Microreview: TraumaZone: How to Approach an Archive

Traumazone Information
Traumazone Information: Collage by Julia Heurling, made with film stills from Traumazone by Adam Curtis, 2024
Traumazone Court
TraumaZone Court: Collage by Julia Heurling, made with film stills from Traumazone by Adam Curtis, 2024
Traumazone Believe
Traumazone Believe: Collage by Julia Heurling, made with film stills from Traumazone by Adam Curtis, 2024
Date
2024 May
Subtitle
Julia Heurling reviews Adam Curtis: Russia 1985-1999: TraumaZone - What It Felt Like to Live Through The Collapse of Communism and Democracy. 7 Videos (ca. 1 hr each).
Type
microreview
Author / Publisher
Julia Heurling for NewsLibrary
Author Info

Julia Heurling is an artist and PhD candidate at Plymouth University, with a background as a pattern designer. Her research is engaged with visual thinking informed by repetition, in the borderland between photography and pattern. Born and active in Stockholm.

Language

English

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Newsletter No. 63

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Adam Curtis’ ‘Russia 1985-1999: TraumaZone - What It Felt Like to Live Through The Collapse of Communism and Democracy’ is a 7-episode documentary published on YouTube, based on archival material from BBC’s former Moscow bureau. Through a compilation of disconnected film clips, the viewer gets an insight into everyday life in Russia during this period. Or, as the title says, what this ‘felt like’.

The documentary comes across as artistic research. An archive can be approached and used in many ways. Curtis’ work is systematic, while also revealing a commitment to the material on an artistic level. The story told demands something from the viewer both intellectually and emotionally, while also commenting on the format of documentary.

Adam Curtis’ films have sometimes been described as collages. Collage can also be a method for reviewing. Reviewing archive material, or a documentary film. It can be a way to collect and organise visual material, to process or reflect on it in a visual way. As a method to review and reflect, I have made collages from still images from ‘TraumaZone’. The documentary is exemplary for open access standards: published on YouTube, it is accessible to anyone, as all research should be.