Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Digital – Pause Fest 2011

Published:  November 18, 2011
Bonnie Abbott

Beyond its comprehensive programming, its balance of physical and digital events, the quality of venues and technical aptitude, Pause Fest was a success largely because it understood its audience.

Co-founder George Hedon has spent the last 12 months building Pause in the hours around his full-time job, which just happened to suit the hours of his greatest supporters. “We have received so much interest internationally – working with Vimeo who were really excited, the guys at Soundcloud, contributions from amazing talent – but it was so difficult to stir up any interest in Australia.” This is testament to the cult of motion – the community is at its strongest online – self-publishing, working, exploring – the spirit of participation and sharing is indifferent to borders. Pause Fest celebrated this exchange but the successes it enjoyed could have been greater, the pressure on it’s sacrificial organisers lessened, with a show of imagination from its host city.

While the festival contained the content one would expect, there was a recurring theme coming from organisers, contributors and visitors. It was one of support – both for Pause, and for Pause’s support of the motion community. Screenings like Pause & Play featured work from upcoming motion designers and audio artists creating around the the idea of ‘Pause’, PausEDU focused primarily on student work, and for many contributors at Melbourne Central, it was the difference between publishing on Vimeo and displaying work in front of thousands of passersby. Most events were free, as organisers believed in making the events as accessible as possible, a gift to their motion community. Contributor Sander Van Dijk, who flew out from The Netherlands, explained his involvement came from a place of deep commitment: “Motion designers believe in their work. They do it for the love. Working for love gives you the energy to go on and make the next piece your best piece ever. And motion artists need a space where they can take the time to communicate to each other and get back to that core issue of why we are doing this. What are we spending our valuable time on? What are we communicating? The festival is a moment to pause! and share.”

For anyone outside motion, a limited involvement of Pause Fest could feel like watching show reels in a cinema, and I occasionally struggled to stay interested in what appeared to be the same level of talent and slick commercial work being produced around the world. But for a motion designer, to be able to immerse yourself in industry talks, screenings curated by the likes of Motiongrapher and Gestalten TV, installations of local and international talent, along with digital artifacts like Transparent TV, (and the three closing parties), Pause functioned as an exhaustive networking and learning experience. And in its future, as it makes its mark on a resistant Melbourne, it has the potential to turn into our very own smaller and niche OFFF.

Thumbnail: Still from Dima Grubin’s intro for Pause Fest.

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