Inspired by an early movie projector of the same name, the Bioscope is a hand-held medium to experience cinematic memories in relative time. By inserting a usb stick and rotating the handle, any digital (or digitized) home movie is animated frame by frame, forward or in reverse, relative to the speed and direction you turn the dial. The Bioscope demands its audience to engage with speed and chronology in order to actually see moving images. Here, the act of seeing is subjectively constructed through each frame and view.

The Bioscope synthesizes the intrinsic qualities of the digital and the analogue, such as appropriation and remixing seen in digital culture, as well as direct interaction and spatial experience seen in physical things. It enables people to collect from electronic archives, to take ownership and generate new relations. The bioscope is designed by Jon Stam & Simon de Bakker and was developed as part of the V2_ Summer Sessions. It is now produced on demand for exhibitions, events, and personal use.

Materials: SLS casing, micro LCD display, custom electronics.
Size: L15,5cm x H16,5cm x W4cm.
Price on request

The original Bioscope was used as a traveling attraction, the films shown were mostly self-produced by its local operators. And so accordingly, this device is designed for the candid nature amateur productions, such as home movies. Yet unlike the original, this Bioscope presents imagery in a digital format, loaded from a removable USB stick and displayed on an integrated micro-LCD screen. Thus enabling people to collect from the electronic archives, to take ownership and make new relations between older and newer media.

We see the Bioscope as more than pure nostalgia or a simple hack. Enabling frame by frame viewing of (digital or digitised) movies through the turn of the dial, the viewer becomes active and can speed-up time, stop time, reanimate time, as well reverse in time. The Bioscope treats the movie not as fixed narrative, but as one that is subjectively constructed through each frame and each view, engaging us to notice the discrete relationships which manifest personal meaning.

Watching movies we have grown accustomed to the usual format and cinematic rules, and so our gaze remains a passive one. The home movie however tends to escape these film rules. Because these movies are made for private purposes and mediated

through specific devices in the home each frame speaks to a select audience which alone can decode its particular references. As time passes by and home movies turn up in archives, their power to pierce and prick us increases exponentially. Through lost memories and a reciprocity of time these frames now speak to us in different ways. The act of seeing is activated when we notice the customs, the interiors, the clothing, the events, but also the unexpected and accidental which turn these recordings in such rich social-historical memorabilia. Through the captivated memories of others, we see our own.

The home movies of today still capture the private and the unexpected events of our lives. The networked society offers many possibilities to bypass the old rules of film, inviting its users to remix, reframe and hack content. Yet at the same time other rules arise. Time gets a different role here, as it is not its passing that revaluates the home movie, value is measured by the amount of times a youtube has been watched. If everyone wants to be seen, the question of presenting a picture of our private selves remains in a culture of sharing. Just like the candid nature amateur productions the Bioscope escapes the rules, combining the power of both the traditional home movie and the remixable 'youtubes' of today.

bioscope from Jon Stam on Vimeo.