• Archiveology: Walter Benjamin and Archival Film Practices

    Pages: 280
    Illustrations: 57 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
    Series: a Camera Obscura book
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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    Prologue  1
    1. Introduction to Archiveology  11
    2. Walter Benjamin and the Language of the Moving Image Archive  35
    3. The Cityscape in Pieces  55
    4. Collecting Images  97
    5. Phantasmagoria and Critical Cinephilia  141
    6. Awakening from the Gendered Archive  184
    Epilogue  218
    Notes  225
    Selected Filmography  245
    Bibliography  247
    Index  261
  • "Archiveology opens up yet more rich and very pertinent questions relating to film-making as an archival practice in which themes of time, memory and imagination are fluidly interwoven and fleshed out as new cinematic experiences."


  • "Archiveology opens up yet more rich and very pertinent questions relating to film-making as an archival practice in which themes of time, memory and imagination are fluidly interwoven and fleshed out as new cinematic experiences."

  • "Moving through a careful, rigorous, and nuanced reading of Walter Benjamin's work, Catherine Russell's new book explores the remarkable range of 'archiveology' as a creative engagement with technologies of storing and accessing. About the formation and critique of collective memories and histories at the intersection of the avant-garde and documentaries, this superb study is, more importantly perhaps, about the present and future of contemporary media culture." — Timothy Corrigan, author of, The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker

    "Showing how Benjamin's insights remain especially timely and relevant for early twenty-first-century archival film practices, Archiveology makes an important contribution to critical and feminist film theory while offering a compelling approach to contemporary moving image art in ways that traverse experimental, documentary, and new media platforms." — Patrice Petro, author of, Aftershocks of the New: Feminism and Film History

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  • Description

    In Archiveology Catherine Russell uses the work of Walter Benjamin to explore how the practice of archiveology—the reuse, recycling, appropriation, and borrowing of archival sounds and images by filmmakers—provides ways to imagine the past and the future. Noting how the film archive does not function simply as a place where moving images are preserved, Russell examines a range of films alongside Benjamin's conceptions of memory, document, excavation, and historiography. She shows how city films such as Nicole Védrès's Paris 1900 (1947) and Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) reconstruct notions of urban life and uses Christian Marclay's The Clock (2010) to draw parallels between critical cinephilia and Benjamin's theory of the phantasmagoria. Russell also discusses practices of collecting in archiveological film and rereads films by Joseph Cornell and Rania Stephan to explore an archival practice that dislocates and relocates the female image in film. In so doing, she not only shows how Benjamin's work is as relevant to film theory as ever; she shows how archiveology can awaken artists and audiences to critical forms of history and memory.

    About The Author(s)

    Catherine Russell is Professor of Cinema at Concordia University and the author of The Cinema of Naruse Mikio: Women and Japanese Modernity and Experimental Ethnography: The Work of Film in the Age of Video, both also published by Duke University Press, as well as Classical Japanese Cinema Revisited.
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