Moving Pictures in Suitcases. Home Movies of German Emigrants in Venezuela Travelling to Europe and Back.
My doctoral project focuses on home movies of German emigrants in Venezuela from the 1950s to the 1970s. The starting point of the research project is a family film collection of my own. In particular, the aspect of international communication and the movement in which those films found themselves will be examined. Also of interest is the transformed meaning that the films that travelled across the Atlantic received in another society: post-war Germany. One of the questions the project explores is the dual function of From Home to Home Movies (which I call them) because they were sent to Europe like letters on film. In them, a dialogue with the European viewer has manifested itself. On the one hand, they function as carrier material for one’s own family memories and, simultaneously, as documentation for others about a life in South America. Other objects of discussion are the places shown and the space between them, as well as the self-images of the German emigrants. These films were part of a more extensive network of transatlantic import and export and a transfer of knowledge (Salazkina 2016), which will also be traced with questions about other objects related to them. The antlers in the living room in relation to the hunting shown in the film and the depiction of a ship on its voyage from Europe to Venezuela on the wall at my grandparents’ home in Hamburg, are also objects relating to the home movies. How did the images from the Caribbean get into the German living room? What is actually the vacation movie here? Where is the film? In this case, in suitcases, plastic bags, a closet and at the moment in a desk in Frankfurt am Main.
Katharina Jost is a research assistant at the research collective “Configurations of Film” and a PhD candidate at the Goethe University, Frankfurt. She studied theatre, film and media studies and art history at the Goethe University, Frankfurt and the University of Vienna. Since 2013, she has been working as a freelancer for the DFF (Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum). For the latter, she has, among other things, written texts for an online exhibition, presented objects from the collection in podcasts and worked on orientalist motifs on lantern images of the museum. In addition to her academic career, she has also been involved in artistic projects, such as a documentary film project. Her research topics include Projections, (post-) colonialism, home movies, amateur film, expatriate identities, exoticism, and (virtual) travel.