Critical Writing Index

Mining the Home Movie

by Karen L. Ishizuka and Patricia R. Zimmermann

Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008

ISBN 978-0-520-23087-6

Hungarian artist Péter Forgács reflects on home videos and their value using aphorisms from Wittgenstein's philosophy to couch his remarks. These observations stem from his own artistic practice and research in appropriating archival footage to reconstruct private histories.

The home video for Forgács is a biographical document. These images depict not only the events unfolding in the film, but also details about the camera operator. Although only a small fraction of a human’s life is spent behind or in front of a camera, these moments become the most important documents in trying to reconstruct a past life or world.

The essay closes with Forgács discussing his film The Maelstrom, in which home movies shot in the Netherlands before and during WWII show the life of a Jewish family. Information about the events and family are communicated through subtitles and work to cover the gap between the information conveyed through the images and the actual historical and political events of the time.

ITEM 2008.198 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

The MaelstromPéter Forgács