Historical Inquiry: Primary Source Analysis (2012-2013)

The video consists of twelve excerpts from archival footage created in Russia between 1917 and 1939. Some of the clips come form the recordings of major historical events, such as the army mutiny during the February revolution, or Moscow show trials, while others show day-to-day life: subway builders posing for a photograph, inmates dancing at Solovki’s labor camp, etc. In each episode the footage is strongly manipulated by slow motion, inner looping and/or digital animation, - the latter referring back to the visual language of Russian Constructivism. For example, the clip from Joseph Stalin’s address at a party meeting in 1937 shows a circle with Stalin’s ear hovering in the black void. The video focuses on a relatively anonymous body part while blotting out the recognizable face – thus invoking the image of an almighty leader, whose face is concealed as something both terrible and holy, but whose presence, although often unacknowledged, continues to haunt Russia’s past and present.

Historical inquiry: Primary source analysis, digitized archival footage and digital animation, 13:54 min., 2012-13