“He took a pencil from his desk and waved it towards me. ‘If I give you this gift,’ he said, ‘that means “I’m territorial here.” But it also means, “I have a territory and I am no threat to yours.” All we’re doing is fixing the frontier. I say to you, “Here I put my gift. I’m not going any further.” It would be an offence if I put my gift too far.” (Bruce Chatwin – The Songlines 1987)
Riservato is a charged term in the context of rural Malta; it is inevitable and it defines boundaries. The art works in this series are ‘loaded’ with an RTO sign. A sign that deters as much as it instigates transgression; it engenders a closed space yet it opens up multiple paths of deterritorialisation.
RTO forms the basis of my territorial practice; a ubiquitous abbreviation that cuts through space and attempts to slow down or impede movement. This is how my practice responds to RTO. It symbolically monumentalises its significance in the form of museum pieces and display cabinets; or encased power.
The RTO series developed in response to the endemic habit of erecting loose boundaries often accompanied by crude signs restricting access to certain parts of the local countryside; and to the implications of power and resistance that come along with that.
RT-O (RT-Open) is a more direct and explicit response to open RTO territory since it deconstructs physical boundaries and subsequently takes the form of a fully exposed display case. Open RTO territory is that space which is deceivingly accessible, thus, comparable to an open showcase in a museum.
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