Guy Edmonds

Project: Early cinema and cognitive creativity

Investigate the experience of early cinema in relation to the cognitive impact of analogue and digital film projection technology.


My research interests revolve around exploring and understanding the affective potential of the moving image, especially historical moving images. In general, I am interested in effects that exist outside of the narrative form as discussed in the majority of film and media studies. The objects of my research therefore are classes of film which resist or exhibit alternative techniques of storytelling, such as early film, experimental film and amateur film and home movies. In my CogNovo project, I aim to discover new insight into the role played by differing projection technologies and how they condition our perceptual and cognitive response, through the application of electroencephalography (EEG) analysis to the cinema viewing experience.

My academic interests in early cinema and home movies are mirrored in practical terms in the development of two unique programming series in which I propose new contexts for found films. Firstly, the 'Séance du Cinema' performances where spiritualistic mediums attempt to divine further information about the unknown protagonists of found home movies and, secondly, the 'Saloon of Refuse' in which a wide variety of often fragmentary film forms are saved from landfill for last chance saloon screenings. My research and archival work are also informed by active participation in filmmaking, its techniques and culture.


I am a freelance film restorer and archivist with fifteen years experience in the sector having previously worked at the EYE Film Institute (formerly Nederlands Filmmuseum), Christie's Camera and Photographic auctions and The Cinema Museum in London. I received my MA in Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image from the University of Amsterdam in 2006.

My writings on the subject of Home Movies and Amateur film have appeared in specialised edited volumes, the academic journal, Film History, the monthly film magazine, Skrien, and the Stichting Amateurfilm magazine and website. I have been an organiser of many Home Movie Day events in London and Amsterdam. I am a member of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image and a member of the artist-run film lab cooperative, Filmwerkplaats.


  • 2018. ‘Deviating Devices, or, the Camera with a Brain’, Transtechnology Research Reader 2015/17, Plymouth University
  • 2017. With Lewin, S., ‘The Displaced Dispositif’ in Off the Lip: Collaborative Approaches to Cognitive Innovation special issue of AVANT. Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies, Bydgoszcz DOI 10.26913/80s02017.0111.0020
  • 2016. With Wengström, J., Gant, A. & Ruedel, U. ‘FoFA Case Studies 2012-2015’, Journal of Film Preservation, no. 94, 4/2016, FIAF, Brussels
  • 2016. ‘Vitascope Movie-Maker: a ludic historiography’ in, Exposing the Film Apparatus: The Film Archive as a Research Laboratory. Amsterdam University Press
  • 2016. 'Electrophysiology of Cinema Spectatorship' in Off the Lip: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Cognitive Innovation. Conference Proceedings. Plymouth University
  • 2015. With Rossella Catanese and Bregt Lameris, ‘Hand-Painted Abstractions: Experimental Color in the Creation and Restoration of Ballet mécanique’. The Moving Image, vol. 15, no.1, University of Minnesota Press DOI 10.5749/movingimage.15.1.0092
  • 2014. 'Reading "Hand-powered Mentalism"’ in Media Archaeology and Cognition: Transtechnology Research Reader 2014/15, Plymouth University
  • 2013. ‘Historical, Aesthetic, Cultural: The Problematical Value of Amateur Cine Fiction’ in Ian Craven and Ryan Shand (eds) Small-Gauge Storytelling, Edinburgh University Press
  • 2012. ‘Conserving the Unwieldy Body – A Material Approach to the Cinematographic Remains of Paul Julien’ in Sonja Kmec and Viviane Thill (eds) Tourists and Nomads. Amateur Images of Migration. Marburg: Jonas Verlag
  • 2008. ‘Necromancy at Home and in the Workplace’ in Blik #2.0 Tijdschrift voor Audiovisuele Cultuur, October 2008, 34-39.
  • 2008. ‘Verborgen levens’ in Skrien jrgl. 40, no. 4, juni / juli 2008, 12-13.
  • 2008. ‘Liefde voor de amateur’ in Skrien jrgl. 40, no. 4, juni / juli 2008, 61.
  • 2007. ‘Amateur Widescreen, or some forgotten skirmishes in the battle of the gauges’, in Film History: An International Journal, Dec 2007, Vol. 19, No. 4: 401-413. URL
  • 2007. ‘Associazione Home Movies, l'Archivio Nazionale del Film di Famiglia: An interview with Paolo Simoni and Karianne Fiorini of Italy's amateur-film archive’ in Film History: An International Journal, Dec 2007, Vol. 19, No. 4: 423-428. URL

Research Presentations

  • 2018 February 24: “Becoming an Archaeological Projectionist”, The New Projectionists: VJing, AV Perfromance and Post-Cinematic Projection, Centrala Projects, Birmingham
  • 2017 October 28: ‘Frames and Rituals: The Mobile Borders of the Cinema Experience’, Stories (Aesthetics and Politics) About Anonymous Cinema - International Seminar on Amateur and Orphan Films and the Concept of Authorship, Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola, Donostia/San Sebastian
  • 2017 October 22: ‘Floating in the Hybridity Continuum’ Film in the Present Tense, University of the Arts, Berlin
  • 2017 August 17: ‘The Displaced Dispostif’, Off The Lip 2017: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Cognitive Innovation. Plymouth University
  • 2017 April 1: “Saloon of Refuse: Only imperfection has a future, perfection is an end” Future Imperfect, Plymouth University
  • 2016 December 2: ‘Towards an Archaeology of Historical Audio-visual Perception’ From Matter to Mind: Expanding the reach of film preservation to include the cinema experience, Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam
  • 2015 September 9: ‘Electrophysiology of Cinema Spectatorship’ Off The Lip – Transdisciplinary approaches to cognitive innovation, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK

Research Seminars

  • ‘Deviating Devices: the productive misuse of technology.’ With Agatha Haines. Transtechnology Research Seminar Series, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK, 14 December 2016.
  • ‘The Knife Anatomised: A Forensics of the Inter-frame Space’ Transtechnology Research Seminar Series, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK, 17 February 2016.
  • ‘The Ascetic Image: Technologies of Disavowal’. With Udo Hudelmaier, Jane Hutchinson, Abigail Jackson, Nick Peres. Transtechnology Research Seminar Series, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK, 18 March 2015.
  • ‘Technophilia: Technologies for the Corrupted Body’. With Agatha Haines. Transtechnology Research Seminar Series, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK, 21 January 2015.

Public Engagement

  • 2016 December 2: Organised and led expert meeting ‘From Matter to Mind: Expanding the reach of film preservation to include the cinema experience’, Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam
  • 2015 October 26: ‘The Divorce of Eye and Ear is an Accident of the History of Technology’, podcast with Roger Malina, in honour of World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2015, URL
  • 2015 May 4-8: Guest of Europe on Screen Film Festival, daily talks and discussions and media interviews about film preservation and restoration, knowledge transfer with staff at the Sinematek Indonesia. Various locations in Jakarta, Indonesia, including: Erasmus Huis, GoetheHaus, Institut Francais, Universitas Multimedia Nusantara. Flick Interview // Guy Edmonds - Film Restorer // Europe on Screen 2015

Film Screenings

  • 2018 January 15: 35mm film ‘The Great Train Robbery’ (1903) by Edwin S. Porter. Hand-cranked projection with accompaniment by the Imperfect Orchestra, Jill Craigie Cinema, Plymouth University
  • 2017 May 20: found film performance, ‘Saloon of Refuse’ VIth edition, and Panelist on discussion of archival issues, Der Klingende Amateurfilm, Lichtspiel, Bern
  • 2017 April 1: 16mm film ‘Keas Fenester’ by Guy Edmonds at Future Imperfect Symposium, Plymouth University
  • 2015 June 7: 16mm film ‘Bugatti – Le Terrain Anglais’ by Guy Edmonds, “Bugatti, Ferrari & Schnelle Flitzer, Ein Abend mit dem Filmer Guy Edmonds, Lichtspiel, Bern”