Re-membering obsolete technology: Super 8, storytelling, and reverse ekphrasis

Activity: Other activity typesOther


This multi-media, interdisciplinary project addresses questions of memory, re-inscription, lost audio-visual technologies, and cross-narrativization. It will also explore issues of contingency and serendipity in the process of practice-based research. The project adopts a methodology that maximises the opportunities of chance and works against the pre-determined closure of meaning. The Principal Investigator (Carl Hunter) has collected a significant sample of Super 8 films covering a broad range of pre-digital social life in the UK, from holidaymaking to birthday parties, christenings to funerals. Super 8 technology marks the beginning of the mass home filmmaking market and pre-figures the digital technologies and practices available today. The PI will digitise selected extracts from the collection and pass them to practice-based researchers across a range of disciplines: creative writing, music technology, visual art, mixed-media, and filmmaking. Exploring the phenomena of reverse ekphrasis (in which the image suggests a story) the researchers will re-imagine the content of the Super 8 films in a new practice-based research output, recovering an analogue past for a digital present, and re-inscribing lost stories into the concerns of the present age. The collected outputs will be displayed in an exhibition and documentation of the process recorded as part of the production of a journal article reflecting on the practice. The new outputs and a selection from the Super 8 collection will be shown at a symposium between practitioners, theorists, sociologists, and psychologists at the Crosby Plaza cinema. The project will ask, what does the Super 8 collection tell us about the social history of home filmmaking? What does its re-interpretation by practice-based researchers today tell us about both the creative process and contemporary approaches to the self and images? What can practice-based researchers learn from the recovery of an obsolete technology in the context of interdisciplinary working and recent digital practices.
Period1 Jan 2021


  • film
  • super 8
  • memory
  • storytelling
  • reverse ekphrasis
  • Music
  • sound design