Archives for April2018

‘Hybrid Histories: Technologies of Memory and the Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies, 1895–2005’

PhD dissertation by Tim van der Heijden (Maastricht University, the Netherlands)
‘This dissertation analyzes the cultural dynamics of home movies in the twentieth century. It investigates how various generations have recorded their family memories on film, video and digital media, and, more specifically, how changes in these “technologies of memory” have shaped new forms of home movie making and screening. Covering the period from the invention of the film camera in the late nineteenth century, the introduction of 9.5mm, 16mm, 8mm small-gauges and Super 8 film technologies for amateurs, via home video to digital media technologies, this study addresses the complex interrelations between the materiality of film, video and digital media technologies, their social usages and cultural meanings from a long-term historical perspective. Focusing on specific periods of transition, it becomes clear that different media technologies, user practices and discourses not only succeed each other in time, but also increasingly interrelate, interact or even transform each other. Maintaining both a diachronic and a synchronic perspective on media transitions, this dissertation proposes an alternative form of media historiography that rethinks media histories beyond the frameworks of change and continuity by perceiving hybridity as a constant factor in media historical development.

The research for the dissertation was carried in the context of the “Changing Platforms of Ritualized Memory Practices: The Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies” project funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It entailed a collaboration between Maastricht University, the University of Groningen, and the University of Luxembourg as well as several partners from the field of cultural heritage in the Netherlands and abroad. For more information about this research project, see the weblog.

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