Lecture

12 November 2005

On Documenting (truth and politics)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNkLm9s6cx4&list=PLKRIMgiirxA7aT11arzChimn9V6bws2v8&index=2&t=0s

“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

Summer School

9-13 September 2019

Bratislava BAK Summer School: Art as Politics

The Bratislava BAK Summer School: Art as Politics is a collaborative and intensive learning week in Bratislava from 9–13 September 2019, organized in partnership with Open Studio/ Studio IN – Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, APART Collective in Bratislava, and initiated by Kristína Országhová.

Exhibition

4-18 July 2019

Futures Without…

From 4–18 July 2019, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst hosts the HKU MA Fine Art Graduation Show Futures Without... This transdisciplinary graduation show features video, spatial installations, sound and visual experiences, drawings, objects and photographs. It also hosts a vivid program of daily performances.

Series

10 March 2019–05 January 2020

BAK, basis voor…

In the series BAK, basis voor…, BAK joins forces with other organizations in addressing shared urgencies and developing propositions for “being together otherwise.” The series is part of the preparatory phase of the forthcoming project Trainings for the Not-Yet, organized by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk and BAK from September 2019–January 2020.