From the Dustbin of History: Rethinking the History of Amateur Media in a Historical Conversation

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesTalk or presentation (not at a conference)Academic


    "Amateurs of one era are not the amateurs of another, even when a continuous tradition exists to connect them"', is an intriguing statement made by Lisa Gitelman (2014). Overall, Gitelman's answer would favor a certain level of complexity as to avoid 'sloppy media history' even when a continuous tradition exists to connect them (137). Rather, we should explore how amateur filmmakers 'doing and its do-ability' can differ as they are situated in broader historical contexts. Building on this idea of a complex and dynamic history, that consists of a diversity of histories, we propose to start a semi-structured conversation between three experts in amateur media and between the experts and the audience. We seek to follow traces that connect or disconnect the various discourses and practices in amateur media history in which amateurism encountered predictions, hopes, and tried out appropriations of amateur media technologies as an alternative/marginal media space. The set of related concepts that will be deployed through time and in relation to different historical contexts are: marginality, democratization, resistance, alternative, avant-garde, subversive and experimental. By comparing, contrasting and evaluating these set of concepts we hope to add to the overall goal of the conference to open up a space to rethink historiography.
    Period23 Aug 2018
    Event titleMedia History from the Margins
    Event typeSeminar
    LocationAscona, SwitzerlandShow on map


    • amateurism
    • media history
    • marginalization
    • amateur media
    • amateur film