Obsolete photographic and cinematic technologies are becoming more and more present in contemporary artistic practices, as well as in popular culture, often blurring boundaries between the two. Frequently paired with an “improper,” non-normative use of film stock, cameras, projectors, and other photographic and cinematic devices (both hard- and software), the return to the outdated brings to light the vast creative potential of an approach based on retrograde technicity.
This return to obsolete media is not a rejection of the contemporary or a nostalgic turn to the past, but instead fulfills a critical function. It questions the notion of a medium having some sort of natural purpose, and challenges the idea of there being any “appropriate” way in which its constituent parts (the cinematic apparatus, or dispositiv) are to be used or manipulated.
The arts-based research project RESET THE APPARATUS!, with its trans-disciplinary, international team of artists and scholars, explores the phenomenon of retrograde technicity by merging artistic and theoretical approaches that will not only bring about new ways of understanding the photographic and the cinematic, but also our relation to media both old and new.