CSM Alumni undertake a Residency at Malta’s National Art Centre
Text by Lena Heubusch, images by Célia Hay, both alumni from MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies, CSM.
We are Pearlie Frisch, Maria de la O Garrido, Célia Hay, Lena Heubusch, Candice Japiassu and Stephanie Sant, all alumni of MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies at Central Saint Martins. At Spazju Kreattiv Malta (Malta’s National Art Centre) we have collectively been organising, coordinating and curating exhibitions, film screenings and multiple events as a way of creating dialogue and immersive experience addressing the contemporary concerns that draw through all of our practices.
Within our practices we explore the body through image, traces as awareness of existence, filmmaking as mysterious rituals enabling new relationships, desire and alchemy, and transformation of the everyday. All of these elements came together in the project ‘The Procession of Disappearance’, a performance and film developed within the Gozitan landscape. We are addressing elements that are disappearing and have disappeared from the island of Gozo.
The idea of this procession is not to mourn their fragility, but to celebrate the ephemeral nature of them in the context of Gozo. We see disappearance as a part of the continuation of the Island itself, for better or for worse.
There are strong examples of where Gozo was at before- the thousands of fossils lacing the floors, the rocks and some benches are evident of Gozo’s submerged past. These, met with the overwhelming presence of plastic show how differing timelines overlap. The collective anxiety of such suffocating forces that are threatening our environment motivated the work we created these past two weeks.
These landscapes gave us a strong potential for creating our own mythology and narrative. It’s a mythology that we envisage as a more personal and poetic gesture towards this environment rather than by creating a dogma. We look at rituals as ways of connecting with the island. We thought about the processions, as they are very present rituals in the Maltese calendar. Through this performative act of walking, while enduring the strong gale we carried out an offering to nature. By filming the procession alongside the various rituals, we enable our project to branch out beyond the two-week residency. The film itself will also be an art object on its own and will carry the things accomplished during this period beyond Għarb.