Preserving the antiporta: multimedia project
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Preserving the antiporta: multimedia project

Inner door is gradually disappearing from our streets

Photos: Malta Doors

Photos: Malta Doors

A multimedia project is drawing attention to a disappearing architectural feature of Maltese homes – the inner door known as antiporta.

Some houses, public entities and businesses still leave their front door open and the antiporta closed during the day, providing light and privacy but also accessibility to those on either side of this door. This feature is also known as boxxla in a number of localities, including Gozo and the Three Cities.

Chris Briffa Architects were invited to present a piece at the Time Space Existence exhibition as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale last year, and they decided to focus on the antiporta.

The company engaged six individuals with interests across various media to work on this project.

“The intention was to investigate this feature and the role it played in architecture, alongside analysing ways it still features − or does not feature − today,” said exhibition curator Andrew Borg Wirth.

“As a research endeavour, including a photographic and videographic installation, as well as a community outreach project, Antiporta sought to rekindle nostalgia for the piece and also make a case for its preservation,” he added.

 “It has been a process of inter-disciplinary conversation, with the intention of analysing the social implications of a very physical manifestation often overlooked within our houses.”

The other members of the team include Chris Briffa (creative director), Katrina Galea (architectural assistant), Louise Spokes (project coordinator), David Zammit (artist and photographer) and Lisa Gwen Baldacchino (research and PR).

The Venice exhibit, an installation reinterpreting the antiporta, is now on display at Spazju Kreattiv until February 3.

An event to condense and discuss the findings of the project will be held on January 31, where the team will engage in an informal conversation on the process the creatives went through, the Venice experience and the future of the antiporta.

Research, however, is still ongoing. All those interested in being part of the project can submit stories, clips and images – new, old or even vintage – of the antiporta through the website www.antiporta.com or via  Instagram @antiporta_cba using the hashtag #antiporta.

This project has been part of the Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture Cultural Programme (Valletta Design Cluster) and the Spazju Kreattiv programme. 

It is supported by the Project Support Grant, Malta Arts Fund – Arts Council Malta and is produced in collaboration with Camilleri Paris Mode and Halmann Vella.  

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