What’s In Between?

The Unarchived and Unarchivable Space of Found-Footage Cinema

  • Annaëlle Winand


Between archives, as documentary by-products of human activity retained for their long-term value, and the archive, as a concept used outside of the discourse of professional archivists, there is a semantic, conceptual, and theoretical gap. However, this interval is particularly fertile. In this space, non-traditional archives users such as found-footage filmmakers find inspiration. Through the narratives of their work, they show what is not always visible in archives. Their artworks confront us with unarchived and unarchivable dimensions (what is not archived and what cannot be archived), constituent of how archives are created. In studying the archives that are part of found-footage works through an archival usage framework (exploitation), three main categories of the unarchived and the unarchivable emerge: absence, which is linked to gaps, fragments, and incompleteness; the forbidden, which manifests in archives as material traces; and the invisible, which is not shown. These three categories have to do with an unconceived (impensé) state – a state of the archival field reflecting the intentional or unintentional inconceivability or omission of some of its theoretical or practical aspects. By investing in the unconceived – in other words, by studying archival science from practices on the margins – it is possible to renew ideas and discourses inside the discipline.

Author Biography

Annaëlle Winand

Annaëlle Winand is a postdoctoral fellow at the Département des sciences historiques de l’Université Laval (Québec). She holds a PhD from the École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information (Université de Montréal) and a master’s degree in history and archives from the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium), where she also worked as an archivist. Her research focuses on the notions of archive(s), unarchivable (inarchivable), and archival unconceived (impensé) in experimental found-footage films and videos as well as in the field of community archives. She works actively in several research projects, including Autres archives, autres histoires: Les archives d’en bas au Québec et France (Université Laval, Québec, and Université d’Angers, France).

How to Cite
Winand, Annaëlle. 2023. “What’s In Between? The Unarchived and Unarchivable Space of Found-Footage Cinema”. Archivaria 95 (May), 68-93. https://archivaria.ca/index.php/archivaria/article/view/13905.