An audio-visual installation by Norbert Francis Attard. Public Convenience, Strait Street, Valletta, Malta, 2010. Commissioned by Valletta Local Council.
Sponsored by Vodafone Malta Limited.
In collaboration with Chris Briffa Architects and S&S Bathrooms Ltd. Audio-play written and directed by Narcy Calamatta.
One of the main elements in Norbert Attard’s installation is the letter V. It is made up of alphabetic components: a double inverted inscription of I love Tracy Emin in red neon light. The red is not only immediately evocative of red light districts such as the Gut was, but also of the idea propounded by the most eminent philosophers of colour from Goethe to Wittgenstein - that red is the colour par excellence. Neon lighting had become normal in the garish vulgarity of the last almost pathetically boisterous phase of Strait Street history. What the red neon stands for is the stuff out of which V is made. The letter V by itself evokes more singularly than any other word of which it is the initial just the word Victory. But in Norbert Attard’s installation, it is fashioned of red neon lights. Passion including suffering are the components of the eventual triumph, just as the Cross is the condition of the Resurrection. Thus, the transformation of a place initially identified as a receptacle of filth and waste into a brilliant and beautiful work of art can be seen to have patently a social value and significance, but also latently a sacred if not quite sacramental meaning.