Spent much of the past few days in the subterranean level beneath the ArtHall Gallery. Marta has graciously provided us complete access to the space; giving us a key soon after we met. The basement is damp, a dehumidifier is set to run constantly, with limestone dust from the walls throughout. There is the organized mess of an artist’s studio with remnants of past projects and various tools of making work in categorized areas.
We are working in two spaces: the “shaft”, a never finished elevator for the building, and the “ghost room” a 10’x10′ space with limestone arches overhead, polished marbled tile floor and limestone block walls. The ghost room has had some issues with flooding, the stone walls smell of mildew, reinforcing just how soft and porous this rock is.
The resonance in the ghost room is extraordinary. Inspired by Alvin Lucier’s, “I am sitting in a room”, Paul recorded, played back and re-recorded the sound of the dehumidifier, and spoken text written by us about the spaces six times (to correspond with the number of times you have to turn the key to unlock the door) as the overtones of the room completely mutate the original recording into something somewhat akin to Robert Fripp’s frippertronic tape loop experiments. It is likely that these will be used as soundtracks for the videos we are making in the rooms.
In the ghost room we made a stop-motion animation (aka “pixelation”) with the two of us (because it isn’t really an artist residency until we have done at least one of those!) and, using dialogic devising, created text and movement videos. The shaft has likewise been a site for our devising videos. Francesco Grech, a young poet/composer who has been one of our official contacts, has agreed to take part in the devising as well, as soon as his schedule opens up.
Jo has also been taking chalk rubbings in the ghost room while continuing to do her Gelli prints. The small space of the apartment requires organization and some creative problem solving – she has used the floor, the couch and the drying rack for places to allow the wet paint to dry. (All the works pictured in the slide shows are in-process, not finished works.)
Paul is working with the GoPro to create a artwalking in Victoria video so we have continued to explore the side streets and alleys. We made our way back to the Lunzjata Valley where they had cut and bundled the very tall (20′) bamboo-like grasses that lined the stream. Aside from the coastline, there are really no wild places on Gozo, it is either cultivated for “dry farming” or residential. Gozo is the bread basket of Malta. Fortunately, as it was not where the British ships were docked, it was not subjected to quite the level of bombardment during WWII as Malta was and, through disciplined rationing, was able to keep Malta from starving.