Border Documents

IMG_2590In “Sonic Border” (London Nov 2008) we explored the way sound crosses the border differently, provoking a rethink of the border’s location – not just in ports, and the authoritarian boot boys of the nation state, but between us all, in conversations, in ideas – an oppressive structure of language, meaning, representation, and in the cry of protest and in the music of solidarity across divides. The border echoes everywhere, it resonates and shouts from every station location, wherever you listen look. Sound problematized the geographic and visual location of the border regime.

In “Theatre Border” (Berlin April 2009) the performative, tactile and ritualistic force of the border as staged power suggests we rethink connection, touch, proximity and co-responsibility. The theatrical exclusion of others manufactures a charade populated by demons, caricatures and monstrosity. We don’t want to be cast in such dramas.

In “Border Documents” (Copenhagen Nov 2009) we will join the CPH.DOX documentary film festival to consider the border as it unfolds in time/screen based media – what does thinking about border activism and the telematic offer us? Possible topics include the border in television news, the in-focus out of focus role of CCTV in detention centres, the scanning screens of the immigration check, the civilian phone-cam exposé of deportation and ‘Torture Taxi’ (special rendition) flights, and more.

We are interested in new perspectives on the status and function of the documentary forms today, as they cross the ontological divide between fiction and truth, art and reality (objective/subjective, social, political, ethical etc) and frame alternative ways of seeing, witnessing, representing, archiving and experiencing ‘the elements of truth’ (Steyerl, 2003). Can we understand documentation not as paper passports or mere representation but as docketing the (re)construction of (new) social and political realities – we are interested in time and screen formats that offer access to critical recontextualization of the reproduction of borders, and of unfolding new agents of social and political (ex)change. On a more formalistic note, how does the documentary form carry a politic, an ethics or epistemology and how can the documentary film help us see and act differently? Does the time of the border transform its place, or its performative character? Does border activism lend itself to the cinematic? Can we film another way across?

We will meet over three days in mid November (9th-11th here) in the Arts Academy of Copenhagen, as part of the wider CPH.DOX festival (which runs 6th-16th – see here). More details soon.

“Border Documents” will be the third Network meeting of the Beyond Text Beyond Borders group, funded by the AHRC Beyond Text Program) and with the participation of University of Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies, Friei University Berlin InterArts, Jadavpur University (India) Film Studies and Goldsmiths College, Centre for Cultural Studies, as well as with Clandestino Festival (Sweden), Migrant Media (UK) and, of course, now CPH.DOX (Denmark).

 

UPDATE: http://wp.me/PcKI3-hW

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Comments

  • channeling Judith Butler  On 26/08/2009 at 4:50 pm

    “The point is not just to become mindful of the temporal and spatial presuppositions of some of our progressive narratives, the ones that inform various parochial, if not structurally racist, political optimisms of various kinds. The point is rather to show that our understanding of what is happening ‘now’ is bound up with a certain geopolitical restriction on imagining the relevant borders of the world and even a refusal to understand what happens to our notion of time if we take the problem of the border (what crosses the border and what does not, and the means and mechanisms of that crossing or impasse) to be central to any understanding of contemporary political life. The contemporary map of sexual politics is crossed, I would say, with contentions and antagonisms that define the time of sexual politics as a fractious constellation. The story of progress is but one strand within that constellation, and one that has, for good reason, come into crisis” – Judith Butler “Frames of War” 2009:103-4.

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  • John  On 02/09/2009 at 11:21 am

    I have just agreed with Ananya Chatterjee that she will be our second guest from Kolkata for the Border Documents meet (Abhijit Roy is the other person of note). She has a film, “Understanding Trafficking”, which deals with cross border sex work in South Asia. Check out some reviews here: http://www.cinemawoman.in/review.html

    Like

  • Jennifer Otter  On 02/09/2009 at 4:47 pm

    Hey John- Here is an idea I had for Copenhagen, not sure if it is at all viable. Please let me know what you think.

    Like

  • Jennifer Otter  On 02/09/2009 at 4:49 pm

    I do not know if this topic would EVEN be appropriate AT ALL for this, so please feel free to TOTALLY shoot me down- I can’t remember if I told you about a project I have been on again/ off again working on- Joy Division tribute band documentary, and how people in a wide variety of countries feel this group still is viable to express their oppression today. I have gone to Mexico City, London, Macclesfield, Los Angeles and San Francisco to interview people, as well as talked to people via video chat and e-mails from Iraq, Australia, and Bosnia. Let me know what you think. To be honest, I stopped working on it after I went to Mexico City. I was so disgusted comparing that the hipsters in their Diesal Jeans thought they were “oppressed” compared to these guys that I met in Mexico who did not have clean, running water, I just was having a hard time even watching the footage to edit it. I am all about the indie DIA punk rock idea of film making. I think it totally plays into the concept below [above - ed]. It would be a load of work to get this FILM to a place to show, but I would love to see what you think.

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    • Tony Espinosa  On 10/09/2009 at 11:16 am

      Joy Division was intense and still are: so I see the correlation between the “truly” oppressed youth of Mexico City or the subaltern statuses of las Tribas Urbanas in Spain, or the middle-class youth in Korea who are controlled by their economic location, and more. All come with their notions and subjective–albeit informed by their social, economic, cultural, human, etc. locations–positionalities, but nonetheless I believe are real, maybe just not the real you’re looking for? I’ve been doing Punk since ’79 and I wear expensive jeans (which have been purchased for me) but DO THEY NOT DETRACT OR DEFLECT MY TRUE DIY ETHICS! Good luck with your film/documentary.

      Like

  • john hutnyk  On 07/09/2009 at 10:57 am

    Delwar Hussain

    latest guardian peice:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/sep/05/bangladesh-india-border-fence

    Like

  • raul gschrey  On 11/09/2009 at 8:19 pm

    hello all,
    i have been inspired by our meeting in berlin, and have started to develop a program for myself and probably to archive a phd in one of those new practical-artistic programmes which include artistic and acedamic work. i will expand my artistic work on surveillance to do research on border controll mechanisms. i suppose most of it will be performative work at the brink of legality. i would love to join you in copenhagen, maybe i can do a work with it – how to get there with all our invisible but still existent borders…
    raul

    here’s some ideas on my new project:

    borderlines:
    borders are mechanisms of exclusion and at the same time inclusion. they are highly engineered barriers of separation, “smart borders” between prosperous and underprivileged territories, that nevertheless do not pose insurmountable obstacles. the artistic works of the project focus on migratory movements of today and of the past which pass through our historically developed transcultural world. barriers and limitations and their transgression within society as well as in personal space and in inter-personal communication are also part of the artistic research. artistic, academic, and curatorial work go hand in hand in the project and lead to multi-dimensional exhibition projects.

    ethno- and national centric world-views are increasingly contested in a globalised world that moves closer, not only from an economic perspective. cultural artefacts, people and their ways of life reach a global diffusion. cultural studies scholars speak about a transcultural state of today’s cultures. the term transculturality, which was coined by wolfgang welsch, describes a cultural intermixture transcending national and ethnic borders. these developments not only show themselves in mobile migrants and their cultural output but influence the construction of identity of all individuals living in this globalised world.

    however borders remain manifest structures. it is not possible for everybody to move from any place to another. while borders in germany and europe were torn down, in the course of the developments following the break-down of the soviet union and others seem heavily contested by other political developments, we can witness new borders raising: between north america and middle- and south america, between europe and africa, between israel and the palestinian territories…

    borders are mechanisms of exclusion and at the same time inclusion. they are highly engineered barriers of separation, “smart borders” between prosperous and underprivileged territories. however the lines of separation do not do not form insurmountable obstacles. the artistic works of the project focus on migratory movements of today and of the past which are omnipresent in our historically grown transcultural world.

    another focus in my artistic research are borders in social space, e.g. within a city or even smaller fractions within society. individual limits, limits of bodily experience, self-determination, communication and the perception and negotiation of public and private spaces play an important role. the project links in with my ongoing artistic and academic focus: ”contemporary closed circuits – subversive dialogues“, an inquiry into visual surveillance as mechanism of social control.

    Like

  • Abhijit Roy  On 15/09/2009 at 9:17 am

    Documentary Diversions? Factual Popular and the Reality Debates
    Abhijit Roy (Jadavpur University)

    This presentation talks about how the televisual genre of the ‘factual popular’ and the debates around reality shows can help us revisit the ‘documentary’ form and its legacies. It would like to engage with recent theorizations as evident in John Corner’s coinage ‘documentary diversions’ and Keath Betty’s ‘documentary display’, and also the classical/Griersonian school of documentary practice, to pose the age-old, somewhat hackneyed, debates around the ‘border’ between fact and faction in a new light. While the factual popular, in its form, and in its mode of address (posing as the neo-progressivist messiah of the late-capital, citizenising agent etc.) enters into interesting dialogue with the documentary tradition, particularly with its ‘classical’ mode, the current trends in documentary filming and dissemination, in turn, get highly interjected by the factual popular. Contextual, in this regard, could be a recent practice in documentary diversion: that of creating incessant audiovisual archives (foregrounding therefore a certain idea of ‘beyond text’) and circulating across the de-territorializing space of internet. The ‘publics/users’ of both of these trajectories intersect in various ways. Tickling the network, generating circuits of fandom and activism defying national borders, have become major trends in both of these.

    Like

  • Ray Ganz  On 15/09/2009 at 3:46 pm

    I will be presenting an article on Radio Verité and Acoustic Osmosis. More to follow soon.

    Like

  • Heidi Hasbrouck  On 16/09/2009 at 9:25 pm

    This is one idea I am mulling over with Borders and film/documentary – this is early stages and I haven’t started theorizing on it but more just floating with the idea:

    The goal of a documentary filmmaker to break down borders with a subject and the ethical questions these borders raise. This develops quite interestingly when the filmmaker turns the camera onto herself and her personal relationships.

    This is something I am exploring personally in my work while I mull over the ethical, social and personal ramifications to making a documentary about my relationship to a ‘distant’ family member that is, in the media’s eyes, a perfect subject for her political and social views along with her morally questionable history. By making this documentary borders must be crossed physically, emotionally, socially and ethically. (I know this is vague but I have not yet decided if I should cross these boundaries so thought I should leave details out ;))

    By making these personal documentaries that often explore close relationships new borders are created between the filmmaker and the audience. Furthermore the filmmaker is sometimes able to cross different borders that they would normally not breach due to the addition of the camera. Perhaps the filmmaker is able to separate himself emotionally in order to ask the questions or participate in the events that he would normally not approach.

    An example of this is when I made a short documentary about young Germans’ disconnection to the Holocaust. For the first time I asked my German relatives about our family’s history during the war. As the American distant relative with a camera I lost my boundaries that I was previously inhibited by. With that said my questions did not come without repercussions from other family members!

    One specific documentary that really inspired a lot of these thoughts is “Running Stumbled” Directed by John Maringouin (which unfortunately is hard to get a copy of but a trailer is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IE3j1ZFvW8 )

    Let me know your opinions and thoughts and perhaps theories on the subject ;)

    Like

  • K  On 17/09/2009 at 1:25 pm

    I. SPECIAL 2010 ISSUE ON POLITICAL ECONOMY OF CROSS-BORDER FLOWS OF GOODS, CAPITAL, LABOR, AND IDEAS

    Resource flows among economies have not only improved over the years but have also transformed in complexity and speed. Yet, for instance, financial flowscontinue to remain within the industrialized region; only a fraction of global finance goes to the developing regions. Still flows to the developing regions go mainly to high performing economies. And the composition of the flows is increasingly in liabilities and short-term in character. The prospect that finance takes root in the domestic economy and generates productive activities is thus low.

    Similar pattern exists in goods flows. Trade is mainly within the industrialized region. The developing regions only get a small portion of trade, though high performing economies are able to participate more. The composition of developing regions trade is dominantly primary and/or low technology goods, which are easily absorbed by the industrialized region. The former cannot easily absorb the high value manufactures and high-technology goods from the industrialized region. Meanwhile, direct investments to the developing regions continue not to generate technology transfers or significant innovations.

    Parallel to the capital and trade flows is the evolving labor flows. The standard view that labor is immobile is misplaced today. The view that trade and labor flows are substitutes is simplistic. The same applies for capital and labor flows. But because labor is not fully absorbed in the domestic economy, it moves out to other places for employment. In the end, labor from developing regions sustains productive activities in the industrialized region.

    Ideas flows are far-reaching and penetrating as technology advances and goods, capital, and labor flows intensify. However, the reference point continues to be the industrialized region, thus developing regions are captured to assess their own progress according to the standards of the former. Industrialization, for example, is transformed into a form that fits with the industrialized region rather than to improve its nature to develop indigenous economic progress.

    The issue welcomes papers that explore aspects or the totality of cross-border flows of goods, capital, labor, and ideas. Do resource flows affect economic performance and socio-political conditions of economies, and how? Do the circuits in which resources flow evolve independent of flows themselves? How does one make sense of the rapidity in and complexity of resources flows brought about by globalization with the fixity of resources despite globalization? Do China and India affect the nature of the circuits and resources flows? How would the present global financial and economic crisis change the circuits and flows? Are there viable alternative arrangements at this juncture?

    II. OPEN ISSUE 2010

    Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies invites theoretical and empirical papers that explore issues linked to the theme. Papers that use unorthodox perspectives or approaches, present solid analyses, and stimulate critical discourse are welcome.

    For the submission guidelines, please see this link: http://journals.upd.edu.ph/index.php/kasarinlan/about/submissions#authorGuidelines

    Due Date for Submission of Manuscript: October 31, 2009

    All inquiries concerning the submission of articles should be addressed to:

    The Editor
    Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies
    Third World Studies Center
    Lower Ground Floor, Palma Hall
    College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
    University of the Philippines
    Diliman, Quezon City 1101
    Philippines
    P.O. Box 210
    Telefax: +63 2 920 5428
    +63 2 981 8500 ext. 2488
    E-mail: kasarinlan@up.edu.ph
    kasarinlan@gmail.com

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  • MusaferTheFilm  On 20/09/2009 at 5:56 pm

    An New Independent International Documentary Film with links to inner and outher borders:

    MUSAFER – SIKHI IS TRAVELLING | http://www.musaferthefilm.com

    The Film
    Musafer is an independent documentary film that has been shot in Frankfurt, Paris, London, Delhi and San Francisco between 2003 and 2009. The film portrays the interconnected lives of a younger generation of diasporic Sikhs by giving emphasis to their artistic expressions and in-depth conversations about the meaning of Sikhi in times of political upheaval and social uncertainty. Musafer does not attempt to portray the Sikh tradition (Sikhi) in its multifaceted forms, but instead sheds a light on the inner and outer journeys of particular individuals, their homing desires, as well as their boundary crossing endeavours.

    The World Premiere
    Musafer premieres at the Spinning Wheel Film Festival in Toronto/Canada, 25-27.2009 at the Royal Ontario Museum “Crystal”. Detailed information about the schedule is available at http://www.spinningwheeltoronto.com, info@spinningwheeltoronto.com or call 416.820.5408 in Toronto.

    The German premiere will be at the Intercultural Weeks Frankfurt, 10.11.2009, 19.00, Haus am Dom, Domplatz 3, 60311 Frankfurt am Main City.

    Filmmakers
    Brought up in Germany, both filmmakers Michael Nijhawan and Khushwant Singh share a personal and academic commitment to Sikhi, Panjabi society and culture. It is their first documentary film.

    Visit http://www.musaferthefilm.com to see the trailer and to get more information about the film.

    Like

  • john  On 23/09/2009 at 11:36 am

    Border Documents @ CPH.DOX

    Border Documents: A scholarly/activist workshop on the crossings of borders and documentary films.

    Border Documents is the third in a series of events run as part of the international research network Beyond Borders.

    Preamble: In “Sonic Border” (London Nov 2008) we explored the way sound crosses the border differently, provoking a rethink of the border’s location – not just in ports, but between us all, in conversations, in ideas – an oppressive structure of language, meaning, representation, and a cry of protest and the music of solidarity across divides. Sound problematized the geographic and visual location of the border regime.

    In “Theatre Border” (Berlin April 2009) the performative, tactile and ritualistic force of the border as staged power suggests we rethink connection, touch, proximity and co-responsibility. The theatrical exclusion of others manufactures a charade populated by demons, caricatures and monstrosity. We don’t want to be cast in such dramas.

    In “Border Documents” (Copenhagen Nov 2009) we will join the CPH.DOX documentary film festival to consider the border as it unfolds in time/screen based media – what does thinking about border activism and the telematic offer us? Possible topics include the border in television news, the in-focus out of focus role of CCTV in detention centres, the scanning screens of the immigration check, the civilian phone-cam exposé of deportation and ‘Torture Taxi’ (special rendition) flights, and more.

    We are interested in new perspectives on the status and function of the documentary forms today, as they cross the ontological divide between fiction and truth, art and reality (objective/subjective, social, political, ethical etc) and frame alternative ways of seeing, witnessing, representing, archiving and experiencing ‘the elements of truth’ (Steyerl, 2003). Can we understand documentation not as paper passports or mere representation but as docketing the (re)construction of (new) social and political realities – we are interested in time and screen formats that offer access to critical recontextualization of the reproduction of borders, and of unfolding new agents of social and political (ex)change. On a more formalistic note, how does the documentary form carry a politic, an ethics or epistemology and how can the documentary film help us see and act differently? Does the time of the border transform its place, or its performative character? Does border activism lend itself to the cinematic? Can we film another way across?

    Beyond Borders is a collaborative venture between the Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies, the Friei University Berlin InterArts, Jadavpur University (India) Film Studies and the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths University of London, and with guest participation from Clandestino Festival (Sweden) and Migrant Media (UK), among others. Beyond Borders is funded by the AHRC UK Beyond Text program.

    PROGRAM

    9th November 2009

    11.30-12.00 (Seminar room)
    Prof Frederik Tystrup & Prof John Hutnyk:
    ‘Introduction’ to “Border Documents”

    12.00-13.30 (Seminar room)
    Lecture by Mathias Danbolt:
    ‘Queers Without Borders: Activist Travels in Elliat Graney-Saucke’s Travel Queeries’
    ravel Queeries (2009) by Elliat Graney-Saucke is the first feature length documentary film portraying radical queer culture in Europe. Produced by queer filmmakers from the U.S., Travel Queeries takes us on an extensive tour of queer communities in ten major European cities – from London to Warsaw to Belgrade and Copenhagen. The travels alluded to in the film’s title do not only refer to the U.S. filmmakers’ travel with a camera to and through Europe, as it also points to the travels of activists within Europe, where people circulate between squats, festivals, and other social and political gatherings. In this paper I will focus on the way in which Travel Queeries queries activist travels. By looking into the way the film represent – as well as take part in – the circulation of concepts, repertoires, esthetics, and politics, I will discuss how travels and translation have been central to the development of the transnational (Euroamerican) queer activist community. Informed by the activist group Queers Without Borders fight for free movement for all in relation to crossings of gender, sexuality, and national borders, I will focus especially on the border issues raised by and evident in Travel Queeries, touching upon question of racism and activist tourism.

    Presentation and screening by Maria Finn: ‘A Technical Problem’ (DVD, 16. min).
    After having studied the films of Michelangelo Antonioni I grew interested in his writing and found Unfinished Business, a collection of his never realized screenplays, where Technically Sweet was mentioned as one. I have used this screenplay as a starting point for a video where I travel to the sites in Sardinia that should have appeared in the film. The video from that trip, A Technical Problem, can be seen as a reflection over how fiction is constructed by including excerpts from the screenplay, and through the documentation of these places that itself produces a fiction. Film locations become virtual archaeological sites, which Laura Mulvey describes in Roberto Rossellini’s Journey to Italy/Viaggio in Italia (1953) from her collection of essays, Death 24x a Second (1996). Rossellini used the archaeological sites in Naples for his film to reflect over how the present is fossilized on film. I will use Mulvey’s essay to investigate how movies functions as an archive over places, some ruined and some still existing, and how visiting these places affects us.

    13.30-15.00 Lunch

    15.00-16.30 (Seminar room)
    ‘Border performed’ – Workshop, led by Filmmaker Dr Hito Steyerl
    3 recent video art works will be screened (Amar Kanwar’s “ A season outside”, plus work by von Wedemeyer and Mik) and discussed in relation to their relation to border and performance.

    17.00-19.00 (Tent)
    European Premiere screening of “Musafer: Sikhi is Travelling” with Q@A with one of the directors Kushwant Singh (the other director is Michael Nijhawan)
    Musafer is an independent documentary film that has been shot in Frankfurt, Paris, London, Delhi and San Francisco between 2003 and 2009. The film portrays the interconnected lives of a younger generation of diasporic Sikhs by giving emphasis to their artistic expressions and in-depth conversations about the meaning of Sikhi in times of political upheaval and social uncertainty. Musafer does not attempt to portray the Sikh tradition (Sikhi) in its multifaceted forms, but instead sheds a light on the inner and outer journeys of particular individuals, their homing desires, as well as their boundary crossing endeavours.

    20.00 (venue to be decided) dinner

    10th November

    11.00–13.00 (Seminar room)
    Round table discussion on ‘Borders and Selves’

    Heidi Hasbrouck:
    ‘Personal Borders: The Filmmaker’s Family through the Lens’
    This paper aims to explore the re-formation of boundaries when the filmmaker turns the camera to her personal life. Historian and film critic, Paul Arthur, writes of the relationship between the filmmaker and the subject as a negotiation where borders are shaped. “An ethical compact of sorts, an explicit or tacit ‘transaction’ between observer and participant, is negotiated; its terms regulate what can be recorded, what form the recording will ultimately take, and how the filmmaker intends to portray social actors who agree to appear (Arthur, 876).” What then happens when those borders must be re-shaped from a previously formulated relationship? Between the filmmaker and her film? Between the filmmaker and the audience when the story is a personal one? Furthermore, how does turning the camera on one’s own family change the ethics or politics of the documentary itself? Through the exploration of multiple personal documentaries, including Hara Kazuo’s “Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974”, John Maringouin’s “Running Stumbled”, recently released Kurt Kuenne’s “Dear Zachary”, and new filmmaker Marianne Hougen-Moraga’s “My Mother’s Promise”, I aim to resolve my own qualms as a documentary filmmaker torn between the boundaries of my family and a potential documentary about our ‘darker side’.

    Elena Papadaki:
    ‘Even better than the real thing: when fiction becomes more convincing than the truth – Stefanos Tsivopoulos’ documentaries’
    Stefanos Tsivopoulos is a visual artist engaged with the documentary format. He uses archival material, historical footage and real-time events in order to create his own -often pseudo- narratives. Among others, his work challenge journalistic conventions and the meaning of an “objective” historical narrative (Gray 2008) (Interview, 2007. He commissioned a BBC reporter to interview a war veteran from Serbia; then asked a Serb filmmaker to take the transcript and create a fictional version of the same interview, shot at the same location. Both interviews were projected at the same time in adjacent rooms, with the fictional one looking more convincing than the real documentary) as well as the power of mediated news and propaganda (The Remake, 2007. He uses archival material from the Greek national television and from events that took place during the dictatorship in Greece [1967-1974] with his own shooting of recreated scenes from the television studios at the time). According to Tsivopoulos, the “visualisation of history and reality can be interpreted and misinterpreted at the same time” (Tsivopoulos 2008). His interest lies in the way in which we, the spectators, consume the information that exists within the visual imagery and accept the validity of the “archive”. Where do we draw the line between fiction and reality? How does his work (re-)create a new social and historical imagery? A selection of clips from Tsivopoulos’ work will be shown during the presentation.

    13.00 Lunch

    15.00-16.30 (Seminar room)
    Round table discussion on ‘Framing Border’

    Ray Ganz:
    ‘Radio Verité and Acoustic Osmosis’
    Field recordings and found sounds are still one of the major sources of radio artworks, in spite of Raymond Schafer having introduced the concept of soundscape and developed the World Soundscape Project more than 30 years ago. The present article examines the different contemporary artistic uses of field recordings and found sounds within the Radia network during the last three years, according to Schafer’s concept of schizophonia and Feld’s notion of schismogenesis. It argues that although radio occupies a privileged position in the current media landscape to broadcast acoustic decisive moments and documents, it is during the aural osmosis of different soundscapes (diegetic and non-diegetic in relation to the listener’s existence) allowed by the radiophonic experience that field recordings and found sounds become radio artworks.

    Jennifer Otter:
    ‘[Dancing In] Isolation: Joy Division Tribute Bands Transmission of 2.0’s Melancholy’
    Manchester’s iconic Joy Division officially disbanded almost thirty years ago, after the untimely suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. Yet many people point to this seminal group as one, if not the, forefather of modern rock in its present incarnation. Bands such as The Killers, Fall Out Boy and Interpol blatantly rip off the Mancunians’ riffs, style and sentiments through out their own manipulations of musicality. However, some people feel that just paying accolades to the fallen heroes through interpretations of their own new music is not enough. They believe that only the original music of Joy Division truly expresses the spirit of the troubling times we are living in, a world reflective of Ian Curtis’s own bleak Manchester of the late 1970s. For this tribe of people, solely by creating their own group to play exclusively and inclusively the music of Joy Division can they express their own situational oppression, of a world that is simultaneously connected via the world wide web and instant messenger, yet more alienated, with people staying inside their homes more, hidden behind a computer screen and “mediated reality.” Tribute bands and interviewees from a variety of geographic and socioeconomic groups have been included in the project, spanning Mexico City, London, Macclesfield, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Iraq, Australia, and Bosnia, illustrating a true breaking of borders and staying power of the foursome from the North not often illustrated by artists of today.

    17.00-19.00 (Seminar room)

    Lecture by DR Bhaskar Mukhophadhyay:
    ‘Ritwik Ghatak Documentarist’
    Largely unknown and unacknowledged in the West and misunderstood in India, one of the masters of twentieth century cinema, the Communist director Ritwik Kumar Ghatak’s cinematic oeuvre revolves largely around the after effects of the Partition of Bengal which displaced thousand and left deep wounds that never healed. Ritwik’s cinema is about the monumentality of this catastrophe though as a theorist of postcolonial culture and a Communist cultural worker, he never allowed nostalgia to take over his sense of engagement with the present. As a cultural theorist, Ritiwik rejected the Soviet model of Social Realism and the European radical avant-garde aesthetic politics of high Modernism. His uniquely postcolonial vision of culture entailed a renewed engagement with the epic and the vernacular and a re-enchantment of the machine through a renewal of the ‘primitive.’ In cinema, his renewal of melodrama fused majestically with his revival of the epic, leading to an aesthetic of vernacular modernism that has no precedent or parallel anywhere in world cinema.
    As political film-maker, Ritwik’s treatment of Partition is multi-layered which interrogates and confronts borders at many levels. Himself a refugee, he had little illusion about culture’s holism. He depicted with compassion the class-logic of the inevitable but historic disintegration of the colonial Bengali bhadralok in the aftermath of the Partition and the continued presence of the sealed-off border in the affective landscape of the subcontinent. In Ajantric, a film about the animistic beliefs of tribals and an old automobile that takes on human attributes through the affective engagement of its owner, Ritwik plays on the cognitive-affective borders between fetishism and disenchantment, between the human and the non-human, between the sensible and the intelligible. My presentation will focus on two of his major films, Ajantrik (1957-58) and Subarnarekha (1962) through the optic of ‘border’ in order to situate Ghatak in the wider cultural politics of our times.

    Lecture by Abhijit Roy
    ‘Documentary Diversions? Factual Popular and the Reality Debates’
    This presentation talks about how the televisual genre of the ‘factual popular’ and the debates around reality shows can help us revisit the ‘documentary’ form and its legacies. It would like to engage with recent theorizations as evident in John Corner’s coinage ‘documentary diversions’ and Keath Betty’s ‘documentary display’, and also the classical/Griersonian school of documentary practice, to pose the age-old, somewhat hackneyed, debates around the ‘border’ between fact and faction in a new light. While the factual popular, in its form, and in its mode of address (posing as the neo-progressivist messiah of the late-capital, citizenising agent etc.) enters into interesting dialogue with the documentary tradition, particularly with its ‘classical’ mode, the current trends in documentary filming and dissemination, in turn, get highly interjected by the factual popular. Contextual, in this regard, could be a recent practice in documentary diversion: that of creating incessant audiovisual archives (foregrounding therefore a certain idea of ‘beyond text’) and circulating across the de-territorializing space of internet. The ‘publics/users’ of both of these trajectories intersect in various ways. Tickling the network, generating circuits of fandom and activism defying national borders, have become major trends in both of these.

    19.00 dinner (1 hour)

    20.00 (Tent)
    European Premiere screening of “Understanding Trafficking” plus Q&A with the director Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti
    Legend goes, there is a magical line that Laxman drew around Sita, which no woman is supposed to cross. If any woman dared to cross the magical line, she would risk being kidnapped by Ravan the demon.
    Women have for centuries been discouraged to cross the line, to remain indoors, and within limits. The lines and limits of their existence have always been defined by patriarchy.
    So what happens if a woman does cross the line? By circumstances, through need, or just by a desire to dare the magical line?
    Camera Joydeep Bose, Sound Sukanta Majumdar, Editing Saikat Sekhareswar Ray, Direction Ananya C. Chakraborti
    Reviews here: http://www.cinemawoman.in/review.html

    11 November

    11.00–11.30 (Seminar room)

    Ruth Hogarth: Beyond Text Program Co-Ordinator. ‘The Wider Program’

    Mary Claire Halvorson (Goldsmiths Director of Professional Development): ‘Alterity, mobility and rhizomatic model of learning’

    11.30–13.30 (Seminar room)

    Dr Dietmar Kammerer:
    ‘Official, unofficial, invisible – the role of the filmic document in “Operation Spring”’
    “Operation Spring” was the name of the first (and later widely publicized) undercover police operation in 1999 that made use of covert surveillance technologies in order to collect evidence against an (allegedly) international ring of drug dealers. “Operation Spring” is also the name of a documentary film that years later put in question the police operation and the subsequent trials and convictions of more than in ehundred people, mostly immigrants form Nigeria. The documentary became one of the rare cases, where a film actually sparks a political debate and was discussed in the national parliament. In my presentation I want to argue, that the political and persuasive power of this film can – among other factors – be explained by its use of the filmic document. Three types of images can be made out in this film: official, unofficial and invisible images. What counts as a document or as evidence, is always to be seen within a strategy of power.”

    Renate Wöhrer:
    ‘How (Not) to Be Seen. Contemporary Attempts in Social Documentary to Contradict Hegemonic Discourses on Labour’
    In my contribution to the workshop I would like to discuss the documentary art project ‘Chat(t)er Gardens: Stories by and about Filipina Workers’ (2002-2008) by the Austrian artist Moira Zoitl. It is not a film but an installation, in which video plays a major part. It consists of videos, photography, text, embroidery, sculptures and/or spatial constructions. The project documents the working and living conditions of Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong and London as well as their political and social activities. It is conceived as a platform, where different kinds of expressions – also by different authors – are possible. In this documentary the border is at issue in three different ways: First of all the depicted migrant workers are confronted with borders between nation states. In their “host country” they also have to deal with social borders. Due to their special working and living situation migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong make this social border visible. Since they mostly live at their working places, which are the private homes of their employers, most of them don’t have a private space of their own. Therefore they spend their rare free time in public places, which they use differently than the majority society. They create a public visibility, which contradicts their hidden existence in everyday life. In Hong Kong as well as in other industrialized – or better: post-industrial – countries the economic systems relies on the exploitation of domestic workers. But neither the exploitation nor the domestic workers should be a public issue. The system is based on the concealment of these facts. On the one hand the workers counteract this kind of suppression (in taking public space as well as in political demonstrations, celebrations, etc.) on the other hand Moira Zoitl brings up the issue (and the efforts of the workers) in the public of the art world via her documentary. So the third kind of border, which is at issue within this documentary project, is the border drawn by hegemonic practices to demarcate what can be said, shown, discussed, etc. within a society and what’s excluded from public discourse. In my paper I will examine Moira Zoitl’s methods and artistic strategies to undermine dominant regimes of visibility. In analyzing this project as an example I will discuss the problems and possibilities of documentary to produce and initiate counter-hegemonic discourses.

    13.30 (Lunch)

    15.00-17.30 (lecture room)

    Raul Gschrey
    Between Fact and Fiction. Artistic Works on Visual Surveillance.
    Documentary approaches play a major role in artistic works on visual surveillance. This becomes most obvious in the mockumentary ?Citizen Cam? (France/Iceland, 1999), a satire on a fictional TV-channel in Reykjavik. Artistic projects which focus on the topic often include phases of research on the extend and possibilities of CCTV systems and their utilisation. Some artists use the original pictures produced by surveillance systems, but through the process of editing the material becomes fictionalised. During performances and interventions in spaces under surveillance, usually there is not only the CCTV camera present but also further cameras, which document the action and form a means of counter- and self-observation. In these situations, the presence of the camera also changes the reaction of the audience and the authorities. The borders between the documentary and the fictional become porous.

    All: Discussion of the Future of Beyond Borders.

    18.00 Beyond Borders Workshop after-party

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  • Nirmal Puwar  On 29/09/2009 at 11:34 pm

    Inside Out Festival event on Wed 21 Oct (1-5pm)
    Birkbeck Cinema, Gordon Square.

    http://www.lcace.org.uk/events/index.php?event=117

    Walls of Film: the memory of public spheres
    Date: Wednesday 21st October 2009
    Time: 1.00pm – 5.00pm
    Location: Birkbeck Cinema, Gordon Square view map

    Organised by The Methods Lab, Sociology Dept, Goldsmiths, University of
    London.http://www.gold.ac.uk/methods-lab/

    Screenings and Presentations from – Prof. Avtar Brah (Birkbeck), Jasbir
    Panesar (UEL), Alia Syed (Film maker & Research Fellow, Southampton Solent),
    George Shire (Cultural Critic), Gil Toffell (Leverhulme Research Fellow,
    Queen Mary College) and Nirmal Puwar (Goldsmiths).

    Working on different and historically located diasporic locations with
    film, this panel will address the space(s) of film viewing, as well as the
    space of working with film as academics, researchers, archivists, film
    makers and collaborators. The event will examine the ways in which film
    both opens up and constrains their abilities to make visible memories and
    journeys that are otherwise absent from the public domain.

    Avtar Brah & Jasbir Panesar will screen and discuss a project they
    initiated (in the nineties) in Southall. Well before the current explosion
    of visual sociology and participatory media, they facilitated Asian
    elders, who visited a day centre, to acquire the technical skills to make
    a film about themselves. In languages and notations of their choice, the
    elders directed this rarely seen movie of their journeys of life.

    Alia Syed will screen and converse with George Shire about her film The
    Route, which addresses the intricacies of inter-familial relationships
    (fraught and supportive)between four generations of women. The act of
    filming, who films who, how each woman wishes to be seen and to see is the
    films subject matter. A split screen provides a discursive space inviting
    the viewer to engage “both at and through the screen”. At the centre of it
    is Alia Syed’s grandmother painting a wall a deep rose pink.

    Gil Toffell will present his archival and memory based research on the
    life world of Jewish cinema in the inter-WW2 period in Europe and America.
    With particular attention to East End London as a site of exhibition and
    reception, he will offer an insight into how cinema enabled a minority
    social group to endure culturally; as well as giving an empirical account
    of the difficulties Jewish cultural outputs had in gaining recognition in
    a mass-public sphere. This paper will use theoretical categories
    developed to elucidate the notion of the public sphere to explore these
    settings.

    Nirmal Puwar will screen a trilogy of films focused on a cinema which has
    sat as a ruin for over twenty years, is due for demolition and was at one
    time a thriving South Asian cinema, owned by forty shareholders in
    post-WW2 Britain. Left with the walls, the films and the memories of this
    public sphere, together the films explore different collaborative methods
    for engaging with complex histories and futurities through in-habitation
    of (public) space, voice, sound, colour, stone and paper are called upon.
    Menace, melancholia and every day practice move as layered textures in
    concurrence and tension in Cinema III (2009, dir: N.Puwar/S.Sharma), which
    is the final part of a trilogy, made after Kabhi Ritz Kabhie Palladium
    (2003, dir: K.Powar/N.Puwar) and Coventry Ritz(2007, dir N.Puwar).

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  • raul gschrey  On 08/10/2009 at 10:20 pm

    i will be doing a project in which a fellow artist and me enter into the private sphere of people’s homes. we will confiscate entrance doors to appartments and houses. The action will be explained as a measure to restict privacy as a means to “prevent secret personal action in times of an increasingly uncontrollable world”. the main aim is to see how people react to this hostile encounter, if and at which stages they might interfere.

    i am also curating an exhibition on artistic visualisation of borders next summer in mainz. a number of german and international artists will present their works in overseas containers in the harbour area of the city. there will also be workshops, theatre and live-music relating with the topic.

    i would love to join you in copenhagen, as a “silent observer”, or as an “active participant” please let me know if you still have a tiny little space for me…

    i could contribute something on “performative work entering private spaces” or a presentation on “artistic positions re-visualing borderlands”

    raul

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  • john hutnyk  On 23/10/2012 at 6:41 pm

    http://wp.me/PcKI3-hW

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