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  •  978-3-95796-053-5 (print)
  •  978-3-95796-054-2 (PDF)
  • DOI:
  •  10.14619/0535
  • Available as Print, PDF, HTML

Accidental Archivism

Shaping Cinema’s Futures with Remnants of the Past

In the digital media ecology, archives are changing. Artists, curators, critics and scholars assume the role of accidental archivists. They shape cinema’s futures by salvaging precarious repositories and making them matter in new ways. In the process, the cinema’s public, a democratic body seemingly scattered about platforms and niches in a post-pandemic world, re-emerges as a political force.

Accidental Archivism brings together programmatic statements and proposals to explore an artistic space between archiving and activism, a space where remnants of the past become the building blocks of new ways of making, showing, teaching and thinking cinema.

The serendipitous genesis of the great archives of Arsenal in Berlin is a pure delight to explore. This volume records how a wealth of visual history accumulated as if by accident to form a fascinating whole which is so much more than its parts: a fragmented and recomposed visual archive of memories of the world in the second half of the twentieth century. A feast for any historian, artist and cinephile.

Bénédicte Savoy, Collège de France/TU Berlin

Accidental archivism, creative spaces and the reaches of technology: the mix is a world of communication and artistic possibilities. Perhaps, equally significant, the mix does transform the cinema’s public into that quintessential wayfarer who takes a backward glance o’er travelled roads to better see the road ahead.

Hyginus Ekwuazi, University of Ibadan, founding rector of the National Film Institute, Jos

A lively, hugely ambitious and generative collection, that is at once both reflective and provocative, offering a state of play and a call to action for those engaging with archives today. From manifestos to interviews, global case studies to personal accounts, this expansive collection of works expertly places in dialogue curators, artists, archivists and scholars (and the many that fall in between).

Tom Rice, University of St. Andrews


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