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date: 24 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Celluloid is material. The film image is inscribed and projected by light, whilst its substrate of celluloid and photosensitive emulsion has tended to be suppressed rather than exploited by filmmakers. In addition to the information provided at the levels of image content and narrative, each strip of film sustains a supplementary register of the marks and scratches of the machines of production and replay. These marginalia bear a direct relation to the circulation and storage of the film and so offer an index of its use. As the photographic image deteriorates, detritus accumulates, tracing the environmental effects of storage. Archivists seek to make sense of these marks, to discern the legacy of production from the impact of storage to identify the film. This information can be read. It is not explicative of the past, but called into an archaeological conversation around the remains of the past in the present. The study of film discerns an assemblage of texts and artefacts through which to decipher the material traces of others.

Keywords: British Antarctic Expedition 1910–1913, Eastmancolor, deterioration, Gaumont Film Company, indexicality, materiality, film, Herbert George Ponting, Captain Robert Falcon Scott

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