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[Commlist] CfP: Visible Evidence XXVII: Documentary and Democracy in Crisis
Fri Feb 12 17:13:13 GMT 2021
Visible Evidence XXVII
Frankfurt am Main, December 15-18 2021
Visible Evidence XXVII will take place in a hybrid format. Around half
of the conference presentation slots will be allocated to online
presentations for those who cannot make it to Frankfurt in person. In
addition, the conference keynote lectures will be live streamed to those
attending virtually. The organizing committee is currently examining
additional means to make virtual participants and attendants further
engaged with the in-person panels and interactions. We ask applicants to
state in advance whether they’ll participate virtually or in person. We
are aware that applicants’ conditions might change. We will therefore
also ask you to confirm your form of participation (in person or
virtually) upon receiving notification of acceptance and in mid-October,
two months before the conference.
With the new conference layout the VE XXVII steering committee is
particularly interested in formats that draw on previous dialogue, such
as pre-constituted panels, workshops and conversations (see below) that
bring together scholars and practitioners. Along with the usual open
call for paper presentations we offer adjusted formats for the hybrid
model and ask applicants to read carefully through the format descriptions.
VE XXVII, 2021: Documentary and Democracy in Crisis
What we call ‘documentary’ 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. As the last months have shown, the willingness or unwillingness
of citizens to comply with policy makers have crucial effects. How
does documentary respond to what has been widely diagnosed as the
current crisis of democracy? What could be an adequate reaction in
forms, themes and modes of production, to the return to nationalism and
other forms of political tribalism in the face of global migration? In
what ways does documentary shape our perceptions of the consequences of
globalization, from climate change, health crisis, to the transformation
of the economy? And how can documentary in theory and practice
contribute to defend the spaces and modes of deliberation necessary for
the life of democracy?
Visible Evidence, the international conference on documentary film and
media, now in its 27th installment, will convene in Frankfurt, Germany,
on December 15-18, 2021. 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,
conversation, screening and paper proposals that address documentary and
non-fiction media from a diverse range of disciplines that can open the
field to new lines of investigation through innovative and original
Designed as a public event in collaboration with the city’s leading
cultural institutions, 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, and in light
of current affairs seems ever more pertinent, 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 threads 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, distribution platforms and new visual
Documentary Publics: The advent of new media platforms and technologies
bares, on the one hand, potential for a radical reorganization of social
bodies. On the other hand, creates 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
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 a 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
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?
Documentary and the Politics of Information: The current crisis evolving
from the Coronavirus pandemic brought to the surface many questions
related to information, its representation, circulation and utilities as
a means of governance, surveillance or trust. These questions go back to
core assumptions of documentary. How does (and whether) the gesture of
informing the public contribute to the forming of responsible and
responsive citizenry? How do forms of visualization cater to different
relations to authority, or different modes of address?
Guidelines for Submission:
Panels will consist of three presentations of no more than 15 minutes
for each presentation (online presenters might consider even shorter
presentations) with ten-minutes 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, or for filmmakers 200 words abstract and 20
minutes materials (via link); 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 40 minutes in
total (5-7 minutes for each statement), 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; filmmakers are welcome
to add 20 minutes materials (via link); 100-word biography for each
participant and 5 bibliographic entries for the entire workshop.
A new format introduced for VEXXVII that consists of a 45-minute
conversation between three participants that relies on
cross-disciplinary exchange between artists and scholars around shared
investigations of concepts, sites, sensibilities and histories. The
conversation will be based on work (screeners or papers) that were
circulated in advance. Presenters will be asked to send a paper of 1,500
words MAX, or for artists either excerpts or a complete work, /a couple
of weeks before the conference/. The conversation itself will be based
on the pre-circulated essays and visual materials. Conversation
proposals require a title, 200-word description of the general theme;
five keywords that identify the conversation focus; 200-word abstract
for each paper or film; and for filmmakers 20 minutes materials (via
link); 100-word biography for each participant.
Presentation proposal (open call):
Individual presentation proposals can be submitted through the open
call. Individual presentations will be allotted 15 minutes for each
presenter. Accepted presentations will be programmed into panels with
other individual presentation submissions. Individual presentation
proposals require a title; five keywords that identify the
presentation’s focus, 300-word abstract for papers and 200 words
abstract and 20 minutes worth of screening materials (via link) for
practitioners; 100-word biography and five bibliographic entries.
A note to filmmakers and practitioners:
To stress the interconnectedness of theory and praxis, filmmakers and
practitioners’ talks will be integrated into all formats side by side
with paper presentations. Filmmakers are welcome to send their materials
according to the above instructions for each one of the formats where
they can present excerpts of their work and contextualize it. In
addition VE XXVII will open a Vimeo channel where selected works will be
screened. Practitioners presenters could also add a link to their work
to the online program.
Conversations will be allotted forty-five minutes, panels and workshops
will be allotted one hour and forty-five minutes.
All proposals have to be submitted via EasyChair:
All proposals are due by March 20, 2021.
Multiple submissions will not be accepted, except for panel respondents.
Panels, workshops and conversations will be either held completely in
person or completely virtually. If your panel/workshop/conversation
takes place virtually you are still welcome to attend in person.
Applicants will be notified of acceptance by June 15th, 2021.
For questions please email (visibleevidence2020 /at/ gmail.com)
<mailto:(visibleevidence2020 /at/ gmail.com)>.
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