In the opening passages to Nadine Gordimer’s recent collection of short stories, she notes that ‘[t]he past is valid only in relation to whether the present recognises it’.1 This recognition is, of course, central, to the any new historical unfolding or distillation. For without recognition, the history lies only as quiet and still as the mute sources the historian Keith Jenkins refers to and which the researcher attempts to make speak. This book has its origins in research undertaken for my doctoral thesis as part of a 1970s British cinema project. My love of 1970s experimental films, their earlier antecedents and later successors, which I had come across in my research as an artist/filmmaker (working with both film and video amongst other media) inspired me to take on the guise of historian and map this complex, but rich and beguiling field. At the outset it was the many diverse films which equally enthralled, intrigued or perplexed that spurred me on. The discovery that this history was in parts biased, misaligning certain filmmakers and failing to account for the actual diversity in the already established history of structural and material experimentation, was made plain by the recognition that the ‘return to image’ phrase - perpetuated throughout these histories -was simply not true. The accepted understanding that ‘image’ made a return at the end of the decade has allowed for a neat packaging of 1970s history — notably the theoretically informed dominant structural and material position — to set it apart from other types of filmmaking allegedly emerging at the end of the 1970s/ beginning of the 1980s.
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- Conclusion: (Re)cognitions and (Re)considerations for This History
- Palgrave Macmillan UK