After having been involved into the community consultation processes in preparation for Valletta’s bid to become European Capital of Culture, I’ve started to think about the things that we all share as humans—the commons or the common good.
As ancient Greeks once put it, we design the city and the city designs us. Therefore, territorial planning should be treated as a formative tool for helping us become the humans we want to be; any unequal opportunity at this stage will drastically increase the social segregation we are already experiencing.
“There are artists who are more into playing with the rules of art and artists who would rather play with the rules of society and the legal regulations. To me, the real art is the latter—the art that exists between creativity and criminality (not because it’s ‘criminal’, but because it challenges unjust legal practices).”
The view of Valletta was commodified—even ‘weaponised’—to make the Tigné Point apartments a desirable prospect for a few wealthy residents able to buy it.
It is not the ‘ugly and stupid’ art that needs to be smashed and never sent for repair, but the insecure conservatism which, frankly, is way too provincial to be part of the European Co-Capital of Culture.
Valletta does not lack culture of its own. On the contrary, it has plenty of it – the little mundane rituals of “hello” and “how are you”, the feasts, the relationships between the people whom Valletta comforts and makes feel at home.