SNSF Agora: Presentation and Visualization of Historical Film Colors
Nadine Wietlisbach, Director,
Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur
John Canciani, Director
Dr. Eva Hielscher, Curator
BA Josua Fröhlich, Developed ColorMania App.
|Whenever the current research projects on film colors come up in conversation with
laypersons or even film critics, the response is usually puzzled: Film colors? Why film
colors? Their reactions make it obvious that there is little awareness of the topic, and
that this lack of awareness is mostly due to the public’s lack of experience with the film material itself. The demonstration and the sensory experience of film’s materiality are thus at the core of the Agora project Presentation and Visualization of Historical Film Colors. The project aims to introduce and to establish a set of activities related to the materiality and aesthetics of film colors, drawing on the recent research projects on film colors, and on the digitization of archival films that have gained a high level of attention among academics and archivists.
Historical film prints offer a precious sensory richness that is also very appealing to
laypersons. The online depiction of film materials on the interactive digital humanities
platform Timeline of Historical Film Colors has been unanimously praised for its
comprehensive and attractive display of technical information and aesthetics. However, its impact remains limited to virtual access.
To overcome this limitation, the present Agora project intends to build a bridge from
virtual to real presentations of color film and digitized historical films, through the
At a variety of recent international conferences on either historical films or digital
humanities, it became clear that many archives and scholars are striving for better
ways to reach out to the public using attractive displays of their research or their
holdings. Until now, however, experience in these areas has been sparse. Beyond its
main goals, the present Agora project thus aims to establish a model study on how to
exhibit film in a museum context – by both connecting it to previous practices, and by
developing innovative educational activities.
It is the aim of the Agora project to provide an understanding and appreciation of the
film heritage and its appealing aesthetics to a wider audience, especially among
children and youth. To this date, moving images provide the most immediate and
universal access to knowledge and to the past. Movie fandom and the corresponding
enthusiasm need to be addressed by the Agora project.
There is also a political dimension to this project: To raise awareness for the necessity
of preserving the film heritage in its authentic form, to digitize it using a sophisticated
approach, and to make it available for future generations.
Swiss National Science Foundation, program Agora for scientific communication.