When a museum invites artists to make an intervention in their public space, it could be queried what actually happens when a public space is temporarily handed over, and is being made private for a moment. For their main work for No Ordinary Terrain in MUŻA’s public courtyard, the collective hired rubble wall builder Kyle Darmanin to help them setting up the stone structure as a temporary work of art.
For as long as we have been building walls, they have served us to define our positions and organize the world between us. The showpiece wall in the courtyard is both obstruction and instruction. It blocks the space, obstructs the view and confronts the public realm with elements of the private sphere. It commemorates the rubble walls, an integral feature of the Maltese rural landscape (locally known as ‘Ħitan tas-Sejjieħ’) in an institutionalized urban environment. It showcases the skilful placing and fitting together of stones by the eye and the hand in a place of fine arts. It shows an increasingly lost approach to landscape transformation that is based on a long-earned understanding of the interrelationship between land resources and human activity. It questions the nature of our obligation when we construct a boundary, and points at a rich array of meanings connected to the making and marking of boundaries across time.