Ġejja Dgħajsa

Malta is one of the first countries which sub-Saharan immigrants arrive at when embarking on the high-risk trip to Europe from North Africa. In this context, designers at ‘IA Lab Malta’ have created an interactive experience related to immigration during this year’s ‘Notte Bianca’ event in Valletta. ‘Ġejja Dgħajsa’, which literally translates to ‘A boat is coming’, is an interactive installation inspired by the symbolism attributed to boats, in the context of mass migration in the Mediterranean region. Visitors during the event were invited to walk amongst the origami boats and gently nudge them to light up, becoming active participants by doing so. The installation generated an informal discussion on our individual roles and engagement with immigration, as visitors became aware of their reciprocal social influence during the experience.

Video: Ġejja Dgħajsa (film by William Victor Camilleri)

The installation was composed of 100 plastic boats, in an arrangement resembling bird flocking. This arrangement symbolised the continuous state of flux which Mediterranean demographics are in. Each paper boat was mounted on a flexible rod and equipped with a custom circuit which lights up when the boat is gently nudged. This left a light trail as people walked through the installation and came into contact with the boats, creating a trailing memory of the interactions which occurred. The team behind the installation aspires that the discussions initiated during the event will continue to develop into structured dialogues which will mitigate the attitude of indifference currently observed across the island state.