A century of home cinema: from projector to smartphone
27 May-30 October, 2016
Limburgs Museum, Venlo
From the first home movies to vlogs on YouTube: since the advent of portable movie cameras (from 1910 onwards) people have tended to film the first steps and stumbles of a baby, parties, holidays and everyday family gatherings.
In a number of time capsules, the exhibition sheds light in an attractive manner on the fascinating history of the private media, with Limburg as the backdrop. You are taken back to olden days based on old fragments of home movies full of happiness and tragedy, YouTube videos, photographic time icons, authentic apparatus from various collections, film accessories, handbooks, magazines and advertisements. It all starts by taking a look at the earliest cinematic trends. Why and when did people first start recording their own family life? Who wanted to enjoy the show, only their nearest and dearest, or maybe a bigger audience? And at what moment did home movies enter the public domain via the internet?
About home movies
The home movies shown stem primarily from the collection of the Limburgs Museum. They tell how people in Limburg experienced the key moments, what the world looked like at that moment, the fashion, gadgets and our fascination for technology. They talk about the family and about the cameramen themselves. We see how the amateur lens takes on an ever more important role and records everyday life. New technologies, such as sound recording on a Super 8 camera and the advent of video, influenced the way in which amateur movies were illustrated and presented. Thanks to digitization, the internet and mobile devices, the making, processing and dissemination of video clips have become an inextricable element of everyday culture. The terrain of the exclusive home cinema has shifted to the smartphone and we fight for attention on social media.
Four generations of the Mantz family
A separate storyline in the exhibition is a film made to order in four parts about a remarkable family history. At the forefront is the family of the world-famous photographer, Werner Mantz, originally from Cologne, who established himself in Maastricht in 1938. Werner Mantz and his offspring recorded private images over a period of almost a hundred years. These images not only reveal an intimate world, but also document history. In this film documentary, Werner Mantz, played by the actor Hans van Leipsig, takes today’s viewer back into time. The real son and grandson of Werner Mantz respond to the story of Werner and talk about family life from their perspective. How people dealt with (social) media, then and now, runs like a thread through the story. The film is a production from Tanja Nabben and Wiek Lenssen in cooperation with the Limburgs Museum.
This exhibition stems from doctorate research at the universities of Maastricht and Groningen under the title of Changing platforms of ritualised memory practises. The cultural dynamics of home movies (2012-2015).
Source picture familie in front of television in the living room (top): Philips Company Archives.