Anne Hardy’s walk-in sculptural installations – which she calls FIELDwork – combine physical materials with light and sound to create immersive, sensory environments that are both convincing and fragile. She regards these installations as sentient spaces; spells that are conjured into being to channel specific energies and atmospheres; environments that can be temporarily inhabited but have lives of their own, altering and changing regardless of visitors or time. They are, she notes, ‘physical manifestations of psychological spaces’. Imagining the city as a sea in constant flux, with tides and backwaters akin to our unconscious, she creates alternative versions of our everyday world using urban jetsam and street-combings: materials and objects, sounds and other intangible things that she finds in forgotten corners and voids in the city, places which she describes as ‘pockets of wild space … where loose-ends, feelings and thoughts collect.’ For Hardy, these ‘voids’ represent spaces of freedom, embodying the possibility to exist fluidly between states of being, and to experience subtle but definite transformations on a perceptual and an energetic level – to think and feel differently. Originally commissioned by Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Liquid Landscape (2018-present) combines objects and sonic gatherings from that port city, and the experience of an unexpected tropical storm in London, into a FIELDwork that uses the idea of a city almost underwater, and an interloping climate, as a way to consider fragility, resilience and shifting emotions. Surround sound, light and wind are choreographed to suggest a sequence of changing atmospheres, which sit in parallel with a physical space defined and shaped by colour. Visitors are asked to take off their shoes before entering; as Hardy remarks, ‘removing your shoes makes you vulnerable and more sensitive; you become part of the installation.’ She goes on to say: ‘I want the work to give you the feeling that it is performing for you, and around you; that it is a poetic being with which you can spend time but can never fully understand.’

The MICAS in Conversation is a series of short conversations between art critic Rajesh Punj and a selection of Maltese and international artists on the involving effect of space on their art practice against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications.

MICAS is a Government of Malta infrastructural legacy project for the Culture and the Arts sector. MICAS will be realised through state funded restoration of historical fortifications and its galleries will be delivered in 2022. This project is part-financed by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund – European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020.

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