This short video explores ethnographic research as a multi-sensory subjective experience. Conceived as an immersive poetic documentary, this work brings together photographs, video clips and sound recordings produced over a five year period (2013-2018) aboard the ‘Joan of Arc’. The pace of the film is determined by a haunting droning of engine sounds that heighten the sense of drama exuded by the often dark, Baroque-like visuals. The whole is a brief painterly rendering of what it feels like to be on a working fishing boat at night.

Gilbert Calleja is a documentary photographer focusing on long-term socially engaged projects in his native Malta and around the Mediterranean. As a practice-based PhD researcher at the Centre for Research and Education in the Arts and Media (CREAM) at the University of Westminster, London, Gilbert is looking into the potential of new media platforms for non-fiction storytelling. He is particularly interested in collaborative ethnographic processes and multimedia representations. The title of his research is ‘Identity and the Maltese fisherman: challenging stereotypes through multi-media platforms – practice-based case study’.

A selection of photographs from his three-year project working with transgender individuals in Malta was recently shown at the Venice biennale (2017) as part of the Maltese pavilion. He has also been commissioned to produce a 5.1 immersive audio piece for ‘Dal Baħar Madwarha’ exhibition as part of the Valletta2018 (European City of Culture) cultural events programme. Other recent exhibitions and commissions include Lampara (Berlaymont Buildings, Brussels, 2017), ‘L.O.M.L.’ short film commissioned for the Mediterranean International Literature festival (2016) and VIVA, The culture of Aging (Valletta, 2015). His work has also been shown at the Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles and the Caochangdi Photospring festival in Beijing. Gilbert has worked as photojournalist and freelance news photographer and studied history of art and fine arts at the University of Malta (2000) and the university of Paris, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (2004)

“Lampara” (2018/2019), Gilbert Calleja