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The University of Southampton
Archaeologies of Media and Technology Research group

Object! On the Documentary as Art

Published: 11 January 2017
Mihaela Brebenel

AMT affiliated Mihaela Brebenel is one of the co-organisers for the one-day symposium Object! On the Documentary as Art, which is on at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in early February. The event explores the aesthetic potential, political stakes and ethical challenges that arise from regarding documentary film as an art object. The event considers documentary as a commodity in circulation, a resource in artistic production, a material trace, a document, or simply as “a thing like you and me” (Hito Steyerl).

Object! On the Documentary as Art aims to reframe the meeting point of films, makers and audiences in ethical terms. In light of the ongoing proliferation of documentary material in artistic production – the so-called ‘documentary turn’– and the exchange of these works in the marketplace as art objects, what are the ethical and political implications of this ‘object turn’ in documentary film? What novel avenues does it open up for critical practice?

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