Organization: Visible Evidence
What we call documentary today emerged in the 1920s and 1930s in response to a perceived crisis of liberal democracy, as a mode of factual representation which empowers citizens to participate in the political process. But how does documentary respond to what has been widely diagnosed as the current crisis of democracy? How does documentary react to the return to nationalism and other forms of political tribalism in the face of global migration? How does documentary shape our perceptions of the consequences of globalization, from climate change to the transformation of the economy? And how can documentary in theory and practice contribute to defend the space and modes of deliberation necessary for the life of democracy?
Visible Evidence, the international conference on documentary film and media, now in its 27th year, will convene in Frankfurt, Germany, on December 16-19, 2020. Hosted by the Institute for Theatre, Film and Media Studies (TFM) at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Visible Evidence XXVII will address these and other current issues related to the history, theory, practice and pedagogy of documentary and non-fiction cinema, television, video, audio recording, digital media, photography, VR, games and performance in a wide range of panels, workshops, plenary sessions, screenings and special events. We welcome panel, workshop, screening and paper proposals that address documentary and non-fiction media from a diverse range of disciplines that open the field to new lines of investigation through innovative and original perspectives.
Designed as a public event open to the citizens of Frankfurt, the conference makes a conscious nod towards documentary history as an instrument of public opinion. The notion of crisis, a thread weaved through the history of documentary, calls for new political, formal and social possibilities that consolidate and expand documentary’s role as a space for representation and democratic deliberation. These new possibilities should be explored in a dialogue between theory and practice. We invite scholars, filmmakers, archivists and activists to propose panels and presentations that address any aspect of documentary and non-fiction media. Special thread and themes may include (but are in no way limited to):
Documentary and Conflict: How should we perceive conflict not just as a historically-specific geopolitical crisis, but as an interaction of aesthetic forces that reorders documentary temporalities, geographies and speech-acts? What role is taken by documentary in an age of rising fascism, post- and neo-colonialism, transnational military interventions and global humanitarianism?
Documentary Infrastructures: How does documentary depict and expose industrial infrastructures? In what ways does documentary itself comprise, or challenge, larger social and material infrastructures, including funding structures and distribution platforms to new visual technologies?
Documentary Publics: The advent of new media platforms and technologies bare, on the one hand, potential for a radical reorganization of social bodies. On the other hand, create fraught contexts through which the social is organized by corporate logic and pseudo-democratic regimes. Framed within these social and medial settings, what forms of deliberation documentary brings to contemporary public and counter-public spheres?
Race, Gender and Sexuality: How can documentary serve as a means of transgression, a tool for community building, or a platform for organization/organizing in political climate marked by exclusionary tribalisms? How can documentary resurrect non-hegemonic pasts and presents and open up spaces outside of a white, heteronormative and patriarchal matrix?
Documentary and the Non-Human: In the epoch of the Anthropocene and in the wake of environmental crisis, how can documentary exceed its “discourses of sobriety” that centers the human? How can it give form to the material world, traversing the representational hierarchies between the human and non-human? How do documentaries of nonhuman subjects interact with, reinforce or diverge from human political regimes?
Documentary and Operational Media: Considering the proliferation of tools for data analysis, image-based computational techniques and forensic media, how can we re-think documentary’s evidentiary claims at its intersections with fields such as science, medicine, design and law?
Documentary Pedagogy: How can we think of documentary pedagogy through a vernacular prism? How have documentary studies responded to the shifting labor conditions of teaching at individual, departmental, and disciplinary levels? How have they been reshaped by videographic practices of criticism and scholarship? How do the evolving methodologies of teaching and writing about documentary speak to the labor it asks of us?
Guidelines for Submission:
Panels will consist of three papers of no more than 20 minutes each and one ten-minute response by the panelists’ chosen respondent. Panel proposals require a title; 300-word description of the panel itself; five keywords that identify the panel’s focus; 250-word abstract for each paper; 100-word biography for each participant and 5 bibliographic entries for the entire panel.
The emphasis of the workshop is on an open and unstructured exchange of ideas and techniques between all workshop participants. Workshops will consist of five or six opening statements that sum up to forty minutes in total, with the remaining time dedicated to discussion. Workshop proposals require a title; 300-word description of the workshop; five keywords that identify the workshop’s focus; 50-word description of each contribution; 100-word biography for each participant and 5 bibliographic entries for the entire workshop.
Individual paper proposals can be submitted through the open call. Accepted papers will be programmed into panels with other individual paper and screening submissions. Individual paper proposals require a title; five keywords that identify the paper’s focus, 300-word abstract; 100-word biography and five bibliographic entries.
Visible Evidence XXVII also invites filmmakers to present their work. To stress the interconnectedness of theory and praxis, screenings and filmmakers’ talk will be integrated into panels through the open call. Screenings will be allotted 20 minutes, ideally for introducing a work in process or for showing clips while introducing the overall project. Screening proposals require a title; 5 keywords that identify the work’s focus; 300-word description of the work; a screener of no more than 20-minute material (as a link) and a 100-word biography.
Each session will be allotted one hour and forty-five minutes.
All proposals must be submitted here: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=ve27
All proposals are due by April 12th, 2020.
Multiple submissions will not be accepted, except for panel respondents.
Applicants will be notified of acceptance by June 15th, 2020.
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