BFA (Hons) in Digital Arts - Ctrl Z Catalogue 2020

Page 1

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Arts Degree Exhibition 2020 29th May

foreword On behalf of the Dean and fellow Faculty and Department members, I would like to introduce you to CTRL Z, the Degree Exhibition of the BFA in Digital Arts, a degree organised by the Department of Digital Arts of the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences, University of Malta. This is the fifth BFA in Digital Arts degree exhibition, and is the completion of three years of intensive research and production by a group of young and talented individuals who, for the last three years, have worked hard in establishing a solid foundation for their future career in the creative arts.

due to this year’s COVID-19 restrictions. It is our pleasure to invite you to experience the work of such young and aspiring talent, which recognises the conceptual and creative transformation now occurring in visual arts and design practices, and which, through the ubiquity of the digital medium, is constantly redefining the intersection between Art, Design and Media. The challenging and innovative creations presented in this exhibition are rooted in a well-informed research framework and built on established traditions of making, while also harnessing the immense potential of current emerging technologies.

CTRL Z is different than previous BFA Degree Exhibitions, as it will happen only online

This exhibition would not have been possible were it not for the dedicated input of all the

participating students who not only have accomplished their final projects and dissertations, but have this year taken on the extra challenge of designing the exhibition platform and moving all their work into the digital realm. A big well done to the whole group for such an achievement. I would like to also thank the resident members of the department, who in spite of all the challenges that 2020 has brought with it, have admirably provided guidance, support and much more to the students in order to make this event a success.

course. To our visiting artists, collaborators and industry practitioners who have kept our students in touch with the real world out there, and to the academic supervisors and examiners who have dedicated their valuable time to see that our students’ work is fairly credited. Last but not least I would like to thank all the sponsors of the exhibition for believing in the course and for their generous backing. We sincerely thank all of you for making this occasion a success.

To the visiting academics and administrative staff who have given their utmost in providing the much-needed backup and expertise to cover the wide spectrum demanded by the

Vince Briffa

Ctrl Z is a collective digital arts exhibition that features our final dissertations and respective artistic projects. Every artist has personally designed and curated a variety of elements that come together in an intricate and meticulously planned art project, that is backed by thorough research in the respective field. No two projects are the same, as each revolves around a subject that the artist is personally passionate in pursuing, expressed through their preferred medium/media of choice. The exhibition as a whole features a wide range of themes, amongst which are explored the topics of identity, duality, homelessness, LGBT relationships, video game and film adaptations, VR and fashion. There is an over-arching theme of questioning and delving into that which is deeply and innately human. Ctrl Z is an opportunity for each artist to showcase their skillset through a project they believe in, and which is the culmination of a year’s worth of trial and error, research, and dedication.

Exhibition website link-

Class of 2020















44-45 42-43




52-53 54-55

56-57 58-59






70-71 72-73




80-81 82-83

contents 14 - 15 Samuel Agius 16 - 17 Oliver Attard 18 - 19 Daniela Baldacchino 20 - 21 Chalise Bugeja 22 - 23 Luke Calleja 24 - 25 Anne Marie Camilleri

54 - 55 56 - 57 58 - 59 60 - 61 62 - 63 64 - 65 66 - 67 68 - 69 70 - 71

Sergio Laferla Francesca Longo Bjorn Micallef Giulia Micallef Jerome Micallef Emanuel Polidano Luigi Rizzo Jacob Saliba Vincianne Scerri

26 - 27 28 - 29 30 - 31 32 - 33 34 - 35 36 - 37 38 - 39 40 - 41 42 - 43 44 - 45 46 - 47 48 - 49 50 - 51 52 - 53

Gayle Casha Jeremy Cassar Kezia Cauchi Gaynor D’Amato Maria Degiorgio Francesca Falzon Maria Galea Adreana Gravino Neil Grech Hannah Grech Pirotta Braydon Grima Nina Heß Andrew Inguanez Lisa M Kähler

72 - 73 74 - 75 76 - 77 78 - 79 80 - 81 82 - 83

Amber Seychell Madeleine Tobin Francesco Vella Rakel Vella Emma Venables Celine Zarb

samuel agius Samuel is adept in both photography and animation, but he finds himself at ease when creating illustrations. He aspires to create works that engage audiences and coexist in a single universe, aiming to deliver a world full of life, with all its harmony and strife.

‘Preserving Identity Across Character Reinterpretation and Variation’ aims to understand the relationship between appearance and identity of 2D cartoon characters, and whether that particular identity is retained after they have been adapted for the 3D environment/universe. There is bound to be loss in translation across dimensions, and this project aims to create a 3D model of a character from a cartoon series, aiming for a new yet familiar reinterpretation.



oliver attard Oliver enjoys practicing his skill through classical media, while also investing time into experimenting with digital mediums. He finds enjoyment in interacting with live studies, as well as digitally creating concept art.

Oliver’s thesis aims to explore the relationship between plein air painting and concept art. It is a personal study done with both the intent to improve his own capabilities and to explore the connection between colour and atmosphere in an image. Plein air painting is a large part of his thesis and is the main study present throughout his methodology. Oliver hopes to create concept art which portrays the importance of his fine art studies as part of his final exhibition.



daniela baldacchino Daniela Baldacchino specialises in a fusion of simple, clean designs. Over the years she has experimented with both traditional and digital media. She aspires to create content that is visually striking through the use of simplistic designs that effectively narrate a story.

‘Nista’ Niftakar?’ explores the apparent relation that art and music therapy have to memory. This project explores the feeling of the loss and retrieval of a person’s identity through the use of sound and imagery. ‘Nista’ Niftakar?’ portrays how music and art help the elderly express and connect with their inner personal memories and emotions.



chalise bugeja Chalise Bugeja’s artistic journey has been an ongoing experience throughout her whole life. Predominantly working in the medium of graphic design, she specialises in creating modern branding concepts, editorial design, illustrations and photographic production.

Her project ‘Beyond’ is a visual production which aspires to improve the concept of normalization towards non-heterosexual identities in the Maltese media. This aesthetic project also aims to encourage a more progressive way of thinking as seen through her lens. It culminates in a collective short catalogue portraying three models (heterosexual and non-heterosexual), whose sexual identity remains unbeknownst to the viewer.



luke calleja Luke always had a passion for the arts. Working with both traditional and digital media has allowed him to flourish artistically. Through this project he aspires to creatively portray the affliction experienced by Maltese people during World War II.

‘Surviving the War: An Interpretation of the Will of A Disappearing Generation’ is a metaphorical visual representation of life during the war with particular focus on the emotional, mental and physical turmoil felt by the people of Malta together with the solace found in religion. Ultimately, it seeks to provide the viewer with a better understanding of what the people of Malta experienced between 1940 and 1942.



anne marie camilleri Anne Marie enjoys creating 2D animation, illustration and creating visual effects in videos. Focusing on digital art, she experiments with the subject matter of mainly fantastical themes based on realistic topics.

Her thesis ‘Illustrating the struggle of Mental Illness through Game Concept Art’ is about bringing awareness about mental illness and how one can cope with it. The idea behind this thesis is to visualise the pain that people go through and capturing them through illustrations that can help the viewer identify with the illness and have a better understanding of the effect that video games can have in the way that we look at this subject matter.



gayle casha Gayle has been passionate about the arts since childhood. Although her art education started by learning traditional art, such as portraiture, she later transitioned to digital media and found her passion for conceptual and contemporary art as well.

Her dissertation project, ‘Disclosed Identity’, explores the notion of identity and examines how this theme relates with personality. In this project, the concepts of self-portraiture and forensic science are merged together. It explores how portraiture can be showcased using methods from the forensic field, by using voice recordings, fingerprints, forensic sketches, surveillance footage and photography.



jeremy cassar Jeremy is interested in illustration and the art of comic books, and is deeply intrigued by the freedom one possesses in expressing oneself on a page.

In his dissertation project, he explores the subject of Maltese mythology and that of the Island’s folklore tales in the modern day and age. ‘The Maltese Bestiary’ is one rooted in the culture, customs and traditions of the Maltese Islands.This project is focused on the creation of a comic anthology readapting the creatures of old for a younger audience through Marouska Montebello’s writings about the creatures known as Sarangu and Selfjun.



kezia cauchi Kezia has a passion for Fine Arts, graphic design and marketing. She aspires to create works using both traditional and digital media, allowing audiences to engage with her true self through philosophical and personal perspectives.

Her dissertation revolves around her own personal phobia, nyctophobia, the fear of darkness. She focuses on the intention of trying to transform repulsive matters into artefacts which are enjoyable, primarily to herself but also to the general audience. Her viewers will experience an interactive space concerning lights, achievable only in pitch darkness, immersing them in a one of a kind experience.



gaynor d’amato Gaynor’s work explores the possibilities of contemporary graphic design with the amalgamation of illustration. The pieces Gaynor designs showcase a unique style that features colour and bold patterns as the main focus of exploration, although she does not limit herself by the media used. Creating something that has the ability to make people smile or that relates to them is one of the main goals when creating designs.

The dissertation project explores the topic of Gender Roles through detailed illustrations which will be part of a contemporary board game. The purpose of colour in this project is used to identify genders from all points of the spectrum, being that it represents ‘All genders and none’. It was important to create a light hearted and comical mood that balances out the harsh realities that surround us.



maria degiorgio Maria comes from a background in traditional Fine Arts. Over the three year course, she has adopted a graphical digital approach towards her work. Her work revolves around building a striking and harmonious balance between two contrasting and opposite elements.

‘Restoring the Maltese Culture Identity through Product Design’ is a project that aims at creating artefacts or designer products inspired by the Maltese identity. The artefacts reflect today’s contemporary Maltese identity made to fit the latest trends in contemporary interior designs. The products allow the local audience to embrace our Maltese culture and identity whilst also reconnecting with our Maltese roots through the surroundings of the interior of our homes.



francesca falzon Francesca is a young artist with a love for illustration and animation, and a desire to inspire and entertain those that see her work. She draws in a variety of styles, ranging from cartoon to realistic, and she renders her artwork in digital as well as traditional mediums.

‘Museum Chase’ is a board game which aspires to combine fun and facts to create a game that will entertain and teach players about Palazzo Falson in Mdina, Malta. Whilst playing as fun characters, players can learn facts about the original owner of the house, Captain Olaf Gollcher, and the plethora of artefacts he collected throughout his lifetime.



maria galea Design and visual arts student Maria Galea works on forming a practice which uses the mediums of video, photography and drawing.Her work explores human behaviour in their surroundings while creating an aesthetic narrative, juxtaposed with enigmatic elements.

Her dissertation revolves around gender, narrowing it down to the hypothetical question “What if Homosapiens had no genitals?�. Through the use of video as a preferred medium, she is hoping to get the viewers to immerse themselves in the installation and the Utopian world created, and to leave the space with an open mind and unanswered questions.



adreana gravino Adreana Gravino is a photographer, filmmaker and artist who is heavily inspired by cinema and fashion. Trying to find a balance between the two, she creates works that explore the worlds of Fine Arts and Western culture; making the pieces veritable visuals of colour and dreamscapes.

‘Dress Code’ is a short film tackling the concept of non-binary fashion. It is a visual battle with regards to individuality irrespective of gender, and hence a play on masculinity and femininity. This work dives into the ongoing combat between ‘nature versus nurture’ and how individuals are stereotypically placed into one single role, based not only on their biology and upbringing but also, on how they perceive themselves. It is a dance including gender and androgyny in relation to the role of fashion, clothing and one’s outwardly creativity. In this study, what one is accustomed to in a society will be broken down and swapped with the opposing ideal. This fashion film seeks to bring about a new perspective on individuality.



neil grech Neil merges passion photography and videography with design and art. His work is also inspired by the creation of liquid light shows and projections. Through his own media company ‘Nisġa’, he channels the above into the marketing world.

This study focuses on the interaction between performers and audiovisual projections. It is an understanding of the perceptual process of a performer and how the dancer fuses the elements of sound and vision to improvise movement and create a performance. This work explores and appreciates the feelings and emotions in time and space which are not always visible to an audience. The objective is to get any professional/ amateur dancer, or simply an audience, feeling inspired and falling into an expressive artistic mood.



hannah grech pirotta 20 year old Digital Arts student Hannah focuses on creating clean yet expressive graphic design and illustrations. Her minimalist design work strives to communicate clearly, and effectively, whilst balancing line work and shapes as a fresh approach to flat design.

Her dissertation project involves the creation of a thematic installation that exposes the reality of homelessness in Malta. This large scale infographic presents an individual’s direct experience with homelessness, showcasing her personal narrative and reflection on the events. A public service announcement of sorts that pushes the audience to reflect upon their value of “home� through current data, highlighted by individual narratives.



braydon grima

Braydon, for the most part, is a traditional media artist with a growing interest in graphic design. Influenced by his contemporaries, he aspires to create visually dynamic and captivating artworks.

His dissertation revolves around the common notion of time gradually accelerating with advancing age. He aspires to explore the potential contributors of such a frame of mind by outlining how ‘felt time’ changes. Subjective perception is felt to expand and contract due to factors that distort our feeling of duration, and the purpose of his research is to visually represent how said distortions ‘increase’ the pace of our lives.



nina heß

Nina grew up with a fascination for animation - which can bring to life anything the mind can imagine. With a background in illustration and character design, she learned the art of 2D and 3D animation to create her own characters and stories.

Nina’s dissertation explores how technological advancements, social media, and a change of societal standards have altered our way of communication, as well as self-perception. She is exploring how this affects the behaviour and mental health state of adolescents. The results of this research are illustrated in an animated short film titled ‘Always Online’.



andrew inguanez Andrew is deeply passionate about collage and photography. His current focus is exploring how found and original imagery can be stitched together and juxtaposed to create hand-cut analogue collages. Andrew strives to create work that pushes boundaries and sparks conversations around themes centred around human beings, nature and the relationship between the two.

‘Bejn Sema u Ilma’ aims to explore a chosen natural place and its landscape through subtle interactions and the performative act of walking. This project features footage, sounds, photographs and objects that were collected directly from the chosen place. As a reference to Robert Smithson, mirrors were used to interact with the landscape and to open the conversation about the body and place in collaboration with each other. Ultimately, ‘Bejn Sema u Ilma’ investigates a delicate interaction between body and place; how place influences our sense of identity and location, and how human beings alter and impact place and landscape. 50/92


lisa marie kähler

As a digital artist and animator, with a strong background in henna body art, Lisa is passionate about using colourful palettes and intrinsic designs, to express herself artistically, in whichever media she comes across and bonds with.

Her dissertation explores the implementation of a marketing technique for the creation of a stop-motion animated advert, that will recite a narrative through the use of coffee beans on a multi-plane surface.



sergio laferla

Sergio Laferla is a multidisciplinary artist that strives to combine different skill sets ranging from drawing, painting, animation and performance, to create strong audio visual work that carries a thought-provoking message.

The project ‘Voguing; Dancing at the Margins’ is based on the dance style of Voguing, originating in New York’s black lgbt+ community in the early 1970’s. This project aims to bring light on this niche dance culture that has evolved thoroughly since the early pioneers, both in its visual display of movement and music, and in its social context. A frame-by-frame animation will be portraying a creative breakdown of this dance.



francesca longo Francesca is a creative visual artist who strives to incorporate numerous styles and techniques to communicate and express ideas. Her work is mainly directed towards an illustrative style comprising of both digital and traditional methods combined with different media.

‘Beyond the Surface’ aims to explore the rich history of tattooing as well as the unique narrative aspect they hold. The project looks beyond what our eye see engraved on the surface of skin and better understand the undisclosed narratives and underlying meaning which unravel different interpretations and perspectives. She has done so through a series of interactive art pieces that encourage the viewers to create their own observation based on what is being presented.



bjorn micallef Bjorn Micallef is a digital artist and illustrator interested in telling stories with the use of animal characters. He works on personal projects as well as freelance, and has been tangentially associated with the online furry community for his contributions. He greatly considers and appreciates the relationship between the artist and dedicated fans and friends.

His thesis is titled ‘Anthropomorphism in character design’, with the stated goal of designing anthropomorphic animal characters to be used for story-telling. The project allows for the study of further examples in history and the other prolific artists who utilised anthropomorphic characters. It is an opportunity to understand why artists are intrigued by non-human characters, and use them to examine the human condition. Bjorn is fascinated by how his artistic focus has introduced him to a quirky fandom, and wants to explore the personal artist-to-enthusiast connection.



giulia micallef

Third-year Digital Arts’ student Giulia has a passion for illustration and graphic design. With an eye for detail and bright colours, she strives to create work that is imaginative, eclectic and whimsical.

Her dissertation revolves around British artist, David Hockney, with the aim to infuse the concept of duality that has been emphasised throughout his career — specifically targeting the painting “Portrait of An Artist (Pool With Two Figures)”. A striking sequential narrative will be produced that will communicate what goes on between sets of two individuals, from interactions with various relationships, as well as her own with Hockney, as an artist.



jerome micallef Jerome’s interests lie within the area of graphic design, specifically in branding, editorial design and illustration. He consistently approaches projects with a minimalistic mindset and design. Apart from the aforementioned, Jerome also has a strong interest in interior design.

The creation of a ​student complex ​based on the concept of space management and micro-dwellings was the main theme addressed in his dissertation project. His aim was to tackle the problem of expensive rent on our island, Malta, particularly when it concerns foreign students. Using the concept of minimalistic design and considering budget constraints, the ultimate deliverable was to provide an affordable and habitable environment in which students could live, relax and interact with one another.



emanuel polidano

Emanuel is an aspiring visual artist who is currently working with new media art. Specifically, exploring virtual reality as a medium that can be expressed in artistic forms.

This project is an exploration of how virtual reality, in combination with other technology, can give the viewer an interactive experience. He is intrigued by the notion of the ‘machine’ having its own existence, thereby instilling his VR project with a curious and innate duality. He is using this significant property to contribute towards the conceptual artistic value of the project.



luigi rizzo Luigi Rizzo is a digital visual designer. He mainly specialises in branding, graphic design, creative content creation and photography. ‘QUAD’ ​tackles identity reinforcement and self-accomplishment through a fitness mobile application.

The scope of the project is to investigate whether such an idea would motivate individuals to embark in a new fitness programme and subscribe to the gym. The fitness app would be linked to one specific gym environment via a fresh colour-coding system, and thus the main research conducted was primarily based on colour theory, perception of colour and UI/UX design. The project will be creating a brand new gym’s visual identity, which is connected to a mobile application that will serve as product design for the fitness centre.



jacob saliba

Jacob’s work explores the subjects of immersion, perception, emotion, social environments and music through tactile and immersive expressive work. He aims to create a dialogue between his work and the audience while making sure that his work encompasses an experience of its own.

‘Seeking Gesamtkunstwerk’ is a live AV performance which was built upon the principles of visual music perception and visual instrument building. The software-based audiovisual synthesiser enables the musician to create both musical and visual immersive live performances simultaneously, whilst reducing human response time errors and creating specific visual content for particular styles of music.



vincianne scerri

Vincianne is an aspiring illustrator who is interested in using character design and animation to present narratives.

This project seeks to combine analogue media with digital technology through the use of a picture storybook with superimposed animations and 3D models using Augmented Reality. The AR elements breathe life into the static book which helps to pique the interest and imagination of children to learn about Maltese animals and how to safeguard them with their own little ways.



amber seychell

Amber is an aspiring visual artist with an interest in anything human, from the expressionistic details of the human face, to the subconscious mind.

‘Portraiture, an in-depth study on self-portrayal and delineation’, explores the differentiation between how an individual opts to portray themselves to others as, in contrast to other’s perception of them. This is visualised through a series of six portrait installations. Each installation combines two portrait variants of the same person. One portrait is based on a friend’s description, whilst the other showcases a realistic representation of them, that also features the artist’s perception, based on their initial first meeting together.



madeleine tobin

Madi has been drawing since childhood, she grew up with a love for art and anything messy. She specializes in illustration and also enjoys creating 2D animations.

Madi’s dissertation explores the effects of the Cambodian genocide and showcases the timeline of events through an illustrated guide, exploring how we can inform people through art. She hopes to use the medium as a conversation instigator for topics people would normally avoid.



francesco vella Francesco​has a love for animation, character design and conceptual and abstract art. He aspires to continue learning while working on visual effects and understanding the art of animation.

Unconscious Realities​aims to discern dreams through three main elements, psychoanalysis, surrealism and technology. This project combines the software and hardware ‘Processing’ and ‘Arduino’ to operate it, as it concerns live random generation with every viewer. This design aims to capture someone’s unconscious thinking from a couple of questions, and then reflect it in a landscape collage generated randomly while constantly updating as it is affected by the questions. The result is a very subjective and personal experience.meeting together.



rakel vella Rakel Vella finds her interest in conceptual art of all sorts especially those that tackle contemporary issues. The interest stems from her various visits to contemporary museums and installations around Europe and her fondness for literary publication. In her work, Rakel gravitates towards basic and fundamental design elements combined with technological media including video, motion design and computer generated art.

One topic that she has been avidly researching is modern day surveillance in the age of capitalism. Her project features an interactive installation that is meant to sensitise the public on the management of online data.



emma venables Emma Venables’s work mostly consists of, but is not limited to, digital illustration. Through her work she explores the theme of surreal manifestation and the juxtaposition of common day objects and people reconfigured through intermittent design.

Her thesis, titled ‘Umani’, revolves around the concept of an art experience that doesn’t solely rely on visual tools. She is materialising this by creating an interactive multi-sensory artwork that focuses on the collaborative functionality of the human senses. She represents this theme through the amalgamation of the senses and their respective sensory organs through the use of both digital and physical artistic disciplines.



celine zarb Celine Zarb is a digital artist with a deep fondness for sharing stories and indulging in the narrative. Her work strives to breathe life into ideas and to connect with the viewer through her art. Celine expresses herself through animation, motion graphics and illustration.

Her dissertation aims to explore character development through the concept of duality by reimagining the character of Peter Pan. The work centres around the deep disconnect between who Pan was written to be and who he is seen as today. She explores the facets of his identity in order to recreate a new version of the character that represents his duality of form (his gender representation), and his duality of self (his personality’s evolution). This project aims to represent these struggles through multiple pieces that emass in an interactive installation that is driven by traditional 2D animation.




The journey of curating the Ctrl Z exhibition was challenging and convoluted, yet it brought with it an immense sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. We have achieved a great deal by trusting and relying on one another, however we could not have enacted this feat so thoroughly without the support we received, and we would like to express our reverence. Firstly, to Dr. Trevor Borg and Dr. Matthew Galea, who did their utmost to guide and inform our process. To Mr. Ryan Sammut, who graciously offered his expertise and paved the way towards our online presence. We thank Prof. Vince Briffa and Dr. Adnan Hadziselimovic, who have been a positive and supportive influence throughout. We owe a great deal to our lecturers over the years, who have not only educated us, but sought to help us grow as people. A number of organisations believed in Ctrl Z, and chose to support us through sponsorships and exposure. Thank you for pushing us and our projects forward. Last, and most certainly not least, to our audience, who has followed and bolstered us from the start. We are incredibly humbled by your overwhelming interest and support. We could not have done this without you.

The Ctrl Z Team