And this is where I continue from yesterday’s post. As I was saying (at some point) my biggest worry in this kind of events is that the “culture” crowd gets a little toy and keeps it to itself for a few events that would be deemed “arty-farty”. I am sure that this is not my concern alone but also that of the organisers – it was evident from some of the Monday presentations that they were assessing how to involve more and more people in this festival of all that is art.
Having lived through Luxembourg’s experience of European Cultural Capital (2007) I can see the first-hand benefits to be had to a whole cultural landscape. Luxembourg has been on a massive growth curve in terms of the general culture scene. It does have the added advantage of being part of a “Greater Region” that includes French Lorraine, German Rheinland-Pfalz and to a lesser extent Belgian Luxembourg. Initiatives in Luxembourg may have a wider catchment reaching out to these areas too but the benefits of 2007′s experience remain very local.
I’d like to expand on the village festa and village space concept, especially after Liz’s comment on yesterday’s post. What I meant when comparing “invasion” with “relation” was exactly what Liz emphasised. The village set-up built around organising mass scale events involving the whole population is there to be nurtured not radically changed. Liz echoed my thoughts when she said that the festa people might do with some inspiration to switch from tombola mode and explore new options of entertainment that might be deemed more “culture-worthy” by the snob among us.
Echternach in Luxembourg has the funny-walking march (dancing procession) on the occasion of the feast of Saint Willibrod attracting thousands of pilgrims/tourists to the area. The Limburg carnivals are a huge festival of celebration in the catholic “enclaves” of the Netherlands that turn out to be a massive street party along the canals of Maas for example complete with beer fests, food fests and shopping extravaganza. But we know this don’t we?
We also might have heard of the light show that illuminates Strasbourg’s immense cathedral in summer. We already have a series of summer “festivals” of our own in Valletta and beyond so there’s not much to learn there either. So what can Valletta 18 do that we are not doing already?
I’d suggest, as a first idea, to pilfer the TED format even further. Is there a Ministry building, a department, a hangar or something somewhere in Valletta (I’d bank on Strait Street) that can become a permanent workshop for Valletta 18? I’d turn it into a regular appointment for the business, art and political community. A stage, a powerpoint system, (some fans or aircon would be swell), chairs, coffee bar and bob’s your uncle. Imagine a weekly appointment at 7pm for two or three speakers to give 8 to 10 minute presentations and open the floor for discussion.
Create the thinking space. Give Valletta a brain. Let it build itself into a thinking city. The subjects could be anything – just like TED – so long as they could be linked to Valletta. Ideas about events, ideas about performances, transport, linking, networking…. how about it then?