Malta 2024, 20 Apr 2024 — 24 Nov 2024
National Participations

Malta 2024

The project explores human existence and survival through the lens of historical ex-voto ship graffiti and contemporary digital artistry.

Arsenale, Arsenale, Castello, 30122, Venice, Italy

Title: I Will Follow the Ship

Commissioner: Arts Council Malta, Ministry for National Heritage

Curators: Sara Dolfi Agostini, Elyse Tonna

Artist: Matthew Attard

The Maltese pavilion at the 60th International La Biennale Arte 2024 presents I WILL FOLLOW THE SHIP, a solo project by Maltese artist Matthew Attard (b.1987). Curated by Maltese curator Elyse Tonna (b.1990) and Italo-American curator Sara Dolfi Agostini (b. 1983), it is commissioned by Arts Council Malta. It explores the intersection of digital technology and contemporary drawing. Attard’s ongoing exploration of drawing with an eye-tracking device and with digital technology challenges conventional notions of artistic practice.

I WILL FOLLOW THE SHIP, located within the Artiglierie at the Arsenale, immerses visitors in a multi-layered digital installation that overlaps physical and virtual environments. It draws inspiration from historical ex-voto ship graffiti; humble drawings depicting ancient tales of faith and survival across the Mediterranean. The ship graffiti, maritime ex-votos some of which are found on the facades of wayside chapels in the Maltese Islands, are metaphors for hope and tangible drawings of faith and resilience. They are believed to have been created by seafarers seeking solace and protection from the dangerous seas.

Led by the youngest team to ever represent Malta at the Venice Biennale, it further aims to provoke questions on humanity’s engagement with artificial intelligence and digital realms. Attard’s innovative use of a digital eye-tracking device for drawing therefore establishes a dialogue between these graffiti etched in stone and contemporary digital art forms. It is presented as a series of walls – both tangible and equally technological – creating multiple parallels and provoking reflections on authorship and on our ongoing blind faith in the use of technology and data. Rather than relying on common-day contemporary software to generate new imagery, the project dissects various processes employed by digital technology, through a meticulous unfolding of the eye-tracking process.

By examining historical imagery as a way of drawing with the eye movement data of the eye-tracking, Attard prompts reflections on authorship and our contemporary reliance on digital technology creating parallels questioning our future and our unwavering trust in digital technology. It invites discourse on artistic agency, image-making and offers a critical exploration of contemporary challenges and possibilities.

Contacts & Details


Apr 20 – Sept 25 Tue – Sun, 11am – 7pm
Sept 27 – Nov 24 Tue – Sun, 10am – 6pm

Arsenale, Arsenale, Castello, 30122, Venice, Italy
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