‘Extant’ is an adjective which describes that which exists, survives, endures and is present. It is also the title of the exhibition which has just been unveiled at Spazju Kreattiv on the 9th of June. Amy Webb talks to one of the participating artists, Annalise Schembri.
Previous exhibitions from students of the Master of Fine Arts in Digital Arts had titles varying from ‘Axra’ to ‘0605 l 0506’ and ‘DA01’. Each exhibition explored different themes such as the conceptualisation and perception of time as well as the conceptual and technical transformation occurring in the visual arts.
Why did the participating students opt for the title ‘Extant’ this year? Annalise explains how the term chosen encapsulates the juxtaposition between the virtual and the real in a digital world. “In a digital world, can we say that the virtual also exists in some way? Is the virtual digital medium extant? And is it by the same logic becoming more real and less virtual?”
This concern with the digital is the common thread running through all the nine projects present at the exhibition. Annalise explains how these projects are the culmination of 18 months of research by students of the MFA in Digital Arts such as herself. Their exploration of the potentiality of the digital medium seeks to reconcile theoretical and conceptual questions about the digital.
What does the venue of the exhibition add to the experience? Annalise posits that the space itself, once a military base and now serving as the National Centre for Creativity, fits with the title of the exhibition. “The building itself is extant; it is still surviving but it has been remoulded and repurposed. The digital element in our work aims to do just that — not to reinvent the wheel but perhaps to repurpose, rethink and recontextualise such elements.”
Does the theme of digital art mean that the people viewing this exhibition should be versed in the world of digital art? Not necessarily. Annalise believes that the variety of the projects means that there is “something for everyone.” Despite the recurrent theme, the diversity in approach and outcome is evident, with the work being exhibited ranging from hybridised installations to photography and sculpture. There are projects which focus on recreating the classroom experience as perceived from the autistic learner’s perceptions and ones that document dance sessions in studios. Others which play on the perception and experience of time as one waits and others looking at artistic commentary as an art in itself. This list is non-exhaustive and its variety shows that “art enthusiasts and laymen alike should attend the exhibition. For aspiring art students it’s a chance to mingle with other artists and practitioners and for those who are just curious, this is your opportunity to find out more and ask questions. At the end of the day, we want our efforts to give rise to more questions and in depth explorations of such themes and subjects.”
The participating artists for this year’s exhibition are Gabrielle Agius, John Ambrogio, Joseph Camilleri, Steffi De Martino, David Falzon, Lisa Formosa, Jean Paul Migneco, Annalise Schembri and Matthew Schembri.
The opening night was the 9th of June 2017 at Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta but it will remain open for the public till the 20th of August 2017. The exhibition can be viewed free of charge. The following are the opening hours:
Monday – Tuesday: 9 am to 5 pm
Wednesday – Friday: 9 am to 9 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 10 am to 9 pm
You can catch up on the latest updates of the exhibition by following Extant’s Facebook page
© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Amy Webb