Belslijntje or the re-imagination of a memorial site. The analogue home video as artistic strategy

The central threefold research question of this PhD is: (1) what part did home video as a cultural practice play in the imagination of a shared past, (2) how does this same practice define our view of that past today and (3) how can you, as a film maker, develop a meta- reflective point of view regarding that source material.

The starting point for the investigation is the “Belslijntje”, a railway between Belgium and The Netherlands that was replaced by a bicycle path in 1989. With this decision the last remains of the social entity that had grown around the Belslijntje disappeared. What remained was a shared collective memory. That memory was represented by the inhabitants themselves in a rich corpus of analogue home videos filmed just before 1989.

In a first phase this specific source material will be collected in collaboration with various heritage organizations. The second phase will investigate the narrative strategies that were used in these amateur films and the way in which they pictured their collective and individual (nostalgic) memory. In the final phase the researcher will make a film in which the home videos are recontextualized as archaeological source material and, at the same time, questioned regarding their presupposed cultural connotations (authenticity, intimacy, amateurism). Simultaneously, this project will investigate how an appropriation film can offer an insight in specific performative strategies of collective memory.

This shown film on the youtube-channel is the first artistic step in this research. Discovering the materiality of VHS.