Brain Square

All Ages

6pm till midnight

St George’s Square

The heart of Valletta will be transformed, stunning artworks and exhibitions celebrating the magnificence of our brain.

The brain is this year’s festival theme. It’s complexity, beauty and scientific rapture will be expressed through artworks and exhibitions, and discussed with world leading neuroscientists and neurosurgeons. The human brain has over 100 billion neurons sending signals that help us speak, move, work and play. The exquisite intricacy means that things can go wrong with remarkable consequences. As you enter the square, two giant neurons will welcome you why not stop, see what they have to say?

In the square’s centre the Kummettiva dance performance fuses traditional Maltese dance with Alzheimer’s disease. The performance describes this complex disease through a visual story and national cultural identity. The music and the dance around the maypole will represent various lifetimes, the creation of experiences and memories, and their decline in old age. Performed in traditional Maltese Folkloric costumes from the 18th century, the dancers will be tying objects to colourful ribbons on the Maypole representing memories throughout their life. This happy ‘dance of life’ will see ribbons come together, locking in memories. At the same time they reflect the intertwining and interconnecting neurons in our brain. The dance ends with a twist, one you will have to discover for yourselves on the night. The Kummettiva dance performance is performed by the Paul Curmi Dance Company.

Under the arches of the Grandmaster’s Palace, science fiction will become reality with the Brainrave installation. Imagine if you could play the role of a conductor without waving a baton? Or make lights appear just by thinking about it? With Brainrave these things are possible. Interactive artists Andrew Schembri and Toni Gialanzé have teamed up to create Late Interactive. This collaboration gives the public the possibility to wear an EEG headset which will translate brain waves into music ranging from atmospheric synths to pounding rave beats. The music generated by the participants will in turn be accompanied by stunning visuals generated in real time, onto an array of 3,840 LEDs. See

Malta’s mental health care providers will be at the festival with the Evolution of Psychiatry exhibition by Mount Carmel Hospital. The exhibition takes visitors back to the 16th century, showcasing how mental health conditions were treated by the Knights of St John, the atrocious practices they exposed their patients to in Floriana and how it is in stark contrast to today’s modern care, with a vision for the future. Equipment that was used through out the years will be displayed along with a recording, featuring the history of psychiatry in Malta. An actor will be animating the exhibition— a first for Malta.

On a practical level, the Malta Association of Psychiatric Nurses will have an area where visitors can chat about their services. The nurses will be available to discuss anything you would like to know about mental health.

Rounding off the activities in the square is well known radio host Dorian Cassar who will host a brain show: talks by world leading neuroscientists and neurosurgeons, with themed music:

7.15pm — Alzheimer’s and the Mediterranean Diet by Dr Neville Vassallo
7.45 pm — Stroke and our 3D brain by Prof. Mario Valentino and Dr Christian Zammit
8.30 pm — ‘Meta l-Mohh jitlef hinu’ by Dr Charles Scerri
9.15 pm — Fortuneteller Brain by Prof. Ludvic Zrinzo
10.15 pm — From Marijuana to Depression by Prof. Giuseppe De Giovanni

Enter the historic Grandmaster’s palace, pass Brainrave to see Raphael Vella’s Cortex (scientific adviser: Prof. Mario Valentino). The installation is a transparent sculpture, made of twelve thin acetate sheets that looks like a human brain, but is actually composed of twelve brain slices of different mammals: goats, horse, Rhesus monkey and a Californian sea lion. A slice of human brain is also included, but which one is it? What makes the human being stand out among fellow creatures? And what makes us similar to other animals? This sculpture helps viewers reflect on how we evolved from other mammals.

In the Triton fountain courtyard, Richmond Foundation Malta are hosting an art exhibition by some of their members. The foundation aims for better mental well being, addressing the prevention of mental health problems, and provides support for a better quality of life.

This area will blow your mind and should definitely not be missed!

Science Man