MALLAN, Kevin. 2019. Wied Għomor | San Ġwann [C-Type Print].
The image emerges after the photographic documentation process of an area within 'Għomor Valley', a controversial stretch of land that has been repeatedly subjected to development pressures.
Inħoss il-ħolm isabbarni fl-ibħra ta' dawl illużorju, ġewwa deżert lil hinn mill-konfin ta' inkonxjeta' li għasar issa anke il-vojt.
Fil-vojt ta' dil-pjanura smajt l-għajta tal-profeti tidwi minn kull direzzjoni. Inħossha tidwi u tniggeż l-etern u l-assurdita’ ta' ħajja mtaqqla mill-progress.
Waħdi rħejt miexi qalb l-għoljiet, nippruva nżomm mal-patt li naqqaxt fl-intern ta' dal-ġisem effimeru.
Għidt xi darba jaf naqta' l-frott, forsi mhux minn dielja ikkankrata tokrob għall-għaliex.
Inħoss pajjiż jgħakkisni fuq xagħri fejn il-ward ma jinbitx.
Għidt qabel nindifen nixtieq nara l-ward abjad jgħatti l-widien iżda l-widien hawn jinstabu mbikkma, jistennew il-qerda bejn snien l-inġenji tal-qarib.
Away from the intemperance that drained all void, dreams console me, there, in the rippling play of illusory light, in a desert on the threshold of unconsciousness.
On these empty plains, I hear the keen cry of prophets echoing from every direction. I can feel the resonant throb that stings eternity and the absurd of a life burdened by progress.
Alone in hills I wondered, guarding an oath I carved on the inside of this ephemeral body.
I had promised myself I would harvest fruit not, perhaps, from a cancerous vine moaning, whimpering, asking “why?”
I feel a country oppressing me on plains where roses seldom bloom.
Before my burial, I believed I would see white roses cover entire valleys and yet, the valleys here drown in tears of sorrow, awaiting their fate in the jaws of their neighbouring industry.
‘National Anthem’ is a multi-disciplinary artistic project dealing with the complexity of Malta’s current social, economic and political relations. Theoretically, it supports the idea that industrial development, free market models, a focus on economic growth, together with a conjuncture of greed and power, fail to support sustainable economic development. The project explores local vistas and destructive short-sighted measures that favour economic growth at the expense of adequate planning as well as investment in social wellbeing.
The Maltese landscape has been altering both figuratively as well as physically and despite its romanticised and idealised utopian depictions as seen in several advertisements or party-political promotion, this country amongst others has a multitude of urgencies to deal with. Locally, amidst an economic boom which will certainly produce further repercussions, our environment, social wellbeing and sustainability seem to take little of the attention required.
Underpinning the work is a study that positions contemporary discourse and photographic practice in the context of the human-nature narrative. In predominance, the camera reflects and acts on the landscape and its conversion or attempted conversion under commercial transactions. The project examines and criticises the social orderas well as the human impact on the environment. This ensues in close proximity with the subjects of industrial development and global capitalism, which cumulative effects of past and present actions become determinants of the forthcoming.
On such treatise, ‘National Anthem’ is an outcry for this land and what the order of day has become to signify. While the protestation heeds for a re-evaluation of our economic and political systems, it could also serve as a warning sign, a call that opens the possibility of further dialogue on socio-economic practices within the Maltese borderline.
Kevin Mallan | Visual Art | MA Photography Student
MALLAN, Kevin. 2019. South East Coast | Xgħajra [C-Type Print].
The image emerges after the photographic documentation process of an area on the south-east of the island. The stretch of south-eastern coast has been designated as the only possible site for large-scale land reclamation projects by the Environment and Resources Authority.
MALLAN, Kevin. 2019. National Anthem | Triptych [Giclée Archival Print].
‘National Anthem’ bears its name from a triptych on view. There, the camera shifts perspective onto Tigné Point and Sliema in the opposite direction of the iconic Valletta landscape that is used in multiple property and touristic advertisements. Portrait compositions stand in opposition. The Maltese national anthem, a protest song and sound pertaining to construction areas from the subjected view are merged into the photograph’s raw data, which is then destructed in an audio editing software. A new image emerges out of an unauthoritative destructive data alteration method. Results can be seen abstracted and equivocal, tying in to the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous notions imbued within current and futuristic discourse relating the causes of neoliberalism.
MALLAN, Kevin. 2019. Għallis Engineered Landfill, Magħtab [C-Type Prints].
The imagery at the Maghtab Environmental Complex follow from an unpleasant experience which culminates in a two-day nauseous state. Can still recall the smell, the place and every inch of every step. Can also recall the meditations at some lone moments. In c. 40 years, after years of untreated waste dumping, a valley turned into a mountain of trash. 'Għallis', the remaining landfill on the island is said to fill up this year (2019). On the 31st of August (2018) a fire engulfed the place and in the meantime, among the lowest ranks, statistics indicate that Malta is already set to miss EU 2020 recycling targets. Whereas late recycling efforts are now apparent, debate on the campaign's actual outcome and waste incineration seem at halt with no apparent mounting pressure.