HD video, stereo audio, 10 minutes, 2015
Part singing, part public argument, part entertainment, and part public confession, the song form of ‘Spirtu Pront’ emanates from working class bars in Malta.
One from Mosta, Two from Żabbar presents this anachronistic form where improvised and often inflammatory grievances are publicly aired in a highly disciplined mode of practice, with strict stylistic and social rules. The singing is extremely skillful, in a loud and tightly strained voice, exemplifying Malta's dual Arabic and European influences.
The argument and counterargument can be quite personal and local, with the private struggles of each individual laid bare. However, it also suggests wider honour codes and the rhetoric of legal and international disputes. The ritual incorporates a cadenza where everyone respectfully resolves their grievances and emphatically reconfirms the need for friendship and brotherhood.
Here, ritualised argument can be seen as a positive social platform for the resolution of conflict.
Substation Contemporary Art Prize, The Substation, Melbourne (winner, 2016); 64th Blake Prize finalist exhibition, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney (2016); Incinerator Art Award: Art for Social Change, Incinerator Gallery, Melbourne (2016).
Singers: Frank Camilleri, Michael Magrin, Emanuel Zammit, Angelo Buttigieg. Musicians: Victor Gauci, Fred Cachia, Joe Grech.
The artists gratefully acknowledge the support of members of Maltese Club ‘Klabb Ghannejja Maltin’ St Albans, Melbourne, Australia including George Acquilina, Jez Attard, Sam Brincat, Charlene Formosa, Maria Formosa, Manuel Casha and Manwel Cassar. This project has been supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.