Lecture

12 November 2005

On Documenting (truth and politics)

“I’ve been told that it’s a documentary, but I don’t know the meaning of that word,” Godard once said talking about one of his “documentary-like” films. This seemingly simple remark touches upon the complexity of documentary approaches in visual arts production. One is faced above all with a paradoxical situation: while we are accustomed to the post-structural denouncement of truth, we also observe the increasing tendency of adopting documentary methods in contemporary arts—“documentarism.” Further, given that the definition of documentary is “presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter,” the use of documentary elements in the arts is unavoidably problematized in terms of its subjective and rhetorical manner. It is in this context that the complexity arises: Is the word “document” valid any longer in its practical usage? Why “documentation” instead of “staging?” What kind of knowledge does art produce by way of documentary approaches if not facts or truth? If it doesn’t pretend to be objective, how does art deal with the given or found documents? What kind of effects does it achieve? And crucially, does this kind of production involve any political responsibility? Particularly with regard to the subject of war, cultural critic Boris Buden, filmmaker and theoretician Hito Steyerl, and artist Renzo Martens present diverse examples of the use of documents-including their own practices—and critically interpret these questions.

Suggestions from the archive

Exhibition

31 October–31 December 2004

Cordially Invited, episode 3

Cordially Invited examines the issue of hospitality in relation to a topic of major global, political, and moral consequence today: migration. The project explores these issues through the notion of a cordial invitation, understood here as a symbolic tool which can be used to negotiate between two imaginary, unattainable ideals: the unrestricted right to move across political and economic boundaries, and the unqualified acceptance such rights imply.

Exhibition

Lecture

Lecture

Lecture

Lecture

Lecture Program

12 November–17 December 2005

Undercurrents

Undercurrents is a dynamic, informal forum for reflection about what is behind the contemporary state of warfare. It is developed as an equal parallel to the exhibition Soft Target. War as a Daily, First-Hand Reality.

Summer School

22-26 July 2019

BAK Summer School: Art as Politics

BAK Summer School: Art as Politics brings together those involved in arts, academia, and social action to collectively think through, learn about, and imagine critical, politically-informed artistic practices that grasp and influence our dramatically changing times. Deadline for applications: 1 May 2019.

Lecture

Education Program

11 March–15 April 2019

Course: Art and Politics

The basic course of the BAK School for Art and Politics is organized from 11 March until 15 April 2019. In six weekly sessions, the participants learn about how contemporary art relates to the political in an accessible way. The course is taught by Maria Hlavajova, BAK’s general and artistic director.