The Heretical ArchiveDigital Memory at the End of Film

The Heretical ArchiveDigital Memory at the End of Film

Domietta Torlasco

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780816681099

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press


The Heretical Archive examines digital films and multimedia installations that cite and manipulate film materials, arguing that they contribute to redefining our memory of cinema as well as our understanding of the archive. By interrogating the relationship between memory and creativity, the book proposes a notion of archiving that privileges the reopening of cinema’s perceptual and political textures over their passive preservation and reiteration. What is at stake is not faithfulness to a certain established tradition, but rather the calling into being of future genealogies. Digital works that quote a celluloid precursor do so by responding to their antecedent through its interstices and invisible spaces, through the unsaid or unseen, thus inaugurating a new aesthetic and political future for the specific film in question. The book argues that digital films and installations that directly appropriate film materials can affirm themselves as agents of critical reflection, transforming they way in which we understand both twentieth-century cinema and psychoanalysis as a theory of the archive. It’s the first book to methodically engage with Derrida’s Archive Fever from the viewpoint of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of perception; to read digital artworks as realizations of the potential of a psychoanalytic archive that takes Antigone rather than Oedipus as its point of departure; and to offer a groundbreaking conceptualization of montage (editing) as folding rather than cutting.