My essentials: Rachelle Deguara’s cultural picks

No 74 | Rachelle Deguara, 26, Multidisciplinary Artist 

1. Book

‘The Compass of Pleasure’ by neuroscientist David Linden. It maps out the brain’s relationship with pleasure and addiction. It made me understand what happens in the brain when addictions and intractable habits present themselves and that addicts are not weak, defective human beings lacking willpower. They are people with chemically deficient brains. I picked it up to further my knowledge of how neurobiology can help theatre makers/choreographers engage better with an audience when exploring the subject of pleasure vis-à-vis pain.

2. Film

‘La classe operaia va in paradiso’ (1971) by Elio Petri. It made me question my father’s relationship with trade unions when he used to work at the Malta Dockyard. I watched it when I was around 17, and it was a point of realisation that you couldn’t have environmental rights without fundamental human rights first. I remember my priorities changed after I watched that film.

3. Internet/TV 

The Dhru Purohit Podcast of Spotify. He interviews people from the wellness, medicine and mindset fields and up until now, I learned from the podcast how to eat intuitively, exercise without causing stress on my body, meditate, care for myself according to my menstrual cycle, have more energy, and ask the right questions when I’m at the doctor’s office.  Other content I frequent is Bis-Serjeta’s blog, Maya Dimitrijevic’s TikTok, Jon Malia’s podcast, Sandra’s Gauci ABS news and Mark Camilleri’s blog. Recently I discovered Matthew Vella’s blog, and I subscribed.

4. Music

The newly released album ‘Vaganza’ by Micheal Azzopardi. The kind of album you’ll enjoy listening to from the beginning to the end. I especially enjoyed Il-Ballu, which evoked the same feelings as Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. ‘Urbanali’ by Noah Fabri is also a favourite, but I’m biased because I’m featured on it on two songs and enjoyed the process so much.

5. Place

My favourite place is the El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which started as a theatre in 1919. It had a brief stint as a cinema before architect Fernando Manzone transformed it into the stunning bookstore it is today in 2000. I visited it in 2018, and I’m still enchanted by just visiting the memory of me browsing the books and looking at the architecture—a transcendental experience.