Chronicle

3 October 2019
On October 18, 2019, at 5 pm, we invite you to the program celebrating an International Home Movie Day accompanied by lectures about peculiarities of the genres, practices and formats of vernacular films and videos, as well as by screenings of the materials recovered and digitized this year, with the follow-up discussions.

It is for the fourth time that the Urban Media Archive of the Center for Urban History holds the Home Movie Day and organizes open days to search and digitize free of charge the film records stored in private collections. This year, the event will run as part of an international conference Digital Cultures Lviv focusing on aspects related to living archives. In addition to conventional home movies, researchers Yuliya Kovalenko and Krzysztof Świrek will deliver their lectures.  

Program of events:

5 pm – Yuliya Kovalenko, Ukrainian Home Movies of Soviet Times: City Belongs to Us

Today, after almost hundred years of the history of cinema, home videos often act as something important and relevant only for the author’s family and friends. Home videos are claimed to have neither artistic value nor established expression, nor traditions to become the subject of public discussions. They are sealed off to outsiders.

However, historically, the amateur videos have often been signs of protest, fight for freedom, self-identification practices, etc. It is getting even more obvious if we talk about home movies during the Soviet totalitarian times. 
It would suffice to see how the then Ukrainian home movies depicted urban space, and we will find out the diversity of moving ways to explore and expand the boundaries of their freedom on various levels such as individual and collective scale, on corporal and symbolic, on random and memorial, etc. Where does the “my” space end in the city? How shall I behave in the streets of “others”? From poetic observation over birds to recording Soviet mass protests – who owns central squares in the city? After all, in line with Jacques Rivette, film amateurs prove that the City belongs to us.

Yuliya Kovalenko, Candidate of Culturology, lecturer at the Department of Fine Arts, Odesa State Academy of Construction and Architecture)

6 pm - Krzysztof Świrek, VHS – archeology of media and practices of everyday life

VHS was an unparalleled phenomenon on the verge of technology, aesthetics, and everyday life. Having come as mass entertaining media, the format has become a tool for perceiving and creating moving pictures. The lecture will try to contemplate over, to reflect upon and problematize the subject of VHS as something more than merely a technological gadget or a nostalgia item from the 1980s and 1990s. Home VHS videos stored today in collections such as the Urban Media Archive at the Center for Urban History can be a thrilling source to research aesthetics, the ways of fixing the life of society and some practices of everyday life of users of the technology. A central idea of the lecture is a long-standing idea in aesthetic studies about the fact that no medium can be absolutely transparent but rather offers its own vision of the world, and imposes topics, and is a co-creator of social practices. We used to view the world differently through VHS. From the current perspective, that view on the world can be explored as part of social history.

Krzysztof Świrek, PhD in Sociology, Institute of Sociology at Warsaw University

7 pm Screening and presentations of home movies collected by the Urban Media Archive in 2019.

International Home Movie Day – is a celebration of amateur films and movies running every October in many places all over. Events on this day help individuals and families see and share their own home movies, see their neighbours, etc. It is a chance to learn why these films should be taken care of, and how to treat them best.

The event is taking place at the conference-room of the Center for Urban History – at 6 Bohomoltsia Street.

[unarchiving] – these are informal screenings of collections from the Urban Media Archive intended to promote and actualize the aspects of archival heritage for the general public. We aim at shaping new views on archiving, and taking an unusual perspective on historical collections. Activities within the cycle include public screenings and listening to visual, audiovisual or audio pieces that would combine popular formats and archival historical collections in the setting of free reflections different from academic environment. These are the nights of cine music or photo music, photo presentations, and other events that present a dialogue of the present and the past.