Documentary as Evidence?

Fall 2010
PUBLISHING info: Published as "The Action of Seeing," with Khadija Carroll La in Kaleidoscope

Six years ago curator Jeff Kipnis observed that the documentary was a missed opportunity that garnered little attention within the art world. Today discussions and presentations of the documentary, either taken up as a subject of exploration directly, or comprising a dominant genre within an exhibition, are everywhere: Documentary Forum 1: New Practices across Disciplines,” opened in Berlin in early June followed by the Berlin Biennale “what is waiting out there,” and the Bucharest Biennale “Handlung. On Producing Possibilities.” At the same time, Allan Sekula is exhibiting Polonia and Other Fables in Budapest until this September, and “The Storyteller,” an exhibition curated by Claire Gilman and Margaret Sundell, will open this fall at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, after having toured to Salinas, Kansas, New York and Toronto. The exhibition features, among others, Jeremy Deller, Emanuel Licha, Omer Fast and Hito Stereyl (who in 2008 co-published, together with Maria Lind, the prescient The Green Room, a collection of essays that considers how the documentary has evolved over the past two decades).What these exhibitions evidence, what the publications no doubt document and argue, is that from younger artists such as Mark Boulos, Marie Voignier, and Renzo Martens to established figures such as Sekula, Fast and Steyerl, the documentary’s proclivity to be perceived as classic reportage – an immediate and true view in the heat of battle – and the myths embedded thereof have been rigorously re-thought and  re-framed  over the past twenty years. (Excerpted)

Work: Writing