Digital history & historiography

From Kinora to Small-Gauge: An Experimental Media Archaeological Approach to Early-Twentieth Century Home Cinema

In this workshop contribution, I present my post-doctoral study within the "Doing Experimental Media Archaeology" (DEMA) research project in which I examine the genealogy of home cinema and amateur moviemaking as early-twentieth century practices by means of a comparative, intermedial and experimental media archaeological approach. Through hands-on media archaeological experiments with the Kinora, one of the first motion picture viewing and recording technologies designed for home use from the 1900s, and various “small-gauge” film technologies from the 1920s and early 1930s, including Pathé-Baby 9.5mm and Kodak 16mm film cameras and projectors, two different “dispositifs” of home cinema and amateur moviemaking will be explored and compared. Various hands-on experiments will be conducted to provide a better understanding of the materiality and functionality of the Kinora and small-gauge film technologies as historical media objects as well as their technological affordances and performative qualities. The study aims to contribute to the development of experimental media archaeology as an alternative, experimental and sensorial approach to media historiography.

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