A profound difference: Visualising politics through obsolete media

Book chapter

Harris, Philip 2020. A profound difference: Visualising politics through obsolete media. in: Cambridge Scholars.
AuthorsHarris, Philip

This paper is a revised and edited version of that which was delivered at the conference for the FORMAT19 International Photography Festival, for which I acted as co-organiser and co-editor. An iteration of the paper was delivered at Exposure Photography Festival, Calgary, Canada, 2020, to support my exhibition in the festival in addition to a workshop on analogue cine media.

The essay discusses the research into and use experimental use of media for a visual project, A Profound Difference, staged at the launch of FORMAT19, 15th March, at the University of Derby. A further iteration was presented for Departure Lounge, 20th July 2019.

The visual project was made between October 2018 and March 2019. It was centred around concerns for the future circumstances of young people as a result of the UK referendum to leave the EU, held on the 26th June 2016.

The project employed a very specific use of media in the form of continental, Standard 8mm cine film equipment dating from the 1950s, the rationale being that this was the media Europeans used to record their lives during the period in which the supra-national state of Europe was first being formed. The project was publicly staged as a largescale installation with multiple projectors throwing looped footage of the young people onto the sides of polling booths.

Using the visual work as a vehicle, the essay describes theoretical research for the employment of obsolete media to engage with current political issues. I discuss theories of making with reference to Martin Heidegger, Gilbert Simondon, Elaine Scary, and Hito Steyerl, to create a framework for a critically informed use of obsolete visual media. My argument is that due to obsolete analogue media escaping the market drives of digital media, it has a potential to raise awareness of our current dependence on digital media for which we have questionable agency.

Keywordsphotographic medium; FORMAT Festival
PublisherCambridge Scholars
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/625515
File Access Level
File Access Level
Publication dates17 Dec 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Jan 2021, 12:05
Accepted01 Jun 2020

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

ContributorsUniversity of Derby
Permalink -


Download files

File access level: Open

File access level: Open

  • 20
    total views
  • 0
    total downloads
  • 1
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

Lockdown Apple Blossom (music performance with cine film)
Harris, P. 2022. Lockdown Apple Blossom (music performance with cine film).
Hymn for Ukraine: Siren Song
Harris, P. 2022. Hymn for Ukraine: Siren Song. Dubrek Studios, Derby 12 Aug - 21 Sep 2022
Hymn for Ukraine
Harris, P. 2022. Hymn for Ukraine.
Stay at Home
Harris, P. 2021. Stay at Home.
Lockdown Apple Blossom
Harris, P. 2021. Lockdown Apple Blossom.
A profound difference: InDialogue Symposium
Harris, Philip 2019. A profound difference: InDialogue Symposium. University of Derby.
River-Film: Cine installation
Harris, Philip 2019. River-Film: Cine installation.
A profound difference: Installation
Harris, Philip 2019. A profound difference: Installation. FORMAT.
Mythologies, Identities and Territories of Photography: Forever//Now
Marmalade, Gemma and Harris, Philip 2020. Mythologies, Identities and Territories of Photography: Forever//Now. Cambridge Scholars.
A Profound Difference: Departure Lounge
Harris, Philip 2019. A Profound Difference: Departure Lounge. Departure Lounge.
Ngland: Exposure Festival
Harris, Philip 2020. Ngland: Exposure Festival. Exposure Festival.
Harris, Philip and Marmalade, Gemma 2019. FORMAT19: FOREVER//NOW. FORMAT.