Abandoned Goods

Abandoned Goods
Director: Pia Borg, Edward Lawrenson

UK, 2014, documentary, 37 min., english with lithuanian subtitles, V

Abandoned Goods is a short essay film that tells the story of the journey of the Adamson Collection. Recently rediscovered after years of neglect, the collection is one of the major bodies of British 'asylum art'. It contains around 5,500 objects (paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculptures and works on stone, flint and bone) created between 1946 and 1981 by patients in Netherne psychiatric hospital in Surrey. Blending archive, reconstruction, 35mm rostrum photography, interviews and observational footage, the film explores the transformation of the objects in the Adamson Collection, from clinical material to revered art objects, examining the lives of the creators and the changing contexts in which the objects were produced and displayed. Narrated by an unseen cataloguer, voiced by Iain Sinclair, who comments on key works in the Collection and provides glimpses into the lives of their creators. The result is a moving impression of the unseen history of postwar asylum life in the UK. 


2014 - Golden Pardino - Leopards of Tomorrow at Locarno International Film Festival.

About the directors:

Pia Borg (1977) is an artist and filmmaker currently based in London. Since graduating with an MA in animation from the Royal College of Art, she is in the process of developing her first feature film with Warp Films about the life and work of the late artist and writer Leonora Carrington. In 2012 she had a solo exhibition of her new and past works at the Oriel Davies Gallery in Wales. She recently co-directed a Wellcome Trust funded project entitled Through the Hawthorne (which won the Grand Prix at Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film in 2014). Her films have been screened in various festivals including Cannes, Anima Mundi, Hiroshima, Rotterdam and Sao Paulo. She has participated in several exhibitions including shows at the Samstag Museum of Art, National Portrait Gallery and Tokyo Metropolitan museum of Photography. Her debut short film Footnote was shortlisted for an Australian Film Institute award. She works as a senior lecturer in film at the University of East London and as a guest lecturer at Camberwell, Kingston and the British Film Institute.   

Edward Lawrenson (1973) is a filmmaker and journalist based in London. His work has shown at the London International Short Film Festival, Open City London Film Festival and the Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland. In 2009 he was AHRC-funded for an MA in Filmmaking by Practice at Royal Holloway, University of London, which he completed in 2010. He has also assisted on a BBC Storyville-funded observational documentary in Macedonia. His freelance journalistic jobs include assignments covering cultural events in Palestine, Bosnia and Brazil. He has mentored on an EU-funded script development workshop run by Strada Films in Romania and tutored on a post-graduate writing course at the University of Glasgow. He has also programmed for the BFI London Film Festival and the Edinburgh International Film Festival. A former deputy editor of Sight & Sound, he contributes freelance articles to a variety of publications, including Time Out, the Guardian, Film Quarterly and the Big Issue.

Section: Main programme

Dir. of Photography: Nick Gordon Smith

Producer: Kate Ogborn, Lisa Marie Russo

Cast: Iain Sinclair, Nick James