Holly Antrum

Writing a lens: how might the formal structures of the film archive be subverted through fictioning within artist moving image?

My research facilitates the becoming of a narrator and a matrilineal counterpart, Markéta (b. Brno, 1976), via fiction into a different yet possible turn of family history. Through documenting the construction of her I overlay a fictional woman, reader and researcher, with the archives they attend today.

Peter Wollen ‘Pasolini’s Oedipus Rex’ film viewing notes (Markéta Hašková 2019), HD video still, Holly Antrum 2020.

Writing a lens involves me with a feminist oral history research methodology, recording Markéta’s real-life peers, who were teenage girls during the Velvet Revolution. Lending these perspectives to the becoming of a narrator, her voice, her work and her use of images within it, wagers the hierarchical obstacles of citizenship alongside ‘pirate’ uses of archival material as quotation. Depicting the subject’s attention in the archive inherently quotes the discourses captured by  filmmaker, film theorist, and arguably ‘feminist collaborator’, Peter Wollen’s notebooks as generative, haptic kernels of film and cultural thinking as the project’s primary materials within the BFI National Film Archives as a collaborative doctoral partnership with BFI. I utilise these to suture and propose the indexical value of Wollen to opening up the film archive, and examine the vehicle of artist moving image to both propose and enact this.

Using these catalysts and tools of my practice (publishing handwriting, voice, interviews, towards a new film, and an artist book that accompanies the spaces of Markéta’s research on Peter Wollen, and her diverging interests), I am interested in these overlays as uncovering and constructing the speculative formation of subjectivity influenced by history, actual and possible and within contemporary practices.

The questions of autoethnography and intra-action that my practice brings to these layered and highly disparate acts of looking and imagining, subvert archive access into highlighting notions of the Self through material, and the added indexicality of the archive’s users upon key-searches. My research findings will point to the artist-deployed distinct conjunctions of material and their uses as intentional transformational collisions, non-totalising entanglements (Barad), and fictioning (Burrows and O’Sullivan).