules by law, rules by religion, rules of good practice. The distance between bodies is to be respected except if you are in an elevator or an overcrowded bus or cue. No dogs at the beach. No bicycles in parks. No BBQ – well that one failed massively, we would say.

No parking, no parking, no parking; or else: you park we tow; you park you die; you park, we’ll throw eggs on your car.

Rules on this archipelago are there to be sometimes used, but mostly to be extended and to be bent, but rules are rules, and rules are especially valid if you believe they are valid. Rules determine the use of space.

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What if we reconsider this use, if we repurpose public space for something else, what if … ?

Did you know that Sunset on Mars was blue?

On another day, at another event, things 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…”

This storyline was the perfect starting point for an 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. Visitors witness more than perform the rite of sunset-worship, while FRAGMENTA is piggybacking on the natural occurrence of sunset. The event becomes the horizon itself.

Then again, another day, another event:

It started with the Old Testament, as many things did: “My sister, my spouse, is an enclosed garden, an enclosed garden, a fountain sealed up,” and while Hortus conclusus literally means “enclosed garden”, FRAGMENTA was not hiding but rather taking shelter in a cloister in Rabat. There was no unicorn in the FRAGMENTA-garden, but magic was still around: A real birds nest became manifest in a gryphon’s nest; the Cathedral of Siena was supported by a wooden pallet; Monks were caught surrounded by squirrels and fishing in the countryside on a detail of Agnolo Gaddi’s 14th century fresco; Simone Martini’s noble knight Guidoroccio da Fogliano was riding along the balustrades of the cloister, and other small surprises were tucked away in corners and niches, …

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La fantasia è un posto dove ci piove dentro. / The imagination is a place where it rains,” says Italo Calvino in his book Six Memos for the New Millenium (1988).

Surprises, love, violence, rules and anarchy overlap in the public spaces of such a small country like Malta, with an area of 316 square kilometers and a population of around 450,000, thus making it the most densely populated in the European union. Things we expect in this space are not always what they seem. This contested and precious space turns into an active participant, turning into a life-long learning center for us early-school-leavers, providing us with possibilities to voice, hear and shape opinions. Concurrent with statues and some questionable three-dimensional positions in public space, FRAGMENTA seeks to redefine not only what art, but what humans could do in such a space.

“In front of the Ghajn Tuffieha watchtower, a beautiful young woman approaches the visitor and invites him to have a look inside. He 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. Indeed, upon entering the tower, he meets the artist, who is wearing a T-Shirt with the words “PUNCH ME IN THE FACE”, which he wisely ignores.

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? Walking 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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Public space is when a private house becomes a camera obscura or when an artist is taking viewers on a walk where he talks about Outside Development Zones, and the connection between kohlrabi (ġidra) and political decisions.

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Who does public space belong to, now, or in a week, or in the future? Public space becomes activated when visitors experience a story under their own feet, when the things they read about in the news becomes part of the display they are looking at, or when they feel that they are being touched in an intimate, sensitive, emotional way. FRAGMENTA suggests acts of connection, acts of repurposing sections of public space for a brief moment, to use space in a different way. FRAGMENTA piggybacks on sunsets, ferry terminals, tourist locations and churches in order to benefit from an increase of audience members and welcomes those that are therefore highly confused, maybe even disturbed and annoyed. Symbolic justice towards arts elites. We thus become users but never owners of public space, inviting usership as a potentially powerful tool, as Stephen Wright suggests in his publication “Towards a Lexikon of Usership”.

“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.”

The 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?

Waving good-bye to you, we chuckle. It is good to be confused. Confusion can possibly create a first step towards a different perception, a vague awareness, a new usership, away from pure passive spectatorship.

And we try once again to evaluate our own position in this very instant…. over and over again. We use the country as our own map. 30_Y95A6673_A_fragmenta_web

VALLEY OF 1000 PLEASURES. Picture Samir Ramdani

PS: Of course, health and safety issues are not always adequately followed, but exhibitions are accessible and open to all visitors. Nobody has ever fallen off the rocks, which is a good thing, and everybody has so far left our events safe and sound – thinking of islands and other things.

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FIELD TRIP – A Fragmenta event at the Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal with artists Sonya Schönberger and Christof Zwiener

It is January, rainy and windy. On this Sunday afternoon, Keith and Molly arrive at the ferry terminal of Cirkewwa on the tip of Malta in order to board the ferry to Gozo. “Molly, do you want some coffee?” – “Yes, please.” Keith starts queuing at the kiosk. Molly observes the announcement boards and the other people in the ample hall – some are tourists like herself, some are expats, others seem to be locals, used to travel back and forth regularly. There is boredom of their posture.

The loudspeaker system starts to announce in a solemn female voice: “There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown”. Molly looks around, she recognizes her own surprise in other people’s expressions. A young woman removes her earplugs and looks at where the voice was coming from. Now a male voice continues to announce: “If you look at the body of a human being from above, if you project the body as an ellipse onto the ground, with a body depth and a body width, representing the two main axis, you will get the minimum space requirement of a person. This requirement does not include clothing or any baggage carried along and is 0.085 square meter.”

Keith is back with 2 coffees. “… the theoretical value is 11 people by square meter…” Keith seems not to hear the loudspeaker, excited to share something with Molly. “While I was queuing, there was this guy with blondish hair at the kiosk, and he was arguing with 2 women, and kept on saying ‘I am a racist’ – it was really strange, like – why would he just blurb that out? The women seemed quite annoyed by him, but were still listening. All I could hear is that one woman said ‘But I am a foreigner as well’ and the guy replied ‘no, you are from the north, that is different.’ … and then he continued to talk about other stuff – by the way the guy at the bar constantly pokes his nose, it was actually a bit disgusting.” Molly examines her paper cup as if she had to check its contents. All of this was a bit confusing. “Can we sit down for a moment?” Keith walks into the hall with neatly placed aligned chairs. He stops short.

2017_Fragmenta_FieldTrip_picBettinaHutschek_09He looks around, looks back at his wife, and goes a step further. Coming back to her he says “There are only seats for residents here – look, they are marked. RESIDENT — .”

The loudspeaker woman is on again “All the distances that man creates around himself are dictated by the fear of touch. The repugnance to being touched remains with us when we go about among people. … We avoid actual contact if we can.”

 

“Do you think we are on candid camera?”

“This is weird …”

“Please, let’s just sit down.”

“Do you think we have to pay a fine if we sit down in a resident seat?”

“…”

“For gods sake, I just would like to find a seat for my wife!”

A group of children comes in, kicking a ball around, while shouting and squabbling. Their noise contributes to Keith’s disturbance. He storms into the hall; at the back he discovers various seats marked “TOURISTS”. They sit down. The row opposite has 5 seats marked with the sign “FOREIGNER”. The signs are written in 2 languages – Maltese and English – the Maltese word for foreigner is BARRANI, which literally means “Outsider”.

 

Advertisements for some funny local produce and locations decorate the walls of this otherwise sterile non-place. “This is horrible! We are not allowed to sit anywhere. This is discriminatory!!!”

Then the ferry arrives.

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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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