Conference: Techniques du cinéma amateur: problèmes d’archives, problèmes d’histoire

  • On 1 April 2018

TECHNÈS has issued a call for submissionsfor the international conference Techniques du cinéma amateur: problèmes d’archives, problèmes d’histoire, being held from 28 to 30 November 2018 at the Université de Lausanne and the Swiss Film Archive.

This conference will be an opportunity to re-examine the issues and methods of constructing the history of amateur cinema, in particular through that essential site, the archive. Envisioning the possible ways of writing this history involves asking where and how the archives of cinema amateurs are constituted and structured. How are film collections formed, on what bases and according to what criteria? What place do collections of devices have in archives devoted to amateur cinema? How are these films and objects valorised? What specific problems around archiving, indexing and restoring are posed by amateur cinema? What technical specificities arise out of the techniques associated with amateur cinema (substandard formats, reversal film stock, unique colour processes) or the possible need to preserve the traces of shooting and projection procedures (machines, etc.)?

Similarly, how do historians envision their object of study in light of these new bodies of work? What conceptual variations in the very notion “amateur cinema,” understood historically, appear to them through contact with these films and devices? Does this historical labour demand the discovery of new kinds of archives, that they be arranged differently, or that they be analysed in new ways? Are traditional methods of film analysis still appropriate and relevant in this framework, in which one can find oneself faced with a great quantity of films, all of them anonymous? How can the history of technology enrich our knowledge of cinema by outlining intermedial connections and relations (photography, clock making, etc.)? How should one consider the connection, at once quite concrete and profoundly marked by the imagination, that these amateurs of cinema maintain with their technology? But how also to express the fact that these devices are often used by the most innovative artists and professional filmmakers?

In order to extend the concerns of our research project on the Bolex camera, for this event we would like to bring together, to discuss concrete cases (histories of archives, of restorations, of indexing or cataloguing, of filmmakers or groups, of normal or exceptional practices, of standard or jerry-rigged machines, etc.) or theoretical problems posed by amateur cinema.

Proposals (approximately one page, in English or French), accompanied by a brief biography of the author, should be sent before 15 May 2018 to Benoît Turquety ( and to Stéphane Tralongo (