Time: 09:00 - 17:00 o'clock
24 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 February
Deadline enrollment: 17 February 2020
Universität / Haute École
for student applications
"I can't because I don't... I have no... again I have absolutely no memory of that photograph ever being taken."
-Prince Andrew, Duke of York, House of Windsor
In an interview with the BBC, Andrew Albert Christian Edward (a.k.a. Prince Andrew), recently stated that he has "no recollection" of ever having met Virginia Roberts Guiffre and "absolutely no memory" of a photograph showing them together, referring to an accusation made toward him within the Jeffrey Epstein case. In times of so-called "post-truth", this statement isn’t shocking. Yet it raises the fundamental question: When there is "no memory" (or simply denial), did it ever happen? And consequently: What is the role of a camera taking photographs, if they are obsolete?
Content and structure:
The seminar will centre on a reconsideration of the documentary image (from the perspective of film, the moving image and fine arts), its socio-critical approach and the (political) attitude that goes with it. It explores the medium’s place between fact and fiction (construction), its potential, and how it could be used and worked with today.
The seminar will be structured in a 5-day block, giving us the opportunity to profoundly re-examine the above topic from an artist’s perspective. Following a classical overview, where the working tradition of the so-called documentary comes, and how it was established (with examples from Direct Cinema, cinéma vérité and ethnographical film up to classical documentary film), we will place some focus on Harun Farocki, including his working methods and attitude toward the documentary image. This will be the basis for further examination in a contemporary (art) context, also bringing smartphones, the internet, social media and video sharing platforms into consideration as devices for potential use.
The fact that the image – moving or still – is void... is a kick in the teeth. But at second glance, it implies new futures and possibilities, starting again at zero, post-everything. The aim of this seminar is to highlight this interdisciplinary potential, to overcome being stuck in definitions and heading towards an experimental, critical but most of all an encouraging approach when it comes to working with a camera.
Both filmmaker and visual artist Louis Henderson and architect and head of forensic architecture Eyal Weizman will contribute with lectures.
This seminar is for students interested in the topics mentioned above. No prior knowledge is necessary. The goal is for students to get an overview, and a preview, of working with a camera in any capacity.
As a follow-up activity, we will together visit the festival Visions du Réel in Nyon, one of the leading documentary film festivals (for one day between 24 April and 2 May 2020). We will very likely meet Louis Henderson there again as well. Important: This is not obligatory; you will receive ECTS points by attending the seminar week in February! Travel costs will be covered by the MFA.
About the teachers:
Louis Henderson is a filmmaker whose works investigate connections between colonialism, technology, capitalism and history. He is currently trying to find new ways of working with people to address and question our current global condition, defined by racial capitalism and ever-present histories of the European colonial project. His working method is archaeological. Henderson has shown his work at such venues as Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Netherlands; Doc Lisboa, Portugal; CPH:DOX, Copenhagen; New York Film Festival, NY; The Contour Biennial, Belgium; The Kiev Biennial, Ukraine; The Centre Pompidou, Paris; SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; The Gene Siskel Film Center, IL; Gasworks, London; and Tate Britain, London. His work is in the public collection of the Centre National des Arts Plastiques, France.
Eyal Weizman is a British Israeli intellectual and architect. He is Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London and a founding director there of the Centre for Research Architecture at the Department of Visual Cultures. In 2010 he established the agency Forensic Architecture, a multidisciplinary research group based at the University of London that uses architectural techniques and technologies to investigate cases of state violence and violations of human rights around the world and provide advanced architectural and media evidence to civil society groups. In 2018, Forensic Architecture was nominated for the Turner Prize.
Nina Kerschbaumer is a filmmaker and researcher. She is interested in fact and fiction narratives and the deconstruction of common storytelling methods. In her artistic work, she explores how the supposed distinction of private and public space and its visual representation affect concrete social and political decisions. Her research is directly linked to her practice as a Visual Artist, centered around mobile phone photography in social media, its production methods and implications.