Modern audiences engage with representations of the past in a particular way via the medium of television, negotiating a shared understanding of the past. This is evidenced by the increasing popularity of reboots, newly developed history and documentary programming, re-use of archival footage and nostalgia content. This article takes a closer look at television’s abilities to circulate and contextualize the past in the current era of convergence through narrowcasting or niche programming on digital television platforms, specifically via nostalgia programming. Such platforms exemplify the multifaceted way of looking at and gaining access to television programming through a variety of connected platforms and screens in the current multi-platform era. Since the way in which television professionals (producers, schedulers, commissioners, researchers) act as moderators in this process needs to be further analysed, the article places an emphasis on how meaningful connections via previously broadcast history and nostalgia programming are also curated, principally through scheduling and production practices for niche programming – key elements in television’s creative process that have received less academic attention. Furthermore, the article discusses to what extent media policy in the Netherlands is attuned to the (re-)circulation of previously broadcast content and programming about past events, and reflects on television’s possibilities for “re-screening” references to the past in the contemporary media landscape. The analysis is based on a combination of textual analysis of audio-visual archival content and a production studies approach of interviews with key professionals, to gain insight into the creators’ strategies in relation to nostalgia programming and scheduling. Subsequently, the article demonstrates how national collective memory, as understood by television professionals in the Netherlands, informs the scheduling and circulation of “living history” on the digital thematic channel – collective cultural memory hence functioning as a TV guide.
This article explores the relationship between film, contemporary art and cultural memory. It aims to set out an overview of the use of film and media in artworks dealing with memory, history and the past. In recent decades, film and media projections have become some of the most common mediums employed in art installations, multi-screen artworks, sculptures, multi-media art, as well as many other forms of contemporary art. In order to examine the links between film, contemporary art and memory, I will firstly take a brief look at cultural memory and, secondly, I will set out an overview of some pieces of art that utilize film and video to elucidate historical and mnemonic accounts. Thirdly, I will consider the specific features and challenges of film and media that make them an effective repository in art to represent memory. I will consider the work of artists like Tacita Dean, Krzysztof Wodiczko and Jane and Louise Wilson, whose art is heavily influenced and inspired by concepts of memory, history, nostalgia and melancholy. These artists provide examples of the use of film in art, and they have established contemporary art as a site for memory.
The paper investigates Brothers and Sisters (Geschwister-Kardeşler, 1995), the first piece of Thomas Arslan’s Berlin-trilogy. While putting the film into the socio-historical context of the newly united German Republic, the study aims to highlight the characters’ struggle and constant shift between their Turkish and German identity. Through the narrative and textual analysis of Brothers and Sisters, the paper reveals the visual forms of social exclusion and concludes that in Arslan’s film, the characters bear with no social identity but various stages of identification, which keep them in an in-between, insecure position.
The relation between war and cinema, propaganda and cinema is a most intriguing area, located at the intersection of media studies, history and film aesthetics. A truly tragic moment in human history, the First World War was also the first to be fought before film cameras. And while in the field, airborne reconnaissance became cinematic (Virilio), domestic propaganda occupied the screen of the newly emergent national cinemas, only to see its lucid message challenged and even subverted by the fast-evolving language of cinema. Part one of this paper looks at three non-fiction films, released in 1916: Battle of Somme, With Our Heroes at the Somme (Bei unseren Helden an der Somme) and Battle of Somme (La Bataille de la Somme), as paradigmatic propaganda takes on the eponymous historical battle from British, German and French points of view. Part two analyses two war-time Hollywood melodramas, David Wark Griffith’s Hearts of the World (1918) and Allen Holubar’s The Heart of Humanity (1919), and explains the longevity of the former with the powerful “text effect” of the authentic wartime footage included. Thus, while these WWI propaganda works do validate Virilio’s ideas of the integral connections between technology, war and cinema, and between cinema and propaganda, they also herald the emancipation of post-WWI film language.
This study proposes a twofold analysis: the presumable strategies of the December 1989 events in Romania and their complexity as it appears in later filmic re-enactments. These re-enactments as theatrical “translations” offer a rhetorical reading of past events, and can also be seen as practices of memories inscribed in the body. The events are interpreted in the duality of the archival image and the acoustic/gestural memory, where the latter is understood as an atmospheric (bodily) memory. The disorientation or disinformation caused by the technical conditions, the circulation or lack of images, the alternating silences and chanting on the street make the past events incomprehensible and medially dissonant.
The paper investigates two possible critical arguments following the pictorial turn. The first is formulated within ocularcentrism, the dominance of sight, and starts with the right to visibility as a general principle that governs today’s digital culture but gets twisted in special cases like the Auschwitz photos of the Shoa, the Abu Ghraib prison videos, or recently the website called Yolocaust. The second is conceived outside the visual culture and is meant to vindicate the other senses vis-à-vis the eyes. However, the argument is truncated here only to highlight the boomerang effect of the other senses: haptic vision. It is the case of visual perception when (a) there is a lack of things to see and (b) indeterminate synaesthesia: when vision intensifies the other senses in the embodied viewer. The two arguments converge upon a dialectic of the visible and the imaginable, which is formulated here as two paradoxes that the discussed examples transcend. By enforcing visibility at all costs where there is hardly anything recognizable to see, they lead to two diverging results. On the one hand, the meaning of “image” is extended toward the unimaginable, the traumatic experience, on the other hand, it is extended toward the invisible, the encounter with the radical Other.
Active since 1980, the multidisciplinary Slovenian art collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK, New Slovenian Art) and its branches, the fine arts group IRWIN, industrial music band Laibach and theatre troupe Gledališče Sester Scipion Nasice (The Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre), have seen their works widely and often controversially discussed, most often in the context of subversion and over affirmation of totalitarian imagery, as well as the contemporary nation-state and nationalism. Gender, as another often essentialist category, has not figured prominently in the analysis of NSK’s output and impact. This paper proposes some areas (participation, representation) for investigation, as well as points of departure for a theoretical framework starting with key texts on gender by Judith Butler and R. W. Connell to analyse the moving images, performing and fine art produced within NSK in terms of the role gender plays therein, as well as its relationship to the construction of other defining categories such as nation and class.
This work sets off to offer a polemical response to postcolonialist theories advanced by Homi Bhabha in his seminal work The Location of Culture, particularly to Bhabha’s famous notions of ambivalence and mimicry purportedly used as methods of struggle against colonialism. Reading Béla Tarr’s film Werckmeister Harmonies (Werckmeister harmóniák, 2000) as an allegory for the colonization of a former colonial agent in the guise of an ambiguously framed post-imperial Hungary now on the eve of Soviet invasion, I turn Bhabha’s notions on their heads, and thus de-stereotype the simplistic hierarchy that sees the colonial agent dominate the colonized subject in a top-down approach. To achieve this, I bring into play Kuan-Hsing Chen’s notion of deimperialization as well as the psychoanalysis of Octave Mannoni in order to show that rather than being a straightforward misreading of the Other by an uninformed Self, the relationship between colonized and colonizer appears more like a failed attempt at acquiring the most basic knowledge of the psychological functioning of the Self on both sides of the colonized/colonizer divide.