Haunting the Truth: Archival Footage in Making a Murderer

According to Parikka’s statement, we may see archival footage as a way to preserve “deep time” of visual culture. It is not rare that many films and televisions use archival footages to claim truth. After all, “Archival footage is footage recording information about an event occurring in the historical world. It is footage previously obtained by someone else for some other purpose.” André Bazin believes there is an undeniable indexical bond between the recorded image and the event recorded, “Only a photographic lens can give us the kind of image of the object that is capable of satisfying the deep need man has to substitute for it something more than a mere approximation, a kind of decal or transfer.”


Making a Murderer, a 10-episode American Documentary television series premiered on Netflix, explores the story of Steven Avery, a man who was in prison for the wrongful conviction of attempted murder and sexual assault. The series chronicles the life the Steven himself as well as relies on photos and records to rediscover the story behind him and the case chronically.



Not all footage captures events. In the final episode of this series, there is an archival footage of George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America that he asks “What is going on in the Wisconsin Department of Justice?”, which is also the core question of most viewers, works as a social imaginary.


Parikka, J. (2014). What is media archaeology. 1st ed. Cambridge: Polity Press, p.32.

THE USE OF ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE IN DOCUMENTARY RHETORIC. (2006). 1st ed. [ebook] Amanda Michelle Grue, p.10. Available at: http://scholarworks.montana.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1/1392/GrueA0506.pdf?sequence=1 [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].

Bazin, Andrè. “The Ontology of the Photographic Image.” What Is Cinema? Vol. 1

Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967: 14.


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