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Conclusions to the Third Revised Edition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2021

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Summary

In this book I focused on film restoration and presentation practices of restored films. At the time of researching and writing (2007-2009), I felt that the restoration practice was still too little understood by those who were not directly involved and too little “explained” by those who were. The first step in stimulating a renewed dialogue on archival practice was to make visible some of the possibilities and choices made by film restorers based on their interpretation of film and their use of technology. At the time, my sole focus was on film, more specifically, recognizable film titles (rather than other film-related objects and other archival activities) as I felt this was the most effective way to start.

We are further along in the process now, and I believe the time has come to shift the focus to a broader and more integral view on film heritage. I feel that film restoration and presentation, the most visible activities within film archival practice, cannot be isolated from the rest of the work concerning film heritage. As we move ahead, we need to search for a broader territory and theorization that will allow us to analyze, discuss, and influence film heritage practice in a more comprehensive way. The horizon needs to be expanded to include, in addition to restoration and presentation, acquisition, selection, digitization, access, innovative projects for data mining, and online and on-site forms of presentation. Moreover, in terms of objects and practices, film heritage should be considered as a comprehensive corpus that includes film-related collections, such as posters, movie theaters, or historical devices, as well as what can be broadly defined as “intangible heritage,” such as cinema-going practices and experiences or the knowledge of obsolete (post-) production practices, to name but a few examples.

A case in point is the renewed interest in the media apparatus, focusing on the artifacts as well as their related practices, and the inclusion of media archaeology as an integral part of media studies’ programs. Scholars such as Erkki Huhtamo, Jussi Parikka, Wanda Strauven, Benoît Turquety, Andreas Fickers, Annie van den Oever, Alexandra Schneider, and Thomas Elsaesser, among others, have led the way to new innovative research that bridges theory and archival practice and moves away from traditional film-centered approaches.

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From Grain to Pixel
The Archival Life of Film in Transition, Third Revised Edition
, pp. 331 - 338
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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