Alper Yildimir

A Family with a Movie Camera: Archival Footage and Memory

The main framework of this project is amateur home videos of Turkish families. The main goal is to treat the media of home footages as a resource to investigate cultural aspects through amateur video. During the theoretical research, leading subjects will be collective memory, autobiography and authorship. On the practical aspect, the project will be a database artwork which will be an assemblage of Turkish family video records. The outcome will be a an interactive video database interface, displaying the domestic video recording habits, as well as the traditions, the parental constructions of Turkish society.

Keywords: amateur home video, found footage, memory, autobiography, database, data visualization, video installation

The tended study field is amateur video records of families. These home videos have a large spectrum ranging from 8mm, VHS to digital camera records. The video records contain spontaneous moments in domestic environment. With the mobilization of video recorders, every moment can be archived for the future screenings. The domestic environment can be briefly described household area but it can be also family travels, meetings with relatives such as feasts, dinners, weddings and funerals.

The general objective of this research is to find ways to recognize the formation of mundane family videos. The aim is to display this genre of media as a resourceful work area within the terms of memory, social discourses and cultural heritage. There will be an attempt to decode the cultural aspects through these video archives.

To proceed with the project, the literature background  includes the studies on memory, autobiography, authorship and amateur found footage videos.

On the practical aspect, the project is a database artwork, based on new media theories on database aesthetics and interface design. The first phase was to create a home video database and the outcome was designed as a video interface via data visualization. The units of database will be found footages from Turkish family video archives. The methodology will mediate the research into a case study: documented circumstances of a certain environment and era, with selected participants. The design process will be the creation of trajectories for mapping the cultural discourses through the video database. The design will be both analytical and poetic: the infrastructure will rely on the balance between the cultural component and the artistic attitude of information design.


The leading research questions are listed below. These questions are in a chronological order; they  follow the project from the theoretical background, to design process and to the final practical outcome.

1- What are the motivations to record and archive domestic spontaneity?

2- Can the family videos be handled as autobiographical studies?

3- Is there any authorship which controls the content of these family videos?

4- Can the amateur family footages be a workspace for analyzing social and cultural    discourses/traditions?

5- How to create a “reliable “home video database?

6- What are the possible ways to create a link between the database with the audience in the terms of data visualization?

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