Report Home Movie Day Amsterdam

Photo by Hay Kranen:

Report: Home Movie Day 20 October 2012 Beeld & Geluid, Artis / EYE / SuperSens
On Saturday the 20th of October the worldwide annual Home Movie Day took place. In the Netherlands the two mayor players in audio-visual archiving,  the Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision (Beeld & Geluid) and the EYE Film Institute Netherlands, organised their respective Home Movie Days on two locations in Amsterdam; the beautiful former entrance of the Royal Zoo Artis located on the stately Plantage Middenlaan, and the new  ´EYE´-catcher on the waterfront near the Central Station. The Home Movie Day was organized together with film and video digitizing expert SuperSens. From the perspective of our research project, the Home Movie Day in Amsterdam offered us some interesting opportunities, as we already posted on October 8th.

Sound & Vision @ Royal Zoo Artis

The Home Movie Day organised by Sound & Vision was especially interesting for us, since it was the third occasion in the Netherlands, after Rotterdam and Groningen, to bring in amateur video material: a perfect opportunity for Tim and I (Tom) to offer a helping hand! With the technical support by SuperSens, we were in the privileged position to immediately look at the video footage brought in by visitors.  Thanks to several well-equipped viewing tables in the grand Koningszaal, the numerous volunteers could play a wide variety of amateur video formats, such as Betamax, VHS, VHSC, Hi8, Video2000, and MiniDV.

Through early exposure of the Amateur Film Platform project’s intention to collect video in daily newspapers, on the radio, and on social media platforms,  Lotte Baltussen (member of the R&D department of Sound & Vision and main organiser of this day)  was already able to collect some interesting video material before the 20th of October.  Some of these ‘early’ donations, by among others Jan & Emilia van der Meer, Hikmet Ulger, and Art van Amerongen, were programmed on the first half of the day: on a big screen in the Tijgerzaal, we witnessed a striking marriage proposal (VHS, Van der Meer, 1993), an emotional benefit concert organised and filmed by Hikmet Ulger for his deceased brother – Turkish musician and political activist – Vedat Ulger (MiniDV, Ulger,2011), and an impressive attempt to beat the standing (world?)record on simultaneously grilling more than 300 chickens in Baarn (VHS, Van Amerongen, 1989).

Furthermore, we had the opportunity to interview some of the amateur filmmakers present during the screening, probing the role of technology and sound. Although some of our more ‘purely academic’ questions were not immediately picked up or deemed relevant, we, nonetheless, were in a unique situation to get a ‘first glance’ of how sound evoked certain memories during the screening context. Also the more hands-on opportunity to get acquainted with the materiality of all the different video-related formats, is invaluable for our on-going research. For the importance of the ‘haptic experience’ and ‘the everyday appropriation of technology’ please read Tim’s post on the Summer School in Austria.

Home Movie Day @ the EYE Institute

Meanwhile at EYE, the Home Movie day was in full swing as well. Hosted by collection specialists Dorette Schootemeijer and Simona Monizza, visitors could bring along their 16mm, 8mm, and Super8 material to view and digitise – with, again, the help of SuperSens. EYE also screened rare amateur super8 fiction films by Herman Rammers. Our project collaborator museum Het Huis van Alijn, attended to a stunning screening of This is For You by Kat Steppe, and Dag mejuffer, hallo mevrouw by Roderik Bösensell.

Following this presentation, Susan Aasman sketched the outlines of our research project. With the appealing title Capturing, Keeping, and Sharing. The Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies, Susan elaborated on the role of changing amateur technologies in the history of family film. Jon Stam and Simon de Bakker concluded the day with their Bioscope based on an old 8mm Fisher Price movie viewer. As their inventors would likely endorse, we hope that this imaginative device will grow in numbers, far beyond the two prototypes now in existence. We would like to thank both Sound & Vision and EYE for this extraordinary day, and we look forward to next year!

Please note that the Limburgs Museum will bring up the rear: their Home Movie Day will take place on October 27th in Venlo.  Bring your videos!

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