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The Digital Emergence of a New History: The Archiving of Colonial Japanese Documentaries on Taiwan

By Yu-lin Lee

Abstract

This paper explores the recent restoration in digital form of documentary films produced during the Japanese colonial period, seeking to address the significance of this digital archivization in relation to the construction of a renewed historical past. I argue that the digital versions are not simply copies or reproductions of the original films; rather, the digital archive actually creates an "incorporeal" space, a frontier one can term a "digital archival surface" where the archived meets the virtual. This "surface," according to Michel Foucault's analysis of archivization, references the immaterial effects that articulate a phantasm of history made more possible by the digital event. More significantly, these digitalized films are accessible to their viewers through a process of composition and editing through which a new history is created. History in this sense becomes less an event of historical duration than one that becomes phantasmatic by having effects that introduce discontinuities. This paper seeks to show how digital archivization can express or create a "new" history; it also explores the idea that this preservation project may become, as the project director has claimed, a truly "ethical" event

Topics: colonial Japanese documentary films, Southward Expansion to Taiwan, archivization, surface effect, phantasm of history, Japanese colonial memories of Taiwan
Year: 2014
OAI identifier: oai:ir.lib.nchu.edu.tw:11455/84651
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