Bringing back the memories: Magna Żmien

Image: Elisa Von Brockdorff

Time machines have found their way into many film plots, tv shows, cartoon series, but they have never been considered real. Albeit, artistic director Andrew Alamango and his team manage to bring a time machine to life, with the name of Magna Żmien.

Magna Żmien is a movement and a reaction to the lack of a national plan to preserve and make local memories accessible in Malta, Andrew explains. They collect and digitize people’s photographs and videos, documented in analogue formats, and give them back as both physical and digital copies.

Gozo Snaps

Image: John Borg Collection - Photographer Emanuel Borg (www.magnazmien.com/collections)

Gozo Snaps

Each memory tells a story about who the Maltese people involved are- how they lived, the influence of the island’s culture and where they were headed to. “Our stories and memories are more important than we think… on a national and regional level”, Andrew rightly observes.

Predictably the movement’s greatest challenge, when bringing the project to life, was gaining people’s trust. Digitising these memories means entrusting fragile, perishable memories in the hands of Magna Żmien’s team. Nevertheless, the outcome is worth it: freeing these priceless memories from physical constraints to share them with generations to come. These memories are a reference to how life was in the past, and to why life at present is as it is.

The digitised collections are showcased in ‘the landings’ of the Kapsula Merill, steered by Armchair Voyager No35 and accompanied by Banda ta’ Memorji Meraviljużi. This brings with it a message from the future to the Maltese people, telling them to preserve and digitise the memories before they are lost in time.

Taster of Magna Zmien events

Image: Elisa Von Brockdorff

Taster of Magna Zmien events

Kapsula Merill has already landed in Mellieħa and will be landing in Gozo, Kalkara, and Siġġiewi in the coming months. Moreover, there are going to be additional landings of the time machine at Science in the City and at Notte Bianca, both happening in Valletta.

Furthermore, the team of Magna Żmien plans to go back to the localities where the collections were brought out from and showcase the material.

Magna Żmien intends to stay around for a while - they are setting up foundations and intend to continue operating post Valletta2018, embarking on projects in collaboration with communities in Australia, Canada and elsewhere.

For more information go to Magna Żmien’s website or Facebook page.

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