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The Samstag Alumni

The 2006 Anne & Gordon Samstag
International Visual Arts Scholarships

Christine Aerfeldt | Andrew Best  | Pia Borg |
Claudia Chaseling |  Sean Cordeiro | Claire Healy


Pia Borg, whose black and white, six and a half minute animated film Footnote (2003) was nominated for the Palme d'Or in the 2004 official Cinéfondation selection at Cannes, shares with Andrew Best a predilection for non-conventional narrative modes. Informed by German Expressionist cinema and utilising traditional animation techniques, each frame is carefully composed from a montage that encompasses old photographs, found objects, human hair, scanned textures, dust, insects and discarded 16mm footage. Shunning the slickness of digitised animation, Borg expresses a preference for a 'dirty, junky aesthetic,' citing as influential the early experimental work of French filmmaker Georges Méliès.

Moody and evocative, her animations are imbued with a European sensibility and Footnote possesses some of the period atmospherics of Terry Gilliam's film Brazil (1985), although Borg's characteristically sooty realisation is more delicate and the handling of issues of social oppression, far lighter and more enigmatic. Musical scores, clocks, a metronome and dress patterns function as signifiers of constraint or control, as a small boy ineptly attempts to play a piano. Upstairs an odd choreography - derived from the robotic movement of the workers on the factory floor in Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1926) - is affectingly enacted by mannequin figures against a backdrop of grinding machinery, dress forms and spinning spools of thread.

The soundtrack is minimal - the monotonous beat of a metronome, the occasional plucking of a piano note, the tap of a fingernail on a keyboard and the climactic moment, at which the mannequin begins to dance to the boy's surprisingly fluid piano rendition of dance notation, achieves a real poignancy.

Topical themes of immigration and mandatory detention propel the very short allegorical film animation 15281 (2003) and Borg's latest project, When Objects Dream, synthesises live action with animation in a commissioned film about the phenomenon of dementia/memory loss.

Wendy Walker
 from her Samstag catalogue essay;
The memorable: ephemeral

Pia Borg
Born 1977, Melbourne, Victoria
2006 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
MA (Animation), Royal College of Art, London, UK
2003 Post-Graduate Diploma in Animation, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne 
1998 Bachelor Of Commerce, University of Melbourne, Melbourne
website  
  vimeo.com/piaborg

 

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