Object! On the Documentary as Art

Norouzi, Minou; Brebenel, Mihaela and Perneczky, Nikolaus. 2017. 'Object! On the Documentary as Art'. In: Object! On the Documentary as Art. Whitechapel Gallery, United Kingdom 4 February 2017. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

This one-day symposium brought together filmmakers, artists and scholars to explore the aesthetic potential, political stakes and ethical challenges that arise from regarding documentary film as an art object. Documentary was considered as a commodity in circulation, a resource in artistic production, a material trace, a document, or simply as “a thing like you and me” (Hito Steyerl).

Object! On the Documentary as Art aimed to reframe the meeting point of films, makers and audiences in ethical terms. In light of the ongoing proliferation of documentary material in artistic production – the so-called ‘documentary turn’– and the exchange of these works in the marketplace as art objects, what are the ethical and political implications of this ‘object turn’ in documentary film? What novel avenues does it open up for critical practice?

The day of presentations included screenings of artists’ films and documentaries, and is complemented by a series of evening programmes at Close Up Film Centre from Tuesday 7 February - 8 March 2017.

Keynote by Erika Balsom (King’s College London)
Presentations by Rosalind Nashashibi and Mairéad McClean on the aesthetic potential and ethical challenges of approaching documentary as a material object.
Judy Price, Stephen Connolly and Sasha Litvintseva on documentary images as traces, their fictions and materiality embedded equally in the production and extraction of histories.

Programme of artists’ films featuring works by Ben Balcom, Hannah Black, Wu Tsang, Sky Hopinka and Neïl Beloufa, followed by “Owed to Bussa / Owed to Senzeni Na”, a live performance by Hannah Catherine Jones (aka Foxy Moron) exploring decolonisation and race-relations using vocals, Theremin and video.

Co-curators: Minou Norouzi, Mihaela Brebenel, Nikolaus Perneczky

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Panel)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Anthropology > Centre for Visual Anthropology (CVA)


September 2016Accepted
4 February 2017Published

Event Location:

Whitechapel Gallery, United Kingdom

Date range:

4 February 2017

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

18 Oct 2019 15:32

Last Modified:

18 Oct 2019 15:32



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