The aesthetics and politics of obsolescence: Hand-made film in the era of the digital

Martine Beugnet, Kim Knowles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses contemporary handmade film-making as a form of critical practice that is now developing within the context of celluloid obsolescence and the frequent proclamations about the waning significance of film in the digital era. Because of its engagement with the materiality of film, artisanal film-making offers itself as a form of metacinematic reflection - film reflecting on the possibility and meaning of its own disappearance and the eventuality of its survival. Hence, in the films described below, to work with celluloid is to go beyond `analogue nostalgia' in a restrictive, fetishistic sense, and to focus instead on the significance and topicality of the specific creative process that artisanal film-making entails. We argue that, whilst these films continue a structural-materialist tradition of experimental cinema, they reframe and renew materialist practice by engaging with wider themes of technological and cultural obsolescence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
JournalMoving Image Review and Art Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2013


  • obsolescence
  • experimental film
  • analogue film
  • camera-less film
  • haptic
  • technoideology
  • materiality


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