"Unessential Cinema: Performative Curation of Obsolete Films"

Ekaterina Kipiatkova

Unessential Cinema was a screening program compiled of stock material from the vaults of Anthology Film Archives, curated by Andrew Lampert. The screenings aimed at making the disregarded films from the archive visible. In the paper, I investigate why certain films are anointed, while others are claimed "unessential" and obsolete. Examining archival and curatorial strategies related to the "unessential" materials, I suggest that performative exhibition of obsolete films is a productive lens to study cinema as an event. Approaching film as a performative art reveals that, above all the imposed labels and categories, cinema is a form of ephemeral entertainment.


Ekaterina Kipiatkova is an independent art curator and researcher from Saint Petersburg, Russia. She holds a BA in Film Theory Studies from Smolny College, Saint Petersburg State University, Russia, in partnership with Bard College, New York.

Citation: Ekaterina Kipiatkova, "Unessential Cinema: Performative Curation of Obsolete Films," Artifact & Apparatus: Journal of Media Archaeology 1 (Fall 2021): 65–80.