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The aesthetics and politics of obsolescence: Hand-made film in the era of the digital

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Abstract:

This article discusses contemporary handmade film-making as a form of critical practice that is now developing within the context of celluloid obsolescence and the frequent proclamations about the waning significance of film in the digital era. Because of its engagement with the materiality of film, artisanal film-making offers itself as a form of metacinematic reflection – film reflecting on the possibility and meaning of its own disappearance and the eventuality of its survival. Hence, in the films described below, to work with celluloid is to go beyond ‘analogue nostalgia’ in a restrictive, fetishistic sense, and to focus instead on the significance and topicality of the specific creative process that artisanal film-making entails. We argue that, whilst these films continue a structural-materialist tradition of experimental cinema, they reframe and renew materialist practice by engaging with wider themes of technological and cultural obsolescence.

Keywords: analogue film; camera-less film; experimental film; haptic; materiality; obsolescence; technoideology

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/miraj.2.1.54_1

Affiliations: 1: Université Paris 7 Diderot 2: Aberystwyth University

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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  • The Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ) is the first international peer-reviewed scholarly publication devoted to artists' film and video, and its contexts. It offers a forum for debates surrounding all forms of artists' moving image and media artworks: films, video installations, expanded cinema, video performance, experimental documentaries, animations, and other screen-based works made by artists. MIRAJ aims to consolidate artists' moving image as a distinct area of study that bridges a number of disciplines, not limited to, but including art, film, and media.
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