A profound difference: Visualising politics through obsolete media
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractThis paper is a revised and edited version of that which was delivered at the conference for the FORMAT19 International Photography Festival, for which I acted as co-organiser and co-editor. An iteration of the paper was delivered at Exposure Photography Festival, Calgary, Canada, 2020, to support my exhibition in the festival in addition to a workshop on analogue cine media. The essay discusses the research into and use experimental use of media for a visual project, A Profound Difference, staged at the launch of FORMAT19, 15th March, at the University of Derby. A further iteration was presented for Departure Lounge, 20th July 2019. The visual project was made between October 2018 and March 2019. It was centred around concerns for the future circumstances of young people as a result of the UK referendum to leave the EU, held on the 26th June 2016. The project employed a very specific use of media in the form of continental, Standard 8mm cine film equipment dating from the 1950s, the rationale being that this was the media Europeans used to record their lives during the period in which the supra-national state of Europe was first being formed. The project was publicly staged as a largescale installation with multiple projectors throwing looped footage of the young people onto the sides of polling booths. Using the visual work as a vehicle, the essay describes theoretical research for the employment of obsolete media to engage with current political issues. I discuss theories of making with reference to Martin Heidegger, Gilbert Simondon, Elaine Scary, and Hito Steyerl, to create a framework for a critically informed use of obsolete visual media. My argument is that due to obsolete analogue media escaping the market drives of digital media, it has a potential to raise awareness of our current dependence on digital media for which we have questionable agency.
CitationHarris, P. (2020). 'A Profound Difference: Visualising Politics through Obsolete Media'. In Marmalade, G., and Harris, P. (Eds.) ‘Mythologies, Identities and Territories of Photography: Forever//Now’. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, pp. 183-210.
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