Skip to main content


Curatorial School Workplan for 5-days in Valletta, Malta

Posted August 10th, 2017 by SFUFF in General

Love, Memory and Public Spaces (Fay Darmawi, San Francisco)

How do people fall in love with their public spaces? Can the re-interpretation of a public space as a gathering space to witness, enjoy, or produce art result in a more intimate space that produces stronger social bonds than if the space was left alone? Will the memory of such an event compel you to return more often to the public space absent an art-related intervention? Does the type art intervention and who is given the power to curate the art matter? If so, in what ways?

I am most familiar with the art of film and curating films in high-concept themed film festivals at the intersection of urbanism and storytelling. This is the work I have been focused on as the Founder and Executive Producer of the SF Urban Film Fest (SFUFF). Because urban planning in the United States is entangled with politics and power, the SFUFF themes have focused on how space determines social equity and vice versa. The art and film produced that examine these questions of power and place range from very personal narratives to surveys of specific social movements. In these ways, film is one of the most social of all art forms.

Because of budget constraints, SFUFF’s dream of curating films projected onto public spaces has not been realized. During the weeklong Valletta 2018 Curatorial School, I would like to work on a proposal for a film festival that occurs only in public spaces around San Francisco through which I can examine the question of how communities come to love their public spaces, can that love propel social movements to safeguard local culture, and can film act as a catalyst toward achieving these goals.

If time and Valletta 2018 Curatorial School’s budget permits, I would be happy to organize a film screening (or series of short films) and moderate a panel discussion on a topic the students and instructors are interested in within the vanguard of urban planning. It would be optimal to screen in an outdoor space perhaps on the University of Malta campus, to allow for non-students (i.e. tourists, city dwellers, commuters, etc.) to randomly join us. This event could function as a trial for a future large scale public space film festival in San Francisco.