Screen Cultures at the Gorizia Spring School 2015

By Oliver Carter on April 18th, 2015

Oliver Carter and John Mercer were once again invited to present at the annual Gorizia Spring School, held at the University of Udine, March 18-20, 2015.

Oliver and John presented a workshop, which focused on the topic of vintage porn and how one might approach researching vintage pornography. John discussed the history of gay pornography, particularly the differing epoques of gay pornographic cinema. Oliver focused on the recent Blu-Ray release of the vintage porn film The Opening of Misty Beethoven (Radley Metzger, 1976), and how the remediation of the film on different home video technologies challenges the way that audiences perceive the film. The abstract for their workshop is as follows:

Researching Vintage Porn: Topics, Issues, Objects and Methods

The term ‘vintage porn’ has gained popular purchase in recent years and is used to describe a very wide range of materials from early loops and the so called ‘stag films’ of the middle years of the 20th century, to avant garde and experimental films of the late 1960s and early 1970s through to mid 1980s and early 1990s commercial porn. The very elasticity of the term means that vintage porn is a potentially troublesome object of study and also one that illustrates some of the challenges that any researcher faces when studying porn more generally, namely questions of epistemology and the challenges posed by defining terms of reference within the field.

The need for clarity, precision and an appropriate method are just as important when studying porn as they are when embarking on any other research project. Using some examples of materials that have been identified as belonging to the amorphous category of ‘vintage porn’ this workshop is designed to explore some of the issues that porn researchers may well face and through exploring the issues of debate around ‘vintage porn’ we aim to help you to formulate viable and robust research questions.

Oliver presented an additional paper at the Film Heritage strand of the conference, which focused on his continuing research into the practice of fan archivism. Oliver dicussed how fans of Italian cult cinema assume the role of archivist as they digitise, re-appropriate and distribute Italian cult films through online communities of practice. The abstract for the paper is as follows:

Preserving All’Italiana: Fan Curation of Italian Cult Cinema

This paper explores how fans of Italian cult cinema curate archives through their capturing, preserving and sharing of Italian cult cinema. Often responding to the political and economic limitations of rights holders and other gatekeepers of cultural heritage, fan archivists are making materials available for access through online communities of practice. These communities are being formed to collectively seek out, capture, preserve and make accessible a range of popular cultural artefacts, with fans participating in what Andy Bennett (2009) describes as DIY preservationism”.

Building on recent studies of fan archival practice, such as Abigail De Kosnik (2012), Ken Garner (2012) and my own research (Carter, 2013), I examine how fans of Italian cult cinema assume the role of archivist as they digitise, share and reappropriate Italian cult film. Drawing on virtual ethnographic study of online fan archival practices, including interviews with those who participate in such activities, I focus on two main instances of archival activity: that which takes place on a file-sharing website I name CineTorrent. The practices that take place on these communities of practice not only demonstrate how fans participate in a form of archaeology, which involves preserving materials that are ignored by formal gatekeepers of cultural heritage, but also play a crucial role in the preserving of Italian cult cinema for future consumption.


Bennett, A. (2009) ‘Heritage rock’: Rock music, representation and heritage discourse. Poetics 37(5–6), 474–489

Carter, O. (2013) ‘Sharing All’Italiana. Riproduzione e distribuzione del genere I sui siti Torrent’ (English Title: Sharing All’Italiana – The Reproduction and Distribution of the giallo on Torrent File-Sharing Websites). In Braga, R. and Caruso, G. (Eds.) The Piracy Effect, Milan: Mimesis Cinergie, pp147-157.

De Kosnik, A. (2012) ‘The Collector is the Pirate’. International Journal of Communication, 6. Available at: 1222/718 [Accessed: 4 November 2012].

Garner, K. (2012) ‘Ripping the pith from the Peel: Institutional and Internet cultures of archiving pop music radio’. The Radio Journal – International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media, 10(2), pp89-111.