[ISEA2011] Paper: Carla Drago – Nostalgia Ti Frega


Nostalgia Ti Frega is a photographic exploration of memory, identity, and place focusing on the emigrant community of a Sicilian village destroyed by an earthquake 40 years ago. The project, being completed as part of a Doctorate of Creative Arts at the University of Technology, Sydney, aims to capture a sense of the virtual space the village now inhabits within the community, the memories and stories that form this space, and the role of photographs in its construction. The intention is to create photographic objects, both digital and analog, that depict and engage the community of villagers and their descendents, and allow them to interact with and experience a sense of the ‘village’ today.

This presentation outlines the key influences across disciplines that have shaped the creative practice, and showcases a work-in-progress prototype of the final, hybrid, digital/analog product. Influences include Svetlana Boym’s work on nostalgia (2001) and Paul Connerton’s work on modern society and memory (1989, 2009). Investigations in the area of material culture and ethnography, examining the role of objects in the development and understanding of self, identity and emotion, have also contributed. Daniel Miller’s research into the material cultures of contemporary British life (2008), Sherry Turkle’s work on evocatively potent objects (2007) and Greg Nobel’s insights into containment and the cumulative self (2008, 2009) are key points of reference. Another important factor has been the use of user-centred design principles from the User Experience field of digital media. Developing out of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) discipline of Computer Science, UX principles are concerned with the affect (or emotional impact) on users when using digital products. Donald J. Norman’s work on product design (2002, 2004) and the hybrid digital/analog work of Brendan Dawes (2007) are examples that have informed the project’s direction. And finally, Through showcasing the creative process of an artwork that is specific to a time, a people, and a place, and which traverses both analog and digital mediums, this presentation explores the ways in which ideas across different disciplines can be drawn on to create a bespoke and relevant framework within which to conduct creative practice.

  • Carla Drago is a new media creative director and producer with a background in writing and directing for film and television. Her award-winning film and television credits include The Vegetable Mob, a documentary about her Sicilian relatives and their passion for tomatoes, Susie Is a Fiah, about Susie Maroney’s first failed attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida, Island Style, a documentary which examines young Polynesians and hip-hop culture, and Above The Dust Level, a short comedy about neurotic apartment dwellers. She has also directed episodes of television drama, and was a co-creator and writer on the SBS developed comedy-drama series Fat Tuesday. While completing a Masters of Interactive Multimedia at the University of Technology, Sydney, Carla began working in new media, producing interactive television for Austar’s subscription TV service, providing creative direction and writing for Telstra’s Integration Lab, and producing a range of web-based interactive projects including BigPond’s Viiv Movie Download service, which was nominated for an Interactive Emmy Award, and Reach Out Central, an online interactive story/game that was awarded the International Why Games Matter Award. Carla has participated in a number of cross-platform innovation labs, in both Australia and the UK, and is currently completing a Doctorate of Creative Arts at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.carladrago.com

Full text (PDF) p. 704-709