The documentary enterprise

I really enjoyed Jeni Thornley’s energetic and illuminating presentation at the at Visible Evidence XIX international documentary conference at ANU, Canberra.

Notes:
How the history of documentary intersects with other fields in relation to theorising documentary.
Thornley described the Internet as a “huge porous documentary text”.
Collabdocs
Docshift – Toronto
idfa doclab
‘Audiovisual thinking’ as a future forecast for the digital humanities
Jean Rouch Project
Book – Life After New Media By Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska
John Corner – postdocumentary
Labyrinth project online
Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses – Thomas Elsaesser, Malte Hagener
Gallery of ‘Lost Art’ – Tate

Jeni’s abstract:

Documentary, the database and the global archive of the internet: implications for teaching documentary film history

In this paper I explore some challenges that converging digital and online media provoke in teaching documentary film history. How do we contextualize such rapidly evolving media within the field of documentary? To what extent do we draw from other disciplines – art practice, new media theory and critical internet culture (Lovink 2017) to sustain a lively tradition of documentary studies. In this participatory, database era how do we re-figure the notion of ‘spectatorship’? [Rizzo 2008; Kinder 20ll; Pedulla 2072). What scholarship might assist teachers and students to think inter-textually, collaboratively and inter-culturally? (Ginsburg 2008; Deger 2006; Davis & Morton zA11) How do affect, embodiment and ethics play out? (Marks 1999; Renov 2009; Rutherford 2017). What is the relationship between the ‘body'(my body) and the database?

Rather than seek answers through specific case studies I navigate tracks through the internet, this vast documentary database, and experiment with relevant insights from earlier documentary film scholarship; and I keep an eye on my own subjectivity along the way. Renov(1993) proposed a poetics of documentary -‘to submit aesthetic forms to rigorous investigation as to their composition, function, and effect’. Where, then, might a ‘poetics of the database’ and internet take us? Does Nichols’ (1988) ‘discourse of delirium’ [19?F) also offer a method, along with his essay on cybernetics and culture? This paper considers critical thinking that might contribute to the development of companion texts to MacDougall’s (1986) Film Teaching and Documentary and Renov’s Teaching Documentary Q077) in this era of the global archive of the internet.

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