The heretical archive: Digital memory at the end of film

Domietta Torlasco*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook

20 Scopus citations


The Heretical Archive examines the relationship between memory and creation in contemporary artworks that use digital technology while appropriating film materials. Domietta Torlasco argues that these digital films and multimedia installations radically transform our memory of cinema and our understanding of the archive. Indeed, such works define a notion of archiving not as the passive preservation of audiovisual signs but as an intervention and the creative rearticulation of cinema’s perceptual and political textures. Connecting psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and feminist theory in innovative ways, Torlasco analyzes cutting-edge digital works that engage with the past of European cinema and visual culture, including video installations by Monica Bonvicini (Destroy She Said) and Pierre Huyghe (The Ellipsis), Agnes Varda’s film The Gleaners and I, Marco Poloni’s multimedia installation The Desert Room, and Chris Marker’s CD-ROM Immemory. Torlasco’s central claim is that if the archives of psychoanalysis and cinema have long privileged the lineage that runs from Oedipus to Freud, the archives of the digital age-what she calls the “heretical archive”-can help us imagine an unruly, porous, multifaceted legacy, one in which marginal figures return to speak of lost life as much as of life that demands to be lived.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherUniversity of Minnesota Press
Number of pages125
ISBN (Electronic)9781452939650
ISBN (Print)9780816681099
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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