SONUS – The Sound of Sonnets, and the Paper Memory Machine

FRAGMENTA is pleased to present the first stage of the larger project CHARTI by artist Adrian Abela. In its upcoming edition entitled SONUS – The Sound of Sonnets, and the Paper Memory Machine, a model of MACHINA, the Paper Memory Machine, is going to be presented alongside a series of conceptual drawings explaining function and functioning of the machine, as well as copies of traditional and contemporary sonnets.


The sonnets (sunnetti) originated as printed texts containing messages that were thrown as part of the festivities during the village festa. Nowadays, the papers thrown during the festivities usually do not contain intended messages but rather “accidental” messages, derived from the fact that paper is being re-used for this purpose. In line with this historical tradition, Adrian Abela asked the inhabitants of Żabbar to contribute their own messages which will be printed in large amounts and given back to the public to be “thrown” together with their own re-used papers during the festa. At the FRAGMENTA exhibition, photocopies of rare sunnetti dating back to 1910 can be viewed next to the contemporary sunnetti by the people of Żabbar.

festapapers_old04 festapapers_old06 festapapers_old05

The model on show is a conceptual interpretation of an actual machine to be built over the coming years. It is intended to collect festa papers from streets after village festas across the island, and to recycle those into new (recycled) papers. The new papers therefore contain the memory of the public activities.

The choice of Żabbar for this public intervention came naturally, since the Żabbar museum houses some of the oldest sunnetti. Interestingly, it is also the only museum on the island to have been purpose-built as a museum. (During the festa, the museum will be open to the public.)


FRAGMENTA will take place in a garage space very close to the main square, thus being reminiscent of Maltese village exhibitions (“Wirja”) which normally coincide with religious activities.


Dukkar street corner Convent Street
Next to the playing field
September 14th, 2014. 12 – 7 pm

fragmenta map



Examples of Paper Thrown during a Festa
Example of Cleaning Away the Paper after the Festa

  IMG_3013SNEAK PREVIEW September 13th

Adrian Abela’s project CHARTI is supported by V18 Foundation.


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