The Malta Independent 19 October 2019, Saturday

Culture legacies

Owen Bonnici Friday, 24 May 2019, 07:00 Last update: about 6 months ago

More than twenty four thousand hours of PBS footage will be digitalised – an important project as it extends media legacy into the future. As the definition of legacy goes “something that is a part of your history or that remains from an earlier time”, the National Broadcaster is taking it to another level, by safeguarding this media legacy for future generations, with this €4.8 million project.

This exercise will make this archive accessible to the public and at the same time safeguarding it for posterity.

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The digitisation project ‘Enhancing the Cultural Tourism Experience through Digitisation’,  should reach completion by 2021 - the second part of a project which PBS embarked on in 2014, under Priority Axis 5 Protecting our environment, investing in natural and cultural assets. This phase is an investment partially funded through the ERDF Programme.

Thanks to this project, we are fully tapping into the informative and educational role which this source of information brings with it, ensuring that precious footage which documents our recent history is preserved and shared with the members of our community, through the interactive aspect of this project. This is an important element of our national heritage, and our intention is to make this available to everyone.

The ministry’s strategy is to make all of this accessible in an experience which will link the past together with the present, with a foresight of the future.

With a visual record dating back to 1960, this digitisation project is set to categorise the footage legacy in mainly four different categories: culture, events, personalities in history, and locations.

Going back a couple of weeks, during a meeting which took place in Paris following the Notre Dame tragedy, EU ministers agreed on the need for more significant investments in culture in order to preserve European cultural heritage, as well as a team of experts to guide member states on the best way to go about this.

The execution of the project is divided into a number of phases. Phase One was finalised with a complete revamp of the Basement of the Creativity HUB. The project included the setting up of 8 editing suites, the creation of an open area for indexing and the setting up of a server room for storage and robotics. Editors, directors and metadata inputters are currently engaged with PBS to focus solely on the digitisation project.

Out of the 24,200 hours, an estimated 19,800 hours of material will be digitised in-house, as formats such as 16mm film, U-matic reels and High Bands are currently being digitised overseas. The digitisation process is to be followed by indexing and metadata.

Access to archived material will be available to the public through totem poles and plaques distributed all over the island, giving users free access to video clips through the scanning of QR codes.

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Legacy is also commemorating important events in our rich history – remembering our forefathers’ achievements and making sure that these are not only recorded but kept alive in all forms possible.

Teatru Malta’s upcoming show VII (Sette), to commemorate the centenary since the Sette Giugno riots broke out in June 1919 is an example. The dynamic show is being organised in partnership with Fondazzjoni Ċelebrazzjonijiet Nazzjonali.

Our history plays an important role in the shaping of our identity and traditions, and it is through culture and the arts that we can further promote our rich heritage. Our strategy is to ensure that this flourishing sector is more accessible, and through this unique show, we are not only providing a platform for creatives which commemorates a momentous event, but we are also moulding it into an artistic performance to be enjoyed and appreciated by the public.

VII is an original electronic musical devised and composed by sister-duo and artists of the year The New Victorians, inspired by one of the most memorable historical events in modern Maltese times, with a bilingual script written by Scottish playwright Erin Carter and translated by Simon Bartolo.

Historians agree about the seminal importance of the Sette Giugno in the process of Malta’s evolvement into a sovereign state. A hundred years later, we are emphasising the significance of this event primarily to ensure that the new generations, including contemporary society, better understand what constituted them a nation with identity.

One hundred years ago, on the 7th of June, something happened that the country still commemorates, the Sette Gugnio has become a part of the history of our nation. Today, unfortunately, the significance of this day may be lost to those who consider it as another off day – another summer holiday. As Malta’s National Theatre, we wanted to celebrate this centenary, and also allow those events to remain in collective memory through theatre and music. We therefore wanted to come up with something completely different. We did not want to create an obvious re-enactment.

We created a project which is fresh and innovative based on those past events. The music of The New Victorians is contemporary and electronic and they are collaborating with several international artists, even from the UK. We can barely wait to show you what we have created together a hundred years later.

Costumes for VII are being designed by Luke Azzopardi, with the support and artistic contribution of camilleriparismode while the one of a kind set is designed by none other than Aldo Moretti.

VII will be staged on the 7th, 8th, 9th, 14th, 15th and 16th of June at Fort St Elmo’s Piazza d’Armi, Valletta. I urge all to attend and enjoy!

This show is supported by Fondazzjoni Ċelebrazzjonijiet Nazzjonali, Arts Council Malta, Heritage Malta and LESA, under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice, Culture and Local Government and camilleriparismode.

For tickets visit teatrumalta.org.mt or call 21220255 for more information.

 

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