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Past and Present of Amateur Media

New, widely accessible film technologies (especially the camera phone) and new methods of distribution (open access video platforms, typified by YouTube) have transformed the amateur film from a private medium, rarely seen outside the home, into a globalised visual lingua franca. The amateur film now saturates online media discourse and personal social media communication. Its ubiquity is reshaping the formal language of the moving image, and refashioning the representation, mediation, and even construction of the self. These issues are not only especially important to film, but resonate across the digital humanities and into anthropology and the arts. In order to properly take stock of the nature of modern amateur film phenomena, the terms on which we meet with all amateur film, past and present, require greater elucidation. Toward this goal, renewed attention must be paid to historical amateur films.

As a way of exploring these issues, we propose a series of cross-disciplinary, cross-departmental workshops on the subject of amateur film, to involve staff and students from the Film programme in the Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry, Digital Humanities and Anthropology departments, and the Slade School of Arts. The workshops will address both the history of amateur film and its contemporary ubiquity. Historical amateur films will be approached both from the point of view of their filmic qualities, and their status within social contexts; contemporary usage of private moving image media will also be analyzed  filmically, and simultaneously handled as a key element of digital social practices, including as a technology of the self. New approaches to film and media in the arts will be explored in conjunction with participants from the Slade, and particular attention will be paid to the poorly explored crossover area between amateur film and artists moving image practice.

Lead PI: Lee Grieveson, English/Film/Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry

Page last modified on 01 sep 14 14:59