Material metaphors : notes on researching histories of British film & video

Holdsworth, Claire M. (2017) Material metaphors : notes on researching histories of British film & video. In: Multiplicities of Writing and Archival Research; 16 Jun 2017, Cambridge, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Drawing upon research into British artists’ moving image of the 1970s and 1980s, this talk discussed how experimental film and video works often critique history by depicting archival material – still photos, documents, clips – using documentary formats to reveal counter-histories. Exploring the difficulties of writing about this subject matter, concerned as it is with ‘medium specific’ dialogues that focus upon technologies (such as the materiality of film-strips or unique aesthetic qualities of recording and watching early video) this 20-minute presentation explored ‘remediation’ and the archive, referring to the work of artist Elizabeth Price. As a researcher concerned with sound as well as image, the paper considered how experimental moving image often traverses fact, fiction and multi-sensory representation by using ‘the archive’ as content and subject matter. Through discussion of my own experiences researching in archival collections, it reflected upon the tensions underlying research that traces, charts and maps ephemeral contexts of performance, recorded audio-visual material and how these narratives are translated by the mediums – whether written or technological – through which they reach us today.

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