Navigation auf


Seminar für Filmwissenschaft

Archive Trouble

Film Studies Symposium, June 6–7, 2024

Implicitly or explicitly, archives structure most of our research. We deal with film prints, DVD or BluRay collections, streaming services; with paper documents in different forms, and data of varying formats. All this material needs to be stored and preserved – sometimes it is easily accessible, sometimes hidden behind real or virtual walls. The majority of films, texts, and other media that we encounter either stem from archives of diverse nature or will one day enter an archive. The long tradition of compilation film and found footage shows that films themselves can adopt archival functions by organizing, reconfiguring, and passing on historical material into the future.

The character of archives is manifold and heterogeneous. On the one hand, we are faced with traditional archives with long histories, often established with a national focus (like the Cinémathèque Française, the Deutsche Kinemathek, the Cinémathèque Suisse, or the British Film Institute). On the other hand, there are collections of para-national disposition that follow other criteria to select and preserve (like Anthology Film Archives, or Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art). The advent of digital repositories and the circulation of images and texts on the internet has also seen the emergence of vast online collections in the form of shadow libraries or informal film collections (ubuweb, karagarga etc.). This begs the question of whether the term “archive” is still the right term to characterize their structure and function or whether the situation is too troubled for the archive to stick to its conceptual definitions.

In terms of methodology, digital tools to organize, sort, and address text and image have also put traditional forms of archival work to the test. Historically, the archive is a European invention, much in line with imperial notions of power and administration. However, attention has recently shifted to “other archives” in the Global South with very different affordances and requirements. Often entangled in colonial histories and economically working under precarious conditions, these archives challenge our notions of archival security and persistence, asking us to rethink the eurocentric limitations of our perspectives.

In this complex and volatile situation, the two-day symposium brings together specific case studies, inviting reflections on concrete archival research as well as contributions from the realm of archive theory. It is aimed specifically at researchers pursuing PhD projects but also welcomes more established researchers and experts in the field to foster a productive discourse.

Concept: Volker Pantenburg


Thursday, June 6, 2024

University of Zurich
Karl-Schmid-Strasse 4, 8006 Zürich


PhD Workshop

Das bewaffnete Auge (1984)
Mit VALIE EXPORTs Archiv arbeiten
— Ulrike Hanstein, Linz

from 14:00 Welcome Coffee



Panel I: Access and Disruption
Chair: Volker Pantenburg

Televised Film Culture: Archives, Access, Adaptations
— Theodor Frisorger, Cologne

Glitches and Noise in the Archive
— Pascal Maslon, Zurich

16:00–16:30 Break

Panel II: Unsettling Collections
Chair: Linda Waack

Beyond the Recording Gaze – »Listening to Images« in Archives of Nazi Persecution
— Katharina Menschick, Bochum

The Psychiatric Film Archive between monstration and invisibilisation
— Élodie Murtas, Lausanne

17:30–18:00 Break

Panel III: Discomforting Archival Work
Chair: Babylonia Constantinides

Tracing Feminist Film Work in the Cinémathèque suisse
— Caroline Schöbi, Zurich
— Seraina Winzeler, Zurich
— Linda Waack, Zurich

Friday, June 7, 2024

University of Zurich
Karl-Schmid-Strasse 4, 8006 Zürich

09:30–10:00 Welcome Coffee

Panel IV: (De-)Colonial
Chair: Fabienne Liptay

Archival Troubles in Postcolonial Entanglements: The Digital Curation of Colonial Film
— Sonia Campanini, Frankfurt/Main

Media Encounters, Cultural Confrontations — Merv Espina, Las Piñas

Encountering the Paranational Film Archive between Lebanon and Germany — Philip Widmann, Zurich

  Lunch Break

Panel V: Cataloging and Curating
Chair: Isabel Krek

Camera Collections as Archives?
— Julius Lange, Lucerne

From Archival Silences to Known Unknowns
Visualizing Ambiguity in Filmographic Data on Women Film Pioneers
— Pauline Junginger, Marburg

Matière hétérogène, missions plurielles
Synergies et tensions dans le traitement du fonds Ansorge
— Anne Chauvie/Achilleas Papakonstantis, Lausanne




Evening Program at Kino Xenix

Julie from Ohio, CH 1978
dir.: Isa Hesse-Rabinovitch

Wild Boy, CH 1995
dir.: Josy Meier and Stefan Jung