Scenes from the Puppet World-
an Installation by Francesca Borgatta

February 2 - March 20, 2010

Figures from myth and dream are fashioned from re-cycled materials by Berkeley artist Francesca Borgatta. To build her puppets, Francesca Borgatta combines re-cycled materials with paper, textiles and  glue. She gives a figure a name and plays with it, adding new elements to define its character. When two or more puppets seem related, she builds a scene to hold them. She may write a dialogue to explain their predicament, and invite interaction with the audience.

The installation features both small and large-scale figures made from mixed materials, clay and papier mache. Some are placed in palanquins suspended from the ceiling, capable of limited motion in interaction with the observer. Effects can include lighting, projection, and audio tapes. The themes addressed in these constructions involve cultural identity, inter-personal communication, and achieving ecological awareness through the responsible use of natural resources.

The artist’s early training included theater and dance. She apprenticed with Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theater. As a rookie teacher with Inter-Action Trust on Adventure Playgrounds, she built sets and puppets for versions of Gulliver and Tempest. Borgatta studied Bharata Natyam, which combines gesture, song, and dance with T. Balasaraswati, and her brothers Viswa and Ranga, as well as Javanese Shadow Puppetry, where ritualized storytelling is performed with a gamelan orchestra at A.S.E.A - American Society for Eastern Arts. She likes to examine how traditional puppet forms appear in different cultures, and adapts these principles to her own puppet-making.