The home movie has always been considered a borderline product that breaks with cinematic standards and occupies a liminal position between the artistic and non-artistic domain. It will probably continue to do so in the years to come. This is a fact we cannot change. What we can determine instead is our approach, the way we decide to interact with and look at these materials. This will shape the future of the home movie archive but also of a broader field of research that deals with such non-formalised practices. Opening these archives to the world means opening our mind to looser and more practical ways of investigation that are in line with the very nature of these materials and render aesthetic experience more inclusive and participative. Arts-based practice is essential in this process, as it gives form to things that might be unthinkable without the act of giving form to them.Ruxandra Lupu, 2020
In my PhD project I conduct three practice-led experiments, each dealing in turn with a visual, embodied and relational way of interacting with the Sicilian archive. These experiments are shaped by three core modalities of getting to know the archive:
1. Modality: WHAT MY HANDS KNOW
Question: How can we see beyond what interests us or what we are used to seeing in the home movie?
Method/practice: re-drawing home movie scenes using a printer and fine art/printmaking techniques (an accessible ‘alchemic gesture’ compared to similar experiments conducted with corrosive substances on nitrate film)
Impact: As a process in becoming, drawing gives rise to a surface of contact between the image and the reader, a sort of visible interface that articulates our relationship to these films. Through drawing we recuperate and hold on to something that was probably never lost, but only forgotten how to be looked at.
2. Modality: WHAT MY BODY KNOWS
Question: How can an embodied and emplaced experience of the home movie setting open up the space of perception?
Method/practice: sonic landscapes/somatic postcards (drawing, writing, recording binaural sound)
Impact: These practices restore a lost dimension of place and time that we are unconsciously searching for in these home movie images, each time we open them. Such practices become a form of resistance to the decay of the home movie that does not refer to the corrosions of film, but rather to the dissolution of those intimate universes in the passage of time and altering of space.
3. Modalit: KNOWING TOGETHER
Question: What kinds of affective encounters with the archive can participatory methods unleash and how are they able to re-dimension our perceptual abilities?
Method/practice: participatory workshops where I deploy the concept of affection-images as a guiding principle for creating a space of encounter between home movies and the public.
Impact: the creative exercises tested during the workshop testify to a reflexive capacity that goes beyond the analysis of home movies; they generate spaces of encounter through three core strategies: re-enacting affect through play, affecting materiality and performing belonging.