Archive/Fictions: Found Footage & The Essay Film
A call for proposals and expressions of interest for a research seminar and workshop taking place during the Essay Film Festival (26 March to 4 April 2020)
Date of event: 11:00-18:00, Friday 27 March 2020, Birkbeck Cinema
This year’s edition of the annual Essay Film Festival will feature a range of innovative works from filmmakers who engage with found footage as a distinct mode of essayistic filmmaking and artistic practice: for example, Garrett Bradley, Sarah Wood, Leandro Listorti, John Torres, Frank Beauvais.
In response to this theme, and as part of its new collaborative partnership with CHASE, the Essay Film Festival is now inviting proposals and expressions of interest from research students at CHASE institutions who would like to take part in a special research seminar and workshop, designed to provide an open forum for critical thinking about theoretical, methodological and practical aspects of working with found footage as an aesthetic and socio-political strategy. This event is being coordinated by Nicolas Freeman [contact: email@example.com], a doctoral student at Goldsmiths, currently working as an intern at the Essay Film Festival.
Historically the found footage practices of ‘compilation’ and ‘anthology’ films reworking images and sounds from popular culture and the consumer society evolved in parallel to modernist artistic techniques of montage, collage, and other forms of juxtaposition, repurposing images/objects from their original context and placing them in new combinations and situations. The advent of digital technologies has led to growing volumes of digitally available analogue content and the reformulation and expanded notions of the ‘archive’ being developed as both a concept and an object. Traditionally archives have been considered places of storage, repositories of memory and sites of preservation. New modes of registering and preserving the everyday are redefining and reconfiguring contemporary filmmaking’s critical engagement with the past. Through an interlinking concern with both archival production and preservation these forms challenge the notion of the document as a repository of knowledge. Found footage is inextricably linked to questions posed by theories of the archive (evidence, testimony, historiography), and its practice often reflects both current political struggles and complex historical memories. As such, essayistic use of found footage has been used to expose and examine the multiplicity of narrative possibilities of archives.
In order to explore this diverse and developing area of research, this Essay Film Festival event will combine elements of the seminar and the workshop. Participants may deliver written papers about their research, and/or present examples of their ongoing creative-critical practice. Above all, the event will provide a critical forum for conversation and exchange, and an open platform for those who wish to introduce themselves and their work and engage in discussion about found footage and the archive.
Although student-led, the event will also feature contributions from a number of guests, both practitioners and theorists, who will discuss their own experience of working with found footage in academic and artistic contexts. For example, Leandro Listorti, whose La película infinita is showing at the festival, and Louis Benassi, who will present a special screening and discussion of his film Black Umbrella, an experimental film triptych, made by re-editing discarded 16mm footage of fires in London found by the filmmaker.
Possible themes to be explored:
Archive, memory and time machine
Re-editing as détournement
Film fragments-archival fragment
Home movies and personal archives
Memory, trauma and colonial archives
Conservation and preservation
The ethical aspects of working with found footage
Proposals are now welcome from CHASE students wishing to engage with any of these themes, or indeed with other themes that are not mentioned above. We would also like to hear from CHASE students interested in taking an active role in the preparation and organisation of the seminar/workshop.
Deadline: Monday 17 February 2020
Submission: Expressions of interest and proposals (no more than 250 words) should be sent to the following address, marked “Found Footage seminar/workshop”: firstname.lastname@example.org