Curator Okwui Enwezor examines notions of testimony and witnessing fundamental to the reception of the documentary form and to the institutional framing of its meaning in contemporary culture. Against the tendency to offer the documentary, a priori, as purely a matter of making visible images or representing their visceral effects, this project seeks to put in remand – temporarily – such effects. The objective is not to foreclose the routines of the visual, but to test other strategies of presenting the documentary form in a public forum.
The project involves three simultaneous sequences: In the first sequence, documentary photographs will be published in the German daily die tageszeitung on June 5th 2010 along with short editorials on their public reception/interpretation with respect to their veracity or ethical place in the media: Emily Apter writes on Adnan Hajj’s “Smoke over Beirut” (Beirut, 2006); Jacques Rancière on Kevin Carter’s “Vulture Watching Starving Child” (Sudan, 1993); Tom Keenan on Khalid Mohammed’s “Blackwater Agents Hanging from Bridge” (Fallujah, 2004); Eduardo Cadava on Robert Capa’s “Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death” (Cerro Muriano, 1936).
The second sequence involves throughout the entire forum live public readings from bookson historic atrocities: W.G. Sebald, “On the Natural History of Destruction”; Antjie Krog, “Country of my Skull”; Philip Gourevitch, “I Would Like to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will All Be Dead”.
For the third sequence, artists respond to the other sequences using text-based documentary forms, design, architecture and sculpture. Ecke Bonk defines the relationship between typography and photographs in the media; Juan Maidagan & Dolores Zinny define spaces for public readings; a literary piece by Walid Sadek is presented as well as a new art installation by Tony Cokes.
A conversation with Okwui Enwezor will take place on Wednesday, June 2nd 2010 at 8.30 pm.