Shifting Ecologies of Photochemical Film in the Digital Era

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In today’s high-tech media landscape, where cycles of consumption and disposal and upgrades and updates are commonplace, the subject of obsolescence takes on a heightened significance. Many technological changes have occurred during the history of cinema, but none have had such a transformative effect on the industry as the transition from analogue (or photochemical) film to digital. Since the early 2000s, the medium of film has moved from a dominant to a marginal position as digital technology has rendered photochemical and mechanical technology obsolete on a commercial scale. Despite this, artists are finding new ways to work with film, forging alternative communities, pursuing artisanal methods, repurposing abandoned equipment, reinventing primitive techniques and exploring new hybrid technologies.