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Title: Moving image, montage and memory : the development of a critical documentary practice, exploring Irish identity through an exploration into found film archives and the cinematic treatment of time and memory
Author: McGill, Genevieve
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 8351
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2013
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The main aim of this thesis is to provide a voice to a marginalised community on the island of Inishbofin off the North West coast of Co. Donegal in Ireland. The film’s usefulness lies in its portrayal of a small, indigenous, fragile community that clings to existence and its strength lies in giving voice to this minority in an attempt to correct perceptions of Irishness. This thesis seeks to enrich the discourse surrounding the way Irish identity is reconciled through the moving image. The theme is explored through an investigation of a previously unseen film archive—The Martin Archive—alongside my own documentary film practice. Time within the context of the archive, the nation, the temporality of film, memory and nostalgia is used to structure this thesis exploration. Within my research, the recognition of time and memory and the role these play in the construction of national identity have come to the fore. My documentary film work will intervene within this larger discourse to contribute to another way of thinking about and looking at Irish identity. The ambiguity of historical time and the myth of authenticity are considered through an exploration of how the archive is assembled. My approach correlates with that of certain postcolonial theories, developed through an analysis of the writings of Homi K. Bhabha and Benedict Anderson. In my original approach to this subject I have created a hybrid of two time frames by utilising both The Martin Archive and my own film work, in an attempt to question established notions of Irish national identity. The research is a consideration of the constructed nature of narrative, exploring how a disruption in linear narrative and historical time can provide a new space of performativity, in which the spectator can explore Irish identity anew. By illuminating the multiplicities within the films, the multiple minor voices - that are concurrent in time - can be heard. This process enables the practice to disrupt the time of official history by showing the time of the other. My practice is a temporal bricolage that documents a vulnerable, indigenous, Gaelic speaking community in Co. Donegal. The film work is a poetics of time; memory and fragility, which explores the past, present and future of the community portrayed within the experimental film archive. The structure of the practice as a temporal bricolage displays a fragmented, multiple, jumbled narrative, where chronology itself is disrupted. The fragmentary nature of the practice ensures that no complete meaning can be fixed. The interlocking of historical and personal time enables a plurality of voices to be heard, contesting any dominant historical linear narrative.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Film studies ; Film & Video