MARCH 2019 / ISSN: 2462-2885 / Color / ENGLISH
(In)appropriation: Dirty Movies and Second Hand Poetics, by André Habib
Can found footage filmmaking inform an archaeology of pornography that would account for the institutional, material, technological and social dimensions that are part of the very archive of pornography? This question is in fact part of a more general thinking of found footage filmmaking as a way to discuss and better understand the history of film heritage and technology, inside and outside of archives proper. By asking simple questions like, “How is found footage actually found and appropriated?”, the idea is to convey what found footage films tell us about archival access, film technology and materiality. Can found footage films give us a sense of what was and is today considered worthy of preserving or, on the contrary, considered disposable at a given historical time? Can these filmmakers shed new light on the archive, simply by displacing or misplacing films that are often dismissed because they were useful (educational, industrial, training films, pornography, advertisements) and have become useless (that is, useless for some but insightful, beautiful, disturbingly poetic for others)? I think these questions can offer a contribution to contemporary debates in the field of moving image archives, at the cross-point between history, technology and film aesthetics. And I would argue that this is particularly true of the exquisite corpus this dossier on pornography and found footage films wishes to highlight.
This essay will seek to demonstrate that a greater awareness of the original exhibition context, forgotten genres, and ubiquitous nature of the moving images recycled in the found footage films of Conner can lead us to a better understanding of the defamiliarization process at the core of the artist’s media critique. Close textual analysis of A MOVIE, as well as of some of the small-gauge films that have provided much of its content, will first permit me to argue that Conner’s intertextual play with his source material is much more significant than what previous studies have assumed. We will then examine how the artist’s engagement with repetition and the materiality of film in MARILYN TIMES FIVE (B. Conner, 1973) echoes various practices associated with the circulation and exhibition of small gauge pornographic films.
Interview with Peggy Ahwesh, by Alice Michaud-Lapointe
Interview with Alexei Dmitriev, by André Habib
Interview with Yves-Marie Mahé, by André Habib
Exploring aspects of colonisation and oppression, the archive in all three films provides a space to re-imagine painful histories that require new interpretations. Each film exemplifies what I refer to as anarchival turn—a response to the economic and political impact of neoliberalism with its destructive effects on alternative forms of culture production. In their radical ways of working with historical footage, these three films can be seen as alternative anarchival practices.