Postmodernism, postdocumentary, postmemory

Looking up some information on documentary traditions, I came across a wealth of material on the OCA website that I had not seen before – is this because I am on level 3 and now the documentary part is a level 2 course? Whatever. Anyway, some of the materials are worth looking at in depth.

Martha Rosler, The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems

Gevers paraphrases Martha Rosler, explaining how the latter pointed out in her theoretical writings that documentary photography continues the hegemonic world view since it helps to maintain the social systems it purports to expose or criticize (Afterthoughts). Rosler’s own work employs documentary tradition to expose the inadequacies of descriptions, both photographic and textual. Continue reading “Martha Rosler, The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems”

Images that demand consummation Postdocumentary photography, Art and Ethics: Ine Gevers

This essay looks at the position of documentary-style photography within postdocumentary discipline. Her choice of title is interesting – images that demand consummation, and I understand this to mean images which are not self contained narratives (in the documentary tradition) since it has been shown that such images are motivationally misplaced and do not inspire critical action (Sekula, Rosler, Solomon-Godeau). Continue reading “Images that demand consummation Postdocumentary photography, Art and Ethics: Ine Gevers”

Susan Meiselas, Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History

“Another development sees documentary image-makers focussing [sic] on the publicity and distribution channels of documentary photography. They study and comment on the way that the media shape history and the political and commercial interests that influence this. Stories that do not fit into the collective image of the world or are regarded as undesirable by those concerned can be ignored by society or even deliberately suppressed.” (Heuvel, p113)
Continue reading “Susan Meiselas, Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History”

The Tuol Sleng photographic archive

Gevers talks about the problems encountered when photographs are exhibited in gallery spaces – they are immediately elevated to the level of aesthetic artefact, no matter how brutal or harrowing their subject matter (as has been demonstrated when I looked at the work of Nachtwey, Meiselas and even Salgado). Continue reading “The Tuol Sleng photographic archive”

T.J. Demos, Kutluğ Ataman: The Art of Storytelling

(Taken from the catalogue of Kutluğ Ataman’s ‘The Enemy Inside Me’ exhibition at İstanbul Modern between 10 November, 2010 and 6 March, 2011)

Available on Ataman’s website here, this article is a true analysis of the filmmaker’s work and not obfuscated with high-brow terminology and hyperbole. The author first of all points out that Ataman’s films are part of a vogue that has been ongoing since the mid 90s, where artists have been engaged in challenging accepted parameters of documentary (objectivity, truthfulness) while simultaneously “…refusing to surrender film’s capacity to represent and construct meaningful social reality“; Continue reading “T.J. Demos, Kutluğ Ataman: The Art of Storytelling”