The Struggle for Freedom in “________”: (Re)defining Documentary Photography
is an investigation into the conventions and visual strategies of photojournalism and documentary photography. This research forms the theoretical framework for the development of an ongoing artistic practice that poses to make these constructions explicit. This six year research project is structured in three main chapters: 1: a study into the 1950’s Emergency Crisis in British Imperial Kenya and how photographic conventions play a role in shaping historical narratives through re-enactments with Kenyan Mau Mau war veterans; 2: various case studies into the tropes and iconography of photojournalism and how they have developed over time, with artworks such as an artificial intelligence operated camera
trained on all previous World Press Photo winners, or an in-depth analysis into the true location of Robert Capa’s Falling Soldier
photograph; 3: a book interweaving six personal stories in the USA
after 9/11, dealing with the apparent incapacity of the mainstream media to transmit intimate or idiosyncratic versions of reality.
THE SCHOOL OF SPECULATIVE DOCUMENTARY
On 25 February 2019, The School of Speculative Documentary
organized an all-day symposium at Kaaitheater in Brussels, with An van Dienderen, Max Pinckers, Michiel De Cleene, Thomas Bellinck, e.a. During the symposium several questions were raised. How can we rethink the documentary gesture conceptually, formally and methodologically, exposing it to continuous uncertainty, contamination and contestation? How can we draw inspiration from the paradox that any attempt to document a reality, causes it to mutate and evaporate? How can we cut across the traditional boundaries that pigeonhole the documentary into rigid genres? What strategies can we develop to subvert market-driven formats? How can we critically question the power-structures inherent in documentary making? How do we undermine the documentary's authoritative claim to knowledge and truth? How do documentarists deal with their own blind spots and positions of power? How can we shoulder responsibility for the selection mechanisms that define what can and should be perceived, seen, heard, said, thought, made or done?