Letters: 14 December 2014

Solid arguments

Further to my letter ‘Ingratitude towards Church’s mission’ another argument is the notion that the intelligent design of creation by a superior Being is a fictitious theory. This persistent obstinate stance is being recently rekindled.

All scientists, Catholic or not, are converging to a line of thought that there is a Personal God, an intelligent architect as author of the universe. There is a plethora of ancient philosophers, astronomers, chemists, geologists, physicists etc, who think so. A more exhaustive list would include great statesmen, artists, poets, inventors and a torrent of scholars of every age and era.

As if that is not enough, is it possible that all the common facts of ethics, history, science, hermeneutics, apologetics and philosophy, which point most compellingly towards a powerful case for God and Chrstianity, result in illogical reasoning and force of argument off the rails? Somone recently quoted a theologian of the 14th century. But aren’t the likes of G. Marconi, A. Einstein, Isaac Newton, A. Sandage, C.L. Schleich and a host of others more convincing and credible?

Maybe a quote from the German chemist Justus von Liebig is enough. “The greatness and infinite wisdom of the Creator would be acknowledged only by those who strive really hard to take their ideas from the great book we call nature”.

John Azzopardi, Zabbar

Policies at St James Cavalier Centre

While congratulating Toni Sant on his new appointment as artistic director at St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, I feel that, for the sake of correctness, I should comment on a couple of his statements.

Seeing that Mr Sant has been away from the island for some time, it is quite possible that he is not totally au courant with the history of St James Cavalier and may therefore have the wrong impression how the centre functioned.

It is not true that St James Cavalier carried out its programme on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis or that it was simply a renting house. It is true that there were application forms online. This was part of a policy to encourage transparency and immediacy to the application process. 

But it is also true that, working intimately with the three previous boards prior to the present one, and the hard-working staff at St James, (which, once again, I feel duty bound to thank for the enormous support given) we constructed a very clear policy with a strong bias towards the contemporary scene. 

To attain this goal involved regular one on ones with both Maltese and foreign artists as well as the launch of a number of new artists and new collaborations. 

The end resulting policy was not dissimilar to the policy of other institutions such as the Kennedy Centre in Washington, and one which recognised the need of an in-house programming and commissioning together with its function as a national institution that acted as a platform for the creativity of private initiatives and therefore found spaces for that to be explored. 

One does not want to blow one’s own trumpet but for the sake of accuracy it must be pointed out that over the 14-year period that I was both general manager and de facto artistic director, the centre has been the intellectual and spiritual home of a number of new initiatives which have since been taken up by other institutions. 

Incidentally the combining of  the jobs of general manager and artistic director is also not unusual in this sector. Take, for example, the UK’s National Theatre. Having said that, it was on my suggestion that a specific role of artistic director be created, particularly in the run up of V18

Finally I must  congratulate  Mr Sant for his  recently announced  series of encounters running under the heading Ide@, which must be applauded.

There again surely this series of seminars finds its antecedent in the series of ‘Valletta Creative Forums’ organised by St James, but which focused on a wider spectrum then just St James and which bore a lot of ideas which have since been implemented on a national level. 

But none of this should come as a surprise. As the French say “Plus ca change...”

Chris Gatt, Mqabba