Transformer

Project developed by Blitz (Valetta) and CSMS_ Central Saint Martins School (London) and supported by Valetta 2018 (European Capital Of Culture) and Malta Arts Fund (Arts Council Malta).

Transformer is a multifaceted, two-year project presented by Blitz, in collaboration with Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, and culminating in a multi-site exhibition. The project will build a relationship between a Maltese artistic context and an international cultural network through a series of border-crossing curatorial and artistic exchanges. The project includes curatorial research, artist residencies, public talks, workshops and a series of site specific exhibitions in spaces across Malta during the 2018 European Capital of Culture year.

The activities will be a collaboration between project partners from Malta, Spain, Morocco, and Greece, with the aim of building a network which will help develop Artist Run Organisations (AROs) and the contemporary art context in Malta.

Transformer focuses on the dynamic generated by AROs and their engagement with contingencies of the present, engendering artistic discourse via artists-based research activities in-situ. Transformer institutes a ground-up, grassroots, sustainable and long-lasting interchange; nurturing, developing and extending the activity of the Maltese contemporary art scene, widening its sphere of in uence, and embedding it within European and international communities of practice.

2017

The first part of the project will focus on research and development. During this phase the directors/curators representing the ve international ARO’s will visit Malta to scope sites for artistic engagement and exhibition. Following this, each will nominate and artist to participate in a one month residency and the subsequent development of work for the final multi-site event. The Valletta team will identify artists based in Malta, who will each be paired up with one of the visiting artists in residence, to provide support and context. In the last quarter of 2017 the first three artist residencies take place, for a duration of up to one month. Dates are: 13 November to 10 December.

2018

During the first quarter of 2018 the final three artist residencies take place, for a duration of up to one month. Dates are: 8 January to 4 February.
Following that will be time for the production of work, as well as a comprehensive publicity and communication campaign.
The final component, the multi-site exhibition, will happen 1 September to 14 October 2018.

Sites:

The Empty Plinth (the Ponsonby Monument),
Hasting Gardens, Valletta,
outside the BOV (Bank of Valletta)

This is an empty plinth that originally had a column on it to commemorate Sir Frederick Ponsonby. The column was erected in 1838 and in 1864 it was struck by lightning and destroyed.

The column was originally located on the St Andrew’s Bastion (see site 2) and was moved to its present site in 1888.

NOTE: Local Council policy does not allow any sort of intervention to happen on public monuments. Their main concern is potential damage to the monument. A light installation or something non-interventionist would be possible as long as there is no physical contact with the structure.

St Andrew’s Bastion, Valletta

This site is part of the forti cations that date back to the 16th century complex constructed by the Knights of Malta. The site is being made safe and restored as public spaces and access, in time for 2018. The site is comprised of a series of subterranean passages that have small chambers, some with exterior windows.

There is an outdoor, courtyard space, another outdoor area on top of the ramparts, where there is a chamber that has recently been restored that has good light and could be interesting for an event.

The site’s vistas overlook Marsamxett Harbour, looking north toward Fort Manoel and Sliema. The site was also near the original location of the Ponsonby Column (site 1). This is a very interesting space but perhaps not as a speci c site but rather as a location (perhaps for performance or videoed outcomes),a research site or to use for an outcome from another site. Note, there is no electricity on this site. It’s planned to have this site open to the public in time for Valetta 2018. It will be extensively restored and made safe for public access.

CeRCCa, Llorenc del Penedes, Catalunya

Hotel Splendid, Strait Street, Valletta

This is a large town house, probably dating from the 17th century that served as a hotel up until probably the 1970s. It’s located in Strait Street that was popularly known as the ‘Gut’ or ‘Strada Stretta’. When the British and US navy were based in Malta, Strait Street was the centre of entertainment for service personnel on shore leave.

The building is owned by the Valletta 2018 Foundation and is presently being restored and being used as a cultural centre.

The Valletta Design Cluster, Il-Biccerija, Valletta.

The Valletta Design Cluster is a project to renovate a former 17th century abattoir for use as an innovative design hub whose objectives are to link education, industry and research toward strengthening the contribution of design to social and economic wellbeing.

The building was inhabited by a large community until relatively recently, comprised of dwellings, artisan and several bakeries.

The historical relationship of the Cluster to this community and the current inhabitants of the area is an imperative of the project.

Le 18, Marrakech, Morocco

Sliema

Sliema is an area north of Valletta, on the opposite side of the Marsamxett Harbour, reached either by bus or the Sliema Ferry. It has been the site of a major redevelopment over the last few years that is on-going. This is comprised of luxury apartments and a large shopping mall situated on the eastern Sliema peninsula. The area is in complete contrast to Valletta with its 16th century street layout, its heritage and conservation. The Point Shopping Mall integrates buildings from the fort complex into Malta’s biggest shopping complex. More information about the area can be found at:

tignepoint.com

Possible engagements with the area are complex and connected to an unfolding context of Malta’s history, relationships to the local communities, both new and old. Currently being scoped is the possibility of using a circular building at Tigné Point that was a part of the fort structure.

This site is not like the others. It represents wider questions about how a city functions and how it should it be imagined. The redevelopment brings into focus questions of migration and labour. it acts like a microcosm of global redevelopment, immigration and how a 21st century city operates and functions. As with Hamrun (7) there is a band club and sports culture that might be of interest in terms of looking at the community that pre-dates the redevelopment.

CeRCCa, Llorenc del Penedes, Catalunya

Villa Bologna, Attard

Villa Bologna is situated 10km west of Valletta in the town of Attard. It was built in 1745 by Fabrizio Grech in 1745 as a wedding present for his daughter. Gerald Strickland, who the present proprietor Jasper de Trafford is descended from, inherited the Villa in the 1890s and it was modernised and renovated by him and his second wife, Margaret Hulton, in the 1920s. Strickland was a Prime Minister of Malta and the family’s history has been entwined with that of Malta. The founding of the island’s main newspaper, The Malta Times is connected to this aspect of the family’s history. Margaret Hulton was from the publish and picture library family of the same name and who founded Picture Post that was one of the leading image-led publication of its time. Additions in this era included a pottery and workshops for lace making and weaving grouped under the Malta Industries Association Ltd. company. The pottery is still functioning, manufacturing vintage designs and is key aspect of the Villa’s on-going project. The Villa is a grade 1 listed building constructed in the baroque style and has an extensive garden that includes an 18th century rococo Nymphaeum. The interior is fully functioning. The Villa is considered to be one of Malta’s nest buildings. The basement was once the site of a nightclub and has a swimming pool, wall paintings and a bar, dating from the 1950s. There is also a shelter, constructed in 1942 during the extensive bombardment of Malta. It is hewn from the limestone and has is a warren of passages and chambers. More information about the Villa can be found on its web site:

villabologna.com

The pottery is being redeveloped and there are possibilities for interventions in the workshop. It is being redeveloped as a business, looking back to the traditional 1950s patterns and forward to new possibilities.
The histories of the families that are linked to the villa trace a line through Malta’s political and civic history, Malta’s media and cultural identity.

Possible engagements with the area are complex and connected to an unfolding context of Malta’s history, relationships to the local communities, both new and old. Currently being scoped is the possibility of using a circular building at Tigné Point that was a part of the fort structure.

This site is not like the others. It represents wider questions about how a city functions and how it should it be imagined. The redevelopment brings into focus questions of migration and labour. it acts like a microcosm of global redevelopment, immigration and how a 21st century city operates and functions. As with Hamrun (7) there is a band club and sports culture that might be of interest in terms of looking at the community that pre-dates the redevelopment.

3 137, Athens, Greece

Hamrun

Hamrun is withinvwalking distance from Valletta and near to the docks where many of its workers lived. The community is transforming from its working-class origins toward a younger population. This is apparent along the main street, San Guzepp where the shops are changing use to serve its new population.

The Hamrun community has a number of anual feasts that is an important aspect of Maltese culture. Three band clubs, St Gajetan’s, St Joseph and the Immaculate Conception are based in amrun and their rivalry is a distinctive part of amrun’s identity. Daniel’s shopping centre is a potential site to be explored. The shopping complex is built on the former site of the ‘Holywood Cinema’ in the centre of Hamrun which operated in the 1950s and in the 1960s. Having transformed the former Holywood Cinema location into a retail outlet (supermarket, entertainment, apartments, retail) their aim is to bring in more people to Hamrun all the while catering for new residents who are ‘re-de ning’ the area.

L’Atelier de l’Observatoire, Casablanca, Morocco

Blitz, Valletta

Blitz is an independent, not-for-pro t, project space which supports experimental and radical arts practice in all its forms. Blitz operates within a four-level, 400-year-old Valletta townhouse, which has been repurposed into a site for residencies, exhibitions and education, and a social space for the creative and the curious. Blitz is a curated space with a focus on contemporary existence, its constant state of ux, and the ubiquitous presence of digital culture. Our mission is to work closely with artists, curators, writers and researchers who are articulating these trends through cross-media and trans-disciplinary practice.

In developing a sustainable independent art space, Blitz programmes seek to engage new audiences in contemporary arts; investigate how access to high-quality exhibitions can be improved; and serve as the impetus to expand the local contemporary cultural infrastructure. Blitz aims to break down all barriers to the the enjoyment of contemporary art, engendering a culture which recognises the the positive effects of being culturally active for individuals, communities, and society at large.

Project Organisers:

blitz
Blitz, Valletta
thisisblitz.com blitzresidency.com

Project managers:
Director, Alexandra Pace – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Programme Director, Nicole Bearman – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Blitz is an independent, not-for-pro t, project space which supports experimental and radical arts practice in all its forms. Blitz is a space to develop ideas, build relationships and nurture creative talent.Blitz operates within a four-level, 400-year-old Valletta townhouse, which has been repurposed into a site for residencies, exhibitions and education, and a social space for the creative and the curious.

Blitz is a curated space with a focus on contemporary existence, its constant state of ux, and the ubiquitous presence of digital culture. Our mission is to work closely with artists, curators, writers and researchers who are articulating these trends through cross-media and trans-disciplinary practice.

Blitz is supported by Arts Council Malta through a Cultural Partnership Agreement. The Blitz Residency Programme is supported by the Valletta 2018 Foundation. http://thisisblitz.com

ual: Central Saint Martins
University of the Arts London
arts.ac.uk arts.ac.uk/csm/

Artistic directors on the project are the academics and artists:
Emma Talbot – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mick Finch – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The University of the Arts London (UAL) - UK is Europe’s largest specialist arts and Design University, with more than 3,000 academic, research and technical staff and about 19,000 students from more than 100 countries. Established in 2004, UAL brings together six arts, design, fashion and communication Colleges: Camberwell College of Arts; Central Saint Martins; Chelsea College of Arts; London College of Communication; London College of Fashion; and Wimbledon College of Arts. UAL is actively engaged in research and innovation as well as artistic, cultural and education projects. In the latest REF (UK Research Excellence Framework) 31% of UAL research was classified as ‘world leading’, and its overall quality pro le placed it in the top 25 of UK Universities. Central Saint Martins (CSM) is internationally renowned for the creative energy of its students, staff and graduates. It is organised around nine programme areas: 1) Art, 2) Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design 3) Culture and Enterprise 4) Drama and Performance; 5) Fashion; 6) Graphic Communication Design; 7) Spatial Practices; 8) Jewellery and Textiles; 9) Foundation and Access to HE. CSM has an established and thriving research community with over 80 PhD students ranging from practice-driven investigation to theoretical study.

Partnering Artist-Run Organisations:

Le 18
Marrakech, Morocco
le18.weebly.com

Started in 2013, Le 18 is an independent creative platform and exhibition space promoting artistic and cultural exchange. We have two main objectives: supporting emerging artists with research and residency programs, and making their projects known through exhibitions, presentations, and public gatherings. We also hope to connect the Marrakchi cultural landscape with various art scenes around the world by inviting international artists to work in Marrakech.

L’Atelier de l’Observatoire
Casablanca, Morocco
atelierobservatoire.com

The Atelier de l’Observatoire (art and research) designs, produces and disseminates projects conceived as tools to support Moroccan contemporary creation nationally, and internationally. It seeks to create the necessary conditions for projects unsuited to the current systems of artistic, academic and cultural production in the region to ourish, and to present these projects to a Moroccan and international audience, bringing together artists, researchers and the general public.

To this end, the Atelier de l’Observatoire experiments with alternative approaches through educational programs (MADRASSA), production space and guidance for emerging artists (LA RUCHE), research programs (THE INVISIBLES) and participative art projects (COLLECTIVE MUSEUM, THE GREENHOUSE, THE AQUARIUM) in the public space, in rural locations and city outskirts. The proposed research contexts and circumstances take shape in the form of long- term projects that are in constant renewal.

The Atelier de l’Observatoire develops varied projects in and around the city of Casablanca, to which artists, students, researchers and local, regional and international institutions participate.

The Observatoire’s workshop is a rural research and creation space in Laasilat, Bouskoura (32km from Casablanca). It boasts a well-equipped studio for the production of works in diverse media. A greenhouse and organic vegetable garden are also located on the site.

CeRCCa
Llorenç del Penedes, Catalunya
cercca.com

CeRCCa – Centre for Research and Creativity Casamarles, is a non-pro t organization that has been developing cultural and artistic projects from 2009. CeRCCa is a centre of research and creativity located in an old house in Llorenç del Penedes. The Center is located in a region know for wine and olive oil production 50km away from Barcelona in between the Montmell Mountains and the Mediterranean sea. The objective of CeRCCa is to facilitate a living and working space for artists, curators and cultural researchers. With this objective CeRCCa supports interdisciplinary and collaborative strategies based on the context. Together with its residency program, CeRCCa also participates and coordinates other production and exhibition formats through the organisation of workshops, public presentations and interventions that approximate artistic creation to new audiences.

3 137
Athens
www.3137.gr

3 137 is an artist run space in Athens founded by three greek artists. The space is used as a studio and opens its gates 3 to 4 times per year to organize exhibitions as also events such as artist talks, presentations and performances. 3 137 is a meeting point for creation and collaboration. An independent initiative that promotes artistic practices and supports experimental ways of art production, curatorship and presentation.

Blitz
Valletta, Malta
thisisblitz.com blitzresidency.com

Blitz is an independent, not-for-pro t, project space which supports experimental and radical arts practice in all its forms. Blitz is a space to develop ideas, build relationships and nurture creative talent. Blitz operates within a four-level, 400-year-old Valletta townhouse, which has been repurposed into a site for residencies, exhibitions and education, and a social space for the creative and the curious. Blitz is a curated space with a focus on contemporary existence, its constant state of ux, and the ubiquitous presence of digital culture.

Our mission is to work closely with artists, curators, writers and researchers who are articulating these trends through cross-media and trans-disciplinary practice. The Blitz Residency Programme is a core strand of its artistic and public programme, created to facilitate a long-term, international artistic cultural exchange, while fortifying our role as cultural incubator and advocate organisation for contemporary art practice in Malta.

Project Organizers:


Project Supported by:


PLATFORM HARAKAT IS A PROJECT REFLECTING UPON THE TRADITIONS AND CONTRADICTIONS OF TRAVELLING AND ITS MULTIPLE MEANINGS WEAVED IN MEDITERRANEAN, SAHEL AND WEST AFRICAN REGIONS.
INTERVIEWS / TEXTS / INTERVENTIONS
KNOWLEDGES
NETWORKS & PLATFORMS / ARCHIVES / INFO-SITES
TOOLS
CARTOGRAPHIES
TRANSFORMER / NACMM / BEYOND QAFILA THANIA / THE ART OF GETTING LOST
ACTIONS