Analogue Media as Gadfly to the Digital Polis

The paper discusses issues concerning our dependence on digital media and the capacity of obsolete media to provide alternative ways of dealing with issues of social concern. In the initial stages of the paper I draw upon the work of Martin Heidegger, Rosalind Krauss, Gilbert Simondon, and Richard Sennett to argue that this dependency does not reside in the media itself, but does so due to commercial ambitions and consequent social norms and expectations. The trajectory of this relationship is towards a total technology that intends to draw users into complete dependence whilst promoting fictional autonomy and democratic access. To follow, I discuss my application of small format cine media for an ongoing project: A Profound Difference (2019). This project asks young collaborators to speak to a camera of their attitudes towards the outcome of the EU Referendum. The work has been developed and presented in a number of ways as forms of expanded cinema, in particular as film loops, using multiple analogue cine projectors, with the footage projected onto mock-polling booths (FORMAT19 Photography Festival, University of Derby, 15th March 2019). To conclude, I discuss how the materiality of this analogue media, as an intrinsic physical presence in the work, produces a thickening of the visual media, and allows the work to make reference to history and comment on issues of critical importance to our current period. (Please note: I have also submitted a proposal for a workshop that is related to this formal presentation)

Digital, Visual, Media, Obsolete, Analogue, Cine, Materiality, Social, Heidegger, Simondon

2020 Special Focus - Against the Grain: Arts and the Crisis of Democracy

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

  • Dr. Philip Harris
    • Programme Leader BA (Hons) Photography, School of Arts, University of Derby, United Kingdom United Kingdom
    • I have worked as an educator, specialising in photographic media, for over 20 years, acting as leader of a number of programme since 2007. I am currently Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Photography at the University of Derby. My concerns as a researcher and maker encompass theories of making, the significance of technology and media, and issues relating to politics, environment and landscape. Current work involves the (mis)use of small format cine film for the exploration of young people and politics (A Profound Difference, 2019, ongoing) and landscape (River-Film, 2019, also ongoing). These projects include experimentations with the physicality of machinery, materiality of cine film, image, sound, and environment to develop ways to deal with cultural issues and social concerns. Recent activities include co-organisation of the FORMAT19 Photography Festival Conference (University of Derby, 15th March 2019), incorporating three parallel streams with over 30 international speakers and 200 delegates. The first iteration of expanded cine project A Profound Difference was installed and exhibited for the opening on FORMAT19, 15th March 2019 (viewable here: Another ongoing expanded cine project River-Film, based on the course of the River Derwent, was installed and exhibited for the Landscape and Legacy conference, University of Derby, 26th June 2019 (viewable here: