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Title: History has tongues : re-evaluating historiography of the moving image through analysis of the voice and critical writing in British artists' film and video of the 1980s
Author: Holdsworth, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 6056 9768
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis examines experimental film and video in 1980s Britain through a critical reassessment, mapping histories of these practices in relation to critical writing of the period. This historiographical analysis utilises material contained in The British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection, part of the Museum at Central Saint Martins (UAL). Close analysis of a number of selected film and video works created within the artistic, activist and experimental communities active at the time both develops the thesis’ function as a new account of the period and provides a critical means of surveying historiography within the field of artists’ moving image. This study establishes the voice as a key theme in relation to both constructed narratives in historiographical writing and in works from this time. Employment of oral, primary source accounts frames analyses of voices in preexisting written histories and acts as a means to explore aural strategies and components within film and video works. Initial analyses of ‘historical recovery’ before, during and after the 1980s is followed by first considering how stories are recounted by voices, before investigating works that responded to events at the time and exemplified the struggles of voices during this significant period in British history. Focus on the voice frames a critical exploration of lexicons related to ghosts which appears later in the thesis. Jacques Derrida’s lecture and publication Specters of Marx (1994) is referenced to develop discussion of ghosting in relation to myths and historical sources in analysis of Ken McMullen’s Ghost Dance (1983), in which Derrida muses on ghosts and recording. An exploration of recording technologies and media informs a critique of writing history in order to reflect upon British film and video of the 1980s. It identifies a cacophony of voices – political, critical, activist and artistic – as characteristic of the times and a key element in the composition of the works and historical accounts of the moving image.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; Central Saint Martins
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Film studies ; British History ; History of Cinematics