Electronic Enlightenment or the Digital Dark Age?


Electronic Enlightenment or the Digital Dark Age?  Anticipating Film in an Age Without Film


Quarterly Review of Film and Video, vol. 26, no. 5 (published September 25, 2009), pp. 415-424.


This essay discusses the impact on archivists and the academy of the impending obsolescence of photochemical media a mainstream technology for production and exhibition.  In it I argue that the word “film” has already become a generic, as distinct from a technologically specific, noun in common usage, and that this is symptomatic of the fact that cinema is in the process of losing its medium specificity.  In conclusion, I suggest that this has major implications for archival practice and method, and call for a renewed emphasis on the use of historical approaches rather than critical or theoretical ones in order to understand how the opportunities and limitations of now obsolete technologies shaped the economic and cultural effects of their use.


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