The geographical center of North America

Goycoolea, Adrian (2004) The geographical center of North America. [Video]

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Item Type: Video
Additional Information: This film is a deconstructive essay documentary exploring the evolving cultural status of the home movie in the American psyche. It takes as its object of study the 8mm home movies of a man named Chester Swavel who travelled around the American Midwest with his family during the 1950s. These films have served many cultural functions over time: orginally created as private repositories of family memory, they became archival documents, objects of e-commerce, and were finally reclaimed as works of art. The research objective is to interrogate the relationships between personal memory and wider social histories, taking the Swavels' films as an entrypoint for exploring the meaning and stability of each category. The film foregrounds the place of the highway and family tourism in the cultural geography of mid-century America. The Swavels visit tourist destinations such as Mt. Rushmore, but also journey to the geographical center of North America and the geographical centre of the USA locations that are visually unremarkable, but of symbolic significance. In selecting and editing this found footage, Goycoolea focuses attention on the specificity of American landscapes, and the signifiers of national identity produced in this kind of travel film. Through visual and aural manipulation, he asks the spectator to consider the Swavel films as prosthetic memories, opening out the ways that the film image can evoke an emotional sense of pastness. The film was selected for the Rural Route Film Festival and was screened at Anthology Film Archives in New York (July 28-30, 2006). It was also included in the Festival's travelling programme and screened at several venues across the United States. Goycoolea was interviewed at the C.S.P.S Arts Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (November 24, 2006) and the film has been cited in an article by Louis Schwartz, currently under consideration at Critical Inquiry.
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Depositing User: Adrian Goycoolea
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:46
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2012 11:26
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