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Special issue of Frames Cinema Journal on "Sensing the Archive – Exploring the digital (im)materiality of the moving image archive"

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A/CA researcher Catherine Russell guest edited the latest issue of Frames Cinema Journal on "Sensing the Archive – Exploring the digital (im)materiality of the moving image archive." 

Sensing the Archive –
Exploring the digital (im)materiality of the moving image archive

Issue 19, Spring 2022

Guest-Editor: Catherine Russell

Co-Editors-in-Chief: Lucia Szemetová and Jacob Browne
Book Review Editor: Anushrut Ramakrishnan Agrwaal

Dear colleagues,

It is with great enthusiasm which we announce that Issue 19 of Frames Cinema Journal Sensing the Archive – Exploring the digital (im)materiality of the moving image archive”, guest-edited by Catherine Russell, has now been published!

Over the last couple of years, we have all found our movements restricted by the ongoing pandemic. For many researchers, this confinement has been both physical and intellectual, with the archival visits that were previously our very staple being cancelled, postponed, or simply unwieldy. However, the current challenges with regard to archival research also foreground the growing digitisation of historical moving image media and its role in facilitating and structuring the future of research.

This issue turns to the tangibility of the medium and the fluidity of the material as a result of mass digitisation. Digital materiality – or immateriality – produces new instabilities and has transformed the ways in which we can access, understand, and interact with audio-visual heritage. It examines the sensory properties of archives and asks what kinds of historical knowledge lie within these resources and how can they be revived? As such this issue dissects the material vulnerabilities of audio-visual archives and their relation to cultural histories and archival studies to contribute critically to the flourishing academic discourse on digital humanities.

The contributions to this issue all address the archival instabilities reflected in their manifold understandings of the archive. They challenge the archive as a mere storage, collection, or a neutral space, and revise traditional film historical narratives. Each piece considers and revises the aspect of materiality and suggests new sensory modes of historiography. As such, they disrupt the exclusivity of physical access and written documents as the prerequisites for conducting film research and reckon with the various implications of digital transformation and the future of audio-visual heritage.

We would like to thank our guest editor, Catherine Russell, Distinguished Professor at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, for her generous and deeply insightful contributions to this issue.  Her own work on the historical, cultural, and sensorial properties of archives has been seminal in shaping the field, and even as the contributions raise new possibilities and champion varied approaches to the archive, the influence of her ground-breaking work is reflected in all the essays of this issue.


Letter from the Editors

Sensing the Archive
By Catherine Russell

Resisting extractive uses of the archive in Colombian experimental non-fiction
By María A. Vélez-Serna

Remediating the Archive: Sabrina Gschwandtner’s Film Quilts as Forms of Material Knowledge
By Lola Rémy

Historical Trauma, Queer Sex, and Physical Touch in Barbara Hammer’s Nitrate Kisses
By Rachel Lallouz

Haunted Archives: Presence and Absence in the Audio-visual Record of Conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina
By Lennaart van Oldenborgh

Diasporic Archives and Hauntological Accretions
By May Chew

Whatever Happened to Home Movies? Self-representation from Family Archives to Online Algorithms
By Lauren S. Berliner

Images Big and Soft: The Digital Archive Rendered Cinematic
By Holly Willis

Translating Interfaces in the Ms. Magazine Archive
By Fabiola Hanna and Irene Lusztig

Recycling Destroyed Cities: Ruined Archives in Copy Ar
By Maryam Muliaee

Anarchiving the New York Avant-Garde: The Phantom of Barbara Rubin’s Christmas on Earth
By Giulia Rho

Awakening the film censors’ archive in [CENSORED] (2018)
By Claire Henry

Double Vision: Encountering Early Ethnographic Films in the Digital Archive
By Petra Löffler

Borrowed Dreams: Joseph Cornell and the Archive as Psychic Imprint
By Stephen Broomer

Uploading the Archive, Copy/Pasting the “Classical”
By Eleni Palis

Filmographies as Archives: On Richard Dyer’s List-Making in Gays and Film
By Glyn Davis

A Preface with Promise: revisiting Film Curatorship: Archives, Museums, and the Digital Marketplace
By Anushrut Ramakrishnan Agrwaal

Justin Remes: Absence in Cinema: The Art of Showing Nothing
Reviewed by Jacob Browne

Jaimie Baron:  Reuse, Misuse, Abuse: The Ethics of Audiovisual Appropriation in the Digital Era
Reviewed by Lucia Szemetová

Eric Smoodin: Paris in the Dark: Going to the Movies in the City of Light, 1930-1950
Reviewed by Wesley Kirkpatric