Times of Dilemma
The dream of utopia seems to be over, in spite of the many times we proclaim a desire for „change“. This general call for „change“, which aims at counteracting the growing inequality in our global system, addresses a wide range of contradictory interests. We do not want to defer utopias to some distant time or planet, instead, we want to address them here and now by furthering the engagement with people to create visions and take action in their specific situation.
“Times of Dilemma” makes use of the tradition of Għana for creating contemporary Għana dialogues addressing current conflicts. In July 2017 we organized two workshop sessions, for which we launched an open call for participation, and invited authors, Għana-singers (Għannejja), activists and experts from diverse backgrounds to discuss the contradictory interests between economical prosperity and regaining communal values and how to rediscover qualities, (hidden) potentials and poetics for living together. In this way we created a “situation” for the Maltese to take action.
The contributions were based on the following questions: what I miss, what I am afraid of losing, what I find problematic, what I treasure, what I am proud of, what I want to change.
Workshops, Exam Centre/ Valletta, July 2017
The contributions of the workshops served as basis for texts by Maltese authors Jean Paul Borg, Jo Burden, Immanuel Mifsud, which were then transformed into contemporary Għana dialogues by the young Għannejja-Rapper Rachelle Deguara, and Għanejja: l-Bukku Vince, Angelo Theuma, Mikelina, Josmick Agius
Għana dialogues – two large megaphones communicating between Valletta and Manoel Island
For the performances by the Għannejja transparadiso conceived two large megaphone-sculptures, offering a dialogical sound transfer of 320 meters between St. Michael’s Counterguard/ St. Roche Chapel and the only public land on the mostly privatized Manoel Island (next to the Lazzaretto), which will be transformed into an exclusive new urban development for the rich. The locations relate to times of leprosy when the patients were quarantined in a hospital (Lazaretto) on Manoel Island. A priest would hold his prayers for the hospital from across the channel at St.Roche’s Chapel. Now the dialogue between the two locations addresses a plague of today, namely uncontrolled urban development in Malta.
These contemporary Għana dialogues reposition the (today underrecognized) tradition of folk singing in “high culture”, and explore Għana as artistic method for addressing conflicts in an open process, which highlights the potential of poetics as subtle means for activism – as "silent activism". To perform a scripted text challenged the Għanneijja to commit to a new format (since Ghana today is usually still performed as “spirtu pront”/ spontaneous improvisation) and it equally required the confidence of the renowned Maltese authors to offer their texts to be transformed into Għana dialogues.
In this way “Times of Dilemma” does not only address burning questions of the Maltese society, but also transgresses the borders of “high culture” and “folk culture” in a unique format.
Rehearsal, March 22, 2018: St.Roche's Chapel/ St.Michael Counterguard < > Manoel Island
First performance, March 25, 2018: Għana dialogue between St.Michael Counterguard/ St.Roche and Manoel Island, Valletta
Video/ interview by Valletta 2018
Second performance on May 27, 2018
“Times of Dilemma” is a project by transparadiso (Barbara Holub/ Paul Rajakovics) for “The Island is What the Sea Surrounds”, curated by Maren Richter.
Valletta 2018 - European Capital of Culture
Exhibition: March 25–May 27, 2018
St.Elmo Exam Centre, Valletta/ Malta
Lida Abdul, Heba Amin, Hela Ammar, Aaron Bezzina, Kristina Borg, Gilbert Calleja, Antoine Cassar, Aidan Celeste, Center for Political Beauty, Embassy for the Displaced/Scan Lab/Stevanos, Fleeting Territories, Manaf Halbouni, Bettina Hutschek, Tania El Khoury, Ibrahim Mahama, Adrian Paci, Susan Philipsz, Fernando Sanchez Castillo, Wael Shawky, transparadiso, Raphael Vella
Performers “Times of Dilemma”
Għanneijja: Il-Bukku Vince, Angelo Theuma, Mikelina, Josmick Agius, Maria Agius / Oħt iż -Żebbuġin‘
Guitarists: John Saliba, Victor Grech, Frans Casha, Ruben Schembri
Texts for the Għana dialogues by:
Jean Paul Borg, Jo Burden, Immanuel Mifsud
The Għana dialogues were coordinated by Rachelle Deguara in collaboration with ll-Bukku Vince, Angelo Theuma, Mikelina, Josmick Agius
Locations of the performances:
St.Michael's Counterguard/ St.Roche
Manoel Island (next to Lazzaretto)
Team and collaborators: Sarah Mallia, Sandra Zaffarese (Valletta 2018 team); Patrick Salutt (transparadiso), Bollinger + Grohmann (civil engineers/ Austria), Gundolf Rajakovics (mechanical engineer); Luke Fenech (support installation, Malta).
Thanks to: Maren Richter (curator), Emanuel Vella (regional coordinator, Valletta 2018), Christopher Micallef and Alberto Miceli-Farrugia/ Nidum (architects, Malta), Gabriele Sernagiotto/ Studio di Ingegneria Semenzin e Sernagiotto (civil engineers/ Italy).
Participants of the workshops:
Joan Abela, Jean Paul Borg, Marie Briguglio, Stephan Buhagiar, Josephine Burden, Michelina Camilleri (TA Xiggi), Vince Carabott (Bukku), Angelo Chetcuti (Sabu), Justine Cutajar, Anthony Carl Cutqar, Rachelle Deguara, Andrea Delicata, Antoine Foive, Erica Giusta, Marcia Grima, Reuben Grima, Simone Inguanez, Victor Jacono, Anthoney Karl (il-Pikkulin), Tom van Malderen, Duska Malesevic, Sarah Mallia, Josianne Micallef, Immanuel Mifsud, Alexandra Pace, James Pace, Victoria Pace, Zeppi Spagnol, Rose Spagnol, Saviour Tanti (il-Kanadiz), Anglu Theuma (il-Kina), Calcidon Vella (ta Mustacca), Emmanuel Vella, John Vella, Raphael Vella, et.al.
Times of Dilemma
Documentation with Għana dialogues :
Interview with transparadiso/ Valletta 2018:
Call Against the Border
text by Maren Richter
Third performance on July 1, 2018