Autumn Knight & Elena Past
#FilmIsAlive: Ferrania Filmstock and the Problem of Fixing Time
Born as a munitions plant making gunpowder for the Russians, in 1918 an Italian company named Ferrania converted guncotton to celluloid and became one of few global producers of celluloid film stock. Ferrania’s filmstock was the material support for some of the most important Italian films of the twentieth century, and also for industrial documentaries and countless home movies. Although Ferrania closed in 2010 as digital claimed an increasingly large market share, today, two entrepreneurs have reopened an artisan-industrial scale factory to produce analog film: as a popular hashtag declares, #FilmIsAlive.
Elena Past’s project studies the factory through the lens of the environmental humanities, probing the enduring lives of cultural archives and the future of analog film in a digital world. Taking FILM Ferrania as her case study, her shoptalk considers why the material makeup of celluloid filmstock and the early culture of cinema led to some major challenges in preserving and archiving film. She then thinks through how the impulse to “fix time”—to stabilize the cinematic image for future viewers—creates discordant concerns about what to preserve and how to preserve it.
Elena Past is the Rome Prize Fellow in Modern Italian Studies and professor in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Wayne State University.
Dolce far niente/sweetness of doing nothing, is proposed in this event as a series of questions regarding time, labor, capital, laziness, respect, enjoyment. Autumn Knight will share text concerning various concepts: dolce far niente, otium, and “Southerness.”
Autumn Knight is the Nancy B. Negley Rome Prize Fellow in Visual Arts and an artist based in New York.
You can watch Elena Past’s shoptalk live. Please register for Zoom in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.
The shoptalks will be held in English.
Space in the Lecture Room is limited, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you plan to attend an event with a group of over six guests or students, please inform events [at] aarome.org with at least 48 hours prior notice so that special arrangements can be made.
Guests will be asked to comply with Covid-19 safety protocols for events:
- Access to the Academy requires the presentation of a valid photo ID and a Green Pass
- Masks are required when indoors, and temperature will be checked before entry
- Visitor contact information may be shared for contact tracing
Please contact events [at] aarome.org with any questions.
Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than 40 x 35 x 15 cm (16 x 14 x 6 in.) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.