Visual archives have long been a source of inspiration for historians, filmmakers, and artists alike.

Read more about my research into archives and 21st century technology in “From 8mm Film to Rear Lit Emulsion, How Digital Technology Can Reframe Memories,”an article I wrote for DaVinci Fest Live, 2020.

Fascinated with home movies shot on 8mm film in the mid-1960s, I began thinking about the ways in which technology has influenced domestic archives, both from the perspective of the hobbyist filmmaker as well as the archivist trying to preserve cultural artifacts. Questions of access, choice, and structures around domestic archives began to emerge.

Example box with 8mm film shot in S. Philly postmarked SEP 17 ’64
Index card with notes accompanying 8mm films

Studying a Domestic Archive

Having acquired a collection of 8mm films that were shot during the mid-1960’s by J. F. Vodges, resident of South Philadelphia, I set to work studying the films. Using the software double8scan developed by Björn Roth, I processed strips of films that I scanned on a flatbed scanner and extracted approximately 10,000 still images. And then I began iterating on the images with hand processes.

Example scan of film from 8mm found footage
Example still frame extracted from scanned film strip using double8scan software
Example associative process with 8mm found footage

Combining Domestic with Public Archives

Looking through the collection of films from the 1960’s, I began to think about merging the personal with the political, the private with the public, through historic archives. What was happening historically in public culture when these films were shot? How would these personal archives be sorted, stored, and organized if they were combined with a public archive, and what would these personal experiences say or reflect what was happening on a larger political scale. The result of this thought process were a series of digital and hand-processed collages printed on reverse lit film for custom designed light boxes.

View Light Boxes