Remediating Past Images. The Temporality of “Found Footage” in Gábor Bódy’s American Torso

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Abstract

Along Laura U. Marks’s thoughts on the “disappearing image” as embodied experience, the article proposes to bring into discussion particular modes of occurrence of “past images,” whether in form of the use of archival/found footage or of creating visual archaisms in the spirit of archival recordings, within the practice of the Hungarian experimental film making of the 1970s and 1980s, more speciflcally, in Gábor Bódy’s films. The return to archival/found footage as well as the production of visual archaisms reveal an attempt of remediation (Bolter and Grusin) that goes beyond the cultural responsibility of preservation: it confronts the film medium with its materiality, historicity, and temporality, and creates productive tensions between the private and the historical, between the pre-cinematic and the texture of motion pictures, between the documentary value of the image and its rhetorical dimension. The paper argues that the authenticity of the moving image in Gábor Bódy’s American Torso (Amerikai anzix, 1975) is achieved through a special combination of the immediacy and the hypermediacy of experience. Bódy’s interest in “past images” goes beyond the intention of experimentation with the medium; it is aimed at a profound, reconsidered archaeology of the image and a distinct sensing of the cinema.

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