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Move your body dance with me, come on baby dance with me, move your body…(repeat)

By now much has been written and said about the opening of Valletta 2018. And I am bored of adding to that discourse. It was what it was, a festa on steroids, organised by this government to please its voters. Who cares if the Catalan giant and crane were used before.

“At the end of the day, does anybody recall the opening of any other European Capital of Culture?” The Lawyer said exasperated.

“No.” I replied.

“Exactly!” He downed his drink.

The Gorilla stroked his pug and grinned, the Argentinian sat perplexed on a bar stool, and the Journalist drank more Jager.

The intention to go to Valletta was there, but lunch in St. Julian’s went sideways, and we only managed to get to Lady Di Pub. There were many pitfalls along the route. From the bar’s big screen television we could see that the 110,000 strong crowd across the water were on a different trip to us – attendance may have resulted in severe neurological failure.

There we sat, ordering one black label after another, watching in disbelief, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra supporting DJ Tenishia.

Move your body dance with me, come on baby dance with me, move your body…(repeat)

Side note: the MPO sounded phenomenal.

Culture or Kulture? We’ve sure been hearing a lot about culture. This culture, that kulture, their culture, high kulture, low culture, local kulture, European culture. A puddle of culture and barely a drop of art.

What did people expect when architect David Felice was replaced (after his team won the bid) with government lackey Jason Micallef. Now affectionately known as Cermen J.

Former Secretary-General of the Labour Party, unwanted Labour Party general election candidate, head of the Labour Party media wing, Eurovision director hopeful. Yet he was given the chairmanship of the Valletta 2018 foundation.

It was doomed to be a government-sponsored affair.

And you wouldn’t expect anything else from a government that has a Ministry for Justice and Culture run by Minister Owen it-Topo Bonnici.

Mario Philip Azzopardi:  Why does the government insist on saving relics like him, and not gems like the Roxy Theatre Hall? I’m sure it would cost less.

It’s all become one tight sweaty fat political circle-jerk, and Valletta, the cum-addled biscuit in the middle, out of which everybody wants a bite. That could explain the unearthly amount of white plastic tents around the city.

But from one cultural crisis to the next. The latest is the vandalism of public polystyrene art after only a day or two in the public forum.

Not to go into the artistic merit of the project, or that of the artist, but why the hell would you put breakable polystyrene statues covered in thin coat of plaster outside? Then cry foul when they inevitably break.

An ice-sculpture melts in the sun, sand-sculptures blow away in the wind, origami dissolve in the rain, and polystyrene-sculptures just break. It is the nature of the material, it breaks.

No matter the amount of signs pleading the public not to touch this, or mount that, they will touch it, and they will mount it. It is the nature of the public, it’s curious.

Don’t step on the grass. Motherfucker, I am gonna step on the grass! The grass feels good between my toes. So when considering placing some form of art in the public realm then make sure it allows for public interaction.

You can’t give the public something and command it – look but don’t touch! ‘Cause Adam touched.

It wasn’t vandalism, or a failure of society; it was a failed attempt at public art.

Prior to the polystyrene predicament, Cermen J had some harsh words for Il-Kenniesa’s projection of a couple of slides against the façade of the Auberge de Castille, the Office of the Prime Minster. Asking “Who killed Daphne?” and naming OPM as the “House of Impunity.”

Chairmen J decried it an abuse of democracy! An attack on public monuments! Calling on the government to be tougher against the rogue public!

Again, Jason, a public space/building/monument is owned by the public. All the public. Hence the word public. Castille is as much mine as it is yours.

For a supposed socialist, Cermen J displays all the flare of a flaming fascist.

He now turned his cultural beak towards Daphne Caruana Galizia’s memorial at the foot of Antonio Sciortino’s monument to the fallen of the Great Siege.

Faith, Fortitude, and Civilisation have never had as much public relevance and attention as they do now.

It is a public monument that lends itself to severity of the current situation. And if you can’t see that, your Charlie Hebdo grandstanding is as cracked as your monuments of jablo.

Daphne’s memorial belongs to us. It belongs to Malta, whether the whole population understands it or not. It is part of a public sentiment; it is asking the judiciary for the truth.

You don’t like it because it reminds you that Daphne, like Sciortino’s Great Siege monument, is a public statement against the corruption you and your pals have unleashed upon a European State.

Go ahead and swindle European cultural funds, put on your lavish government endorsed festas, neglect the country’s actual ailing cultural infrastructure. That’s fine because the artists on the island are doing their thing.

And if you do touch Daphne’s memorial, you should know that unlike your polystyrene statues, it would not break; it will grow. That is the nature of art that you fail to understand.

Faith, Fortitude and Civilisation.

Hey do we know how much this opening spectacle cost? All them tents, lights, projectors, dancers, giants, speakers, go-carts, and all the rest of it…

 

 

 

 

 

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