A Collective Impression It is a great privilege to introduce you, on behalf of the Dean and fellow Faculty members, to the 2022 BFA (Hons) in Digital Arts degree exhibition, organised by the Department of Digital Arts of the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences at the University of Malta. ‘Impression’, is an exhibition of work by a group of creative and hardworking students that brings together three years of intensive, experimental research and production. Over the years the BFA (Hons) in Digital Arts has been going from strength to strength and this year, like the previous ones, attests to the solid foundations that support this innovative course of studies. ‘Impression’ represents the culmination of a collective effort in Fine Art practice, combining a diverse range of media and art making approaches ranging from illustration, photography, 2D design and digital user interface design to 3D animation, character design, videography and mixed media installations.
The strong practice-based approach of the Department of Digital Arts allows for diverse exploratory processes, characterised by hybrid practices grounded in a visual arts tradition, located in a contextual, cultural and theoretical framework. The BFA (Hons) in Digital Arts collective exhibition showcases the unique creative work of our students, who always make us proud with what they manage to achieve during the course of studies and beyond, in their future artistic careers. I would like to thank the participating students, lecturers both resident and visiting, supervisors, examiners, administrative staff, cultural entities, collaborators and all the sponsors for making this special occasion possible. Dr Trevor Borg Head of Department of Digital Arts http://www.edu.mt/maks/digitalarts
DR TREVOR bORG
Foreword from Dr Trevor Borg
Amy Grech Pirotta
BFA Class of 2022
Kelly Scerri de Carlo
Giulia Cicero Santalena
Product Design in Soft Drink Bottles Amy is an ambitious person always searching to learn new skills. Echoing her own characteristic focus on innovation, Amy created a unique brand for her dissertation. The exercise was a challenge for her design abilities, which led up to a Malta inspired soft drink brand. Amy’s dissertation aims to create a new and exciting way of purchasing soft drinks in Malta through a fictitious brand - whose product and graphic design is inspired by old Maltese soft drink bottles; using the help of both foreign and local participants to understand what design is the most appealing. Featuring the idea of customisation, she manages to enhance the soft drink experience, giving consumers the ability to customise the beverage itself from its flavour to the amount of fizz.
Maltese Prehistory through digital learning strategies Amy is a creative individual who strives to learn more about the world around her. She likes to experiment with a variety of artistic techniques, making her work diverse and flexible. She has always felt compelled to share her expertise with anybody who comes across her path, particularly those younger than her. Amy’s dissertation aims to combine entertainment and educational content for young students through an online platform. The platform takes its shape as a prototype, displaying a guided narrative by a character named Timmy. Timmy discovers a cabinet containing different anthropomorphic artifacts derived from the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta. Information about Maltese prehistory is here presented in an interactive format, displaying games, activities, videos, and ‘Q&A’. The goal is to implement an effective strategy for relocating learning outside the museum context and into the real world - providing access anywhere and at any time.
c h r i stian b u g ej a
Designing a Modern, Serif Typeface Inspired by Art Deco Christian is a designer who takes a minimalistic approach to his work. He regularly features the bold and iconic less-is-more technique one by nature optimal for visual communications. His interest in typography led him to design a unique typeface for his dissertation. Christian’s dissertation explores the art of typography and aims to integrate different design elements to create a beautiful typeface for print advertising. The main inspiration stems from the Art Deco period, known for its lavish design and decorative elements. Typography from this period generally consists of sans serif lettering, which means that typefaces do not have any small strokes at the end of their letters. The second source of inspiration comes from modern serif typography. Conversely, the key feature of serif typography is the hairline decorative stroke at the end of each stem. The project uses these two contrasting elements and combines them to create a beautiful display typeface that can be used for high end advertising purposes.
A LE S S I A CACCI A T O R E
MIRAR Alessia is an artist who uses an elegant and simplistic approach to her work. Her interest in the relationship between body and dress and its execution, and the act of wearing clothes, led to a series of photographs reflecting on the subject. Alessia’s dissertation explores the gender presentation assigned to the sexes based on their natal sex, constraining their image based on their physical appearance. This study explores the constructs of body and dress and consecutively attempts to reconstruct fluidity in order to blur the fashion rules between males and females. The final body of work will exhibit a publication, including a series of photographs imitating the researched timeline of how social constructs came to be, followed by their deconstruction, with an emphasis placed on hyperfeminine and hypermasculine garments these gender norms are still most prominent in society.
Online Branding in the Hospitality Industry Abigail has always considered herself a creative individual and art has always been a passion of hers. In recent years her focus has shifted from traditional to digital art. Graphic design, illustration, and branding are among her primary interests. Her love of branding and graphic design inspired her to create a brand for a local boutique hotel. Abigail’s dissertation explores how local hotels and lodging businesses have adapted to online marketing. For businesses in the hospitality industry, where bookings are almost entirely made online, online branding has become a gamechanger. Her study, which focuses on smaller hotels with limited marketing budgets, looks into the aspects of a brand that produce the best results, resulting in a strategy for smaller hotels on how to make the most of their resources. The findings were then used to create a project for a fictitious local boutique hotel called, which included creating an appealing brand and website prototype.
G I U LIA C I CEr O S A N TALENA
Interior design and hybrid national identities Giulia discovered her passion for design 4 years ago and since then, she hasn’t stopped creating. Communicating what she sees through her lens or creates on her screen, her work strives to speak to those who can relate to it. Giulia’s dissertation intends to merge Maltese and Sicilian identities through the creation of CENTONOVANTA, prototype app proposing for users to plan the furnishing for any indoor environment using augmented reality. The concept of hybrid national identity is explored in Giulia’s project, as well as its relation to interior design and its virtual application in the real world through augmented reality. The design process brought together the issues raised in tackling the question of which visual elements might contribute to the creation of national identity and where they can be found in Malta and Sicily. To do so, it was essential during her last year of her studies to carefully observe, and then photograph, every visual element that could be useful for the reconstruction of both Maltese and Sicilian identities.
Translating the Baroque into Contemporary Digital Art Carlos is an artist who discovered his passion for art-making at a young age. He is often very perfectionistic about detail in his work, hence his admiration for Baroque. In this project, he aims to confirm that Baroque is not anachronistic, rather, it can still be a source of inspiration even in today’s multicultural social climate. Carlos’s project aims to confirm that Baroque is not a decadent form of art, rather it provides an everlasting flow of ideas and techniques that may flourish even today. Baroque art itself was intended to be a dramatic and highly expressive form of art and so, through his contemporary art practice, Carlos tries to translate this into new and innovative images that evoke the Baroque idiom. This project will also compare and contrast Baroque art with other art styles from other cultures and will attempt to intertwine varied visual art-styles and forms into new and original hybrid styles by means of both traditional and digital art making.
Consulting the muse Ian is an artist driven by concept. The writings and visuals he makes are ever varying, changing up to accommodate his interests. Following a period of initial curiosity over the symbiotic relationship between personal creative nature and media consumption, Ian decided to investigate this inward dynamic firsthand. In practice-as-research, Ian spent the duration of his dissertation investigating fiction as a stimulus for visual expression. As a result, his final installation intends to merge the process of inspiration and creation into one visual experience, displaying a final artwork internally woven with its primary sketches and quotes from fiction. On this journey of study, Ian consulted the work of phenomenological philosophers, literary theorists, and a surrounding context of artists and writers.
Packaging the Person Martina has had a passion for art for as long as she can remember. She uses illustration, design and photography to express herself and deliver meaningful messages. Her dissertation is a personal project exploring the concept of beauty within society, inspired by her own experience living with a skin condition. Martina used her dissertation to understand what beauty is - looking at cosmetics adverts and campaigns and how these shape our opinions and implying unrealistic beauty standards for us to follow. By focusing her research on her personal experiences living with a visible condition, she translated its sociocultural aspect into creating a brand. Taking a tongue in cheek approach, Martina produced branding and packaging to market her own self as a product. Using the Maltese phrase ‘Minni Hekk’ she encourages viewers to embrace and flaunt their flaws as she does in the brand’s campaign shoot.
RH EA FENECH
Vivid Movement Rhea has a passion for dance which she incorporated into her dissertation by combining it with photography and branding. She has been dancing for all her life and one day wishes to open her own studio. She decided to use this project as her first step in doing so. In this project, Rhea analyzed the possibility of creating a brand identity, focusing on the logo, solely extracted from light painting techniques. The project included photographing dance movement through the use of light painting to capture the essence of their movement and later create a logo representing it. Therefore, it focuses on the photography sector of digital arts as well as including some graphic design elements. The idea of creating a logo from photographs was explored and later reviewed to see whether it is a possible concept for future research.
AM Y g re c h pi rotta
Ayanna Amy’s passion for creativity is mirrored in her work. Her meticulous attention to detail and fierce work ethic are what enable her to take an idea from conception all the way through to a fully fledged brand, ready to rock the marketplace. Amy’s dissertation explores integrated marketing communication & brand identity as critical components for brand success. By adapting the ‘Successful Brand Communication Egg’ marketing model, start-up businesses are now provided with a tool for establishing brand equity through cohesive communication of a brand’s message across all brand touch points. This is put to practice through the establishment of ‘Ayanna’- a selfcare brand, rooted in natural Maltese resources. Ayanna’s core brand message is to be eco-friendly and customer focused. This is especially evident through the website’s product customisability feature, which allows clients to personalise product’s to match their lifestyle.
Exploring Frame Rates in Relation to Perception and Narrative Eneh pursued digital arts out of love for animation. What started out as an appreciation for the animation medium spiralled into a lifelong passion, encompassing illustration, story-telling, and character design. It is this multifaceted nature of art which lit something in Eneh that still continues to burn. Frame rate has always been a vital element of animation in conveying action and showcasing movement. In their dissertation, Eneh aims to investigate how varying frame rates affect narrative and audience perceptions through the creation of an animated short depicting a personal journey. Having created two versions of the animation: one with a fixed frame rate and another with a varying frame rate, audience reactions were documented on which version of the animation proved more effective at conveying the narrative. Eneh’s dissertation aims to relay the results of this research.
In Touch with Reality Sherise is a designer with a passion for editorial and graphic design. Through her art she aspires to discuss and express significant and current issues that leave an imprint on the self. This was reflected in the route she took for her project. Sherise’s dissertation is inspired by the intricate link we have with our self-image, self-esteem, and social comparisons. This investigation sheds light on detrimental effects of social comparison on one’s self-image on social media and how social media serves as a façade for what lies underneath. Numerous data fragments gathered from observations of specific social media sites significantly impacted the project’s work and process. Social media users who shared some enlightening thoughts on the issue were given a voice. These thoughts were blended with photography and graphic design, with the photos exposing the real world that individuals seek to conceal on social media. Photography and graphic design techniques are combined to create engaging and inspirational posters encouraging people to be themselves.
The Arts as a Catalyst for Positive Transformation Photography and artistic direction are Amy’s two main areas of interest. She has always believed that being an artist necessitates a certain level of authenticity. During this phase of inquisitiveness about her sexuality, she decided to deconstruct and reconstruct the self via artistic expression. Amy’s Dissertation aims to investigate the ways in which people might use art and music to reflect on their experiences and develop new forms of creative expression. She was able to change her sexual uncertainties into something creative and expressive via practice-based research and journaling. Additionally, she explored the subconscious mind and how to perceive it effectively. She wrote eight songs and four poems leading up to an album consisting of three songs that deeply address the self. Finally, she narrowed her concentration to a single song and directed the accompanying music video.
kel ly s ce r r i de ca r lo
The Physicality of Happiness What drives Kelly’s work is a concept. Her focus on the journey of creating rather than the final work is what inspires her to create. Making use of found objects or crafted materials, she hopes to create works that serve a purpose and are of help to others. Kelly’s dissertation focuses on the journey of creating ‘the physicality of happiness’. Making use of an auto-ethnographic approach she finds what happiness means to her. Her use of crafted materials and found items help her create what she finds to be a safe space. Her research on the philosophy of ‘ma’ as well as the thought process behind many surrealist artists and movements gave her the inspiration she needed to create this installation. Throughout her process she has learned more about her inner child and has also found peace in repetition as consistency is what gives her safety.
A fantasy short film inspired by Maltese folklore Bradley is a storyteller with an interest in film and visual effects. This project has allowed him to explore the universal feeling of the need to belong, while also learning more about his country’s folklore. He hopes that this short film brings more awareness to forgotten aspects of Maltese culture. Bradley’s dissertation is aimed at documenting a number of Maltese legends and mythical creatures, and updating them to a modern day setting. Using the short film medium, Bradley takes a closer look at the ways in which people think about culture, its relation to identity, and the need to belong. This dissertation takes inspiration from a mix of Greek based legends which have become part of Maltese folklore and legends unique to the islands. The short film “Huta Barra mill-Ilma” (Fish out of Water) uses a blend of live action and computergenerated imagery to bring to life the creatures that live in the Maltese mythos.
Second-Hand Identitites Martina is a creative who sees herself as a jack of all trades and a master of none. Her work is concept driven, with the goal of telling a story. The work also seeks to highlight the importance of the mundane details of life. Martina’s dissertation deals with the communication of clothes, specifically second-hand clothes. It investigates how second-hand clothing, which is already imbued with the former owner’s story and identity, provides the second-hand owner with similar identity. Furthermore, it also investigates how branding and visual identity can also express characteristics and values for a brand. This dissertation aims to merge these two semiotic methods in order to convey the same message or identity.
MICHaeL STIL ON
Challenging Female Gender Stereotypes Through Games Michael is a traditional artist with an evolving passion for digital media. His interests lean towards storytelling and character illustration. By involving the creation of a card game, his dissertation granted an opportunity for him to explore the digital illustration medium. Michael’s dissertation has taken the approach of exploring games and female gender stereotypes being portrayed in life and games. Employing parts of the acquired research and design methods, he aims to develop a game that can challenge such stereotypes in a unique but grounded way that follows closely to his research and references.
FR A N CES CA V E L LA
BLARE Francesca is a creative with a passion for branding. By taking into consideration current contexts and social issues, Francesca creates brands which people can relate with. She believes this to be the most important characteristic a brand can have to attract their target audience. Francesca’s dissertation delves into gender stereotypes which are being reinforced through marketing and branding campaigns and results in a new wave of branding which values equality at its core and neglects any form of targeted marketing towards a particular gender. The final project is a set of brand guidelines for a fictitious brand named BLARE which is an NGO that promotes equality in educational institutions and practices what it preaches. Design has been used as a research method in order to accomplish a new approach to marketing and branding campaigns. This was done in efforts to kickstart an educational process through which designers start realising the subtleties of possible discriminatory elements in their designs.
A Syndrome Through Colours Estelle knew from the beginning that her passion for art and creativity would lead her to pursue her dream field as an illustrator and designer. Being very self-driven and employing out-of-the-box concepts, she jumped on to this opportunity to focus her dissertation on a profoundly personal topic. Estelle’s dissertation focuses on her chronic condition ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ (IBS). She explores how this condition poses various challenges that can be intertwined with art practice to allow for further knowledge relating to the syndrome. Aiming to discover how she can translate the challenges it brings into creative artistic practice, this project attempts to illustrate, communicate, and reconfigure aspects of IBS syndrome. Various audiences are encouraged to come up with alternative meaning-making and interpretive strategies, playfully and experimentally. Documenting everything that she experiences in a visual journal through the use of colour coding, she manages to capture this medical condition into several specific personal illustrations, combining them into one. An internal condition brought out and translated externally through visual data.
Non Linear Narrative in video games Jeanluc is an artist mainly specialising in storytelling. In his project he aims to experiment with a different method he could use to deliver a narrative - utilising the interactivity of the video game medium as a manipulator for narrative progression. Jeanluc’s dissertation aims to take storytelling in video games to a new level by creating a narrative which could take a different direction depending on the actions taken by the player during gameplay. The project’s hypothesis was to find methods to intertwine narrative and gameplay whilst maintaining a streamlined development structure. This was carried out by observing the methods used by other similar games and developer suggestions and applying the findings to the creation of a proof-of-concept prototype.
T HE T EAMS
Acknowledgements Impression is the culmination of our three intensive years at University. This collective exhibition is the lasting impression we aim to leave - inspired by our own experiences, to hopefully inspire new ones to come. From the pandemic to Zoom lectures and adapting to a new normal, our glitched University experience is what inspires this exhibition. Impression showcases both the individual and joint efforts of the 21 BFA Digital Arts students who are set to graduate in 2022. During our course we gained knowledge in theory and practice as well as mastered new skills using different media while adapting to major changes and a completely new way of life - it is the render of our perseverance and passion for the arts. For the past year we have been working on our dissertations and each project that is on display here is the result of each student’s hard work and dedication. Every project is unique and reflects its maker’s talents, skills and ideas. Practices ranging from illustration and design to animation and videography through which several topics issues were tackled.
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the help of our lecturers, who guided us along the way. A special thank you to Dr. Trevor Borg, Prof. Vince Briffa, Prof. Noellie Brockdorff, Dr. Matthew Galea and Dr.Adnan Hadziselimovic for their patience and help throughout the process initiating from idea generation to the final execution of this exhibition. We are also grateful to the University of Malta and the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences for providing us with the venue and supporting our event. Last but not least we would like to thank all of our sponsors, without whom we would not have managed to launch such a special event. Canon, Avantech, Brand WGN, The Oven, ILab, Proofreading Malta, Malta Proofreading, Juwill, J.Grima & Co LTD, Bloom, Palmyra, Luris, iCentre, Artz ID, Times of Malta, Think Magazine, UM Newspoint, Freehour, Ta’ Fonzu, Creative Studios, Snap and Print.
BFA Honours in Digital Arts Final Year Exhibition 2022
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