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De-Doc: Decolonizing Documentary Film Methods in Artistic Research

Applicant Hardliz Ronny
Number 190385
Funding scheme Spark
Research institution Hochschule Luzern Design & Kunst
Institution of higher education Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts - HSLU
Main discipline Arts
Start/End 01.01.2020 - 31.12.2021
Approved amount 124'346.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Arts
Architecture and Social urban science
Theatre and Cinema

Keywords (16)

decolonial practices; documentary film methods; artistic research/art research/aesthetic episteme; global states of exhaustion; sensations of lost ground; suspension of forces in film; counter-strategies to hegemony; autonomous camera; collaboration as common ground; cinema as art/architecture; occupation of Palestine; The Freedom Theatre; inaccessibility of Lascaux; prehistoric painting; Walter Benjamin's exile; Angelus Novus

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Seit seinen Anfängen wird im Film die Entkoppelung der Kräfte vom Raum erkundet. Es besteht eine Analogie zu jenen globalen Phänomenen, die ein scheinbar universelles, schwindelerregendes Gefühl von Bodenlosigkeit produzieren, wie Migration, Klimawandel, Digitalisierung, neoliberale Kontrolltechniken, oder das individualisierte Selbst.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziele des Forschungsprojekts

Für viele Menschen ist die Frage, wie sie mit dem wörtlichen und figurativen Verlust an Boden umgehen sollen, existentiell relevant. Als globales und scheinbar universelles Phänomen bietet es Chancen zur Verständigung. Konkrete Fälle und Lösungsansätze werden für viele verständlich und anwendbar.

Der Dokumentarfilm kann solche Fälle vermitteln. Als Praxis kann er durch seine Produktionsbedingungen zudem einen Moment der Verständigung herzustellen. Derartige Kollaboration erlaubt, Territorium zu gewinnen und wieder Boden unter den Füssen zu haben.

Anhand von drei Beispielen werden künstlerische Methoden untersucht, solche Kollaborationen herzustellen: das besetzte Palästina, die unzugänglichen Höhlen von Lascaux, Walter Benjamins Exil. Dabei wird auf die Fähigkeit des Filmmediums zurückgegriffen, Gefühle von Bodenlosigkeit zu erzeugen. Die entsprechenden Techniken werden methodisch bei der Etablierung einer Kollaboration eingesetzt. Unter dem Begriff «autonome Kamera» wird eine Kamerabewegung verstanden, welche sich nicht nach der Handlung richtet. Unweigerlich setzen sich Protagonisten zu diesen Bewegungen in ein Verhältnis. Die Arbeit, welche für die Bestimmung dieses Verhältnisses nötig ist, ist die Grundlage der Kollaboration.

Untersucht wird der de-kolonialisierende Effekt dieser Methode, also inwiefern dadurch eine nicht-dominante Co-Produktion entsteht.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Die Forschung zum (vermeintlichen) Ende westlicher Dominanz und zur Prävention hegemonialen Systeme wird mit einem neuen praxisbasierten Ansatz ergänzt. Mit dem Filmmaterial leistet es einen bildnerisch künstlerischen Beitrag zur sinnlichen Erfahrung und Verinnerlichung alternativer Widerstandsformen.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 29.01.2020

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
“and here I am”—De-Colonial Aspects of Advanced Curatorial Work (of Art)
HardlizRonny (2021), “and here I am”—De-Colonial Aspects of Advanced Curatorial Work (of Art), in OnCurating.org, (50), 111-119.
Braucht Architektonisches Künstlerisches?
HardlizRonny, Braucht Architektonisches Künstlerisches?, in Fischer Mirjam (ed.), Mille pages, Zürich.
Non-Construction: An Architectural Gesture in Artistic Research
HardlizRonny, Non-Construction: An Architectural Gesture in Artistic Research, DIAPHANES, Zürich.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof Dr Jyoti Mistry, HDK-Valand Film Institute, University of Gothenburg Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Sam Dolbear, Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
The Walter Benjamin Archive, Berlin Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Prof Dr Sarat Maharaj, Malmö Art Academy, Lund University Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Paul Buck, independent writer France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Hadas Kedar, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design Jerusalem Israel (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Ahmed Tobasi, The Freedom Theatre, Jenin Palestinian territory (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Kino Rex Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Omar Krieger, 1:1 Center for Art and Politics, Tel Aviv Israel (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Marc Azéma, CREAP - E. Cartailhac Maison des Sciences de l'Homme de Toulouse France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Master-Symposium 2022: On the Politics of Aesthetics Talk given at a conference De-Doc-Donkeywork: How do we look at animals? 29.03.2022 École de design et Haute école d'art du Valais / ÉDHÉA, Sierre, Switzerland Hardliz Ronny;
Master Intensive #3 Individual talk De-Doc-Donkeywork 18.10.2021 University of Gothenburg, Sweden Hardliz Ronny;
ZDOK Special Visual Aesthetics in Documentary Talk given at a conference Panel: Strategy, Methodology and Impact of Artistic Research 26.03.2021 ZHDK, Zürich (online), Switzerland Hardliz Ronny;
Brown Bag Lunch Individual talk Spekulatives Denken in der künstlerischen Forschung 20.02.2020 Lucerne School of Art & Design, Switzerland Hardliz Ronny;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Decolonising Documentary Practices: Work Session 1 10.11.2021 Lucerne School of Art & Design, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Decolonising Documentary Practices mit Ronny Hardliz Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 01.06.2021 HSLU, Switzerland Hardliz Ronny;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Unoccupied Territories 17.05.2021 Kino Rex Bern, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Decolonising Documentary Practices mit Ronny Hardliz Hochschule Luzern, Design & Kunst, Newsfeed German-speaking Switzerland 2021
Video/Film Unoccupied Territories – and here I am International 2021

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
198372 Non-Construction - An Architectural Gestures in Artistic Research 01.09.2020 Open Access Books
206609 DE-DOC-DONKEYWORK: Decolonising Documentary Art Practice and the Global Crisis for Donkeys 01.05.2022 Postdoc.Mobility

Abstract

An abysmal sensation of nausea or exhaustion has become prevalent for people around the globe. It is being produced by colonial/colonizing conditions, all of which seem to be both universal and out of our sphere of influence: migration, climate change, digitalisation, neoliberal techniques of control, or the individualist self. The powers at play can be countered through political action. Nevertheless, the question how we can immediately cope with such divesting forces remains urgent. The above described sensation touches upon existential issues such as death, love, or ecstasy that are central to artistic thought and production. Art has the capacity to wrest these issues from people’s everyday economic contingencies and reflect them in quasi-timeless realms of aesthetic episteme. It is possible to convey the abysmal sensation of lost ground to the viewer through a particular technique of filming: by unhinging physical forces such as gravity or inertness within the reference of an architectural space. The uncoupling of forces from space has been examined in film sine its existence. There is an analogy between these film techniques and the global state of exhaustion. A constellation of three paradigms will provide aesthetic understanding of such states of exhaustion useful for the invention of counter-strategies adaptable to everyday life: the occupied state of Palestine, the inaccessible caves of Lascaux, and the thinking in exile of Walter Benjamin. The appropriateness of the chosen paradigms is not scientifically justified. They follow an artistic intuition, in which materials associate by an aesthetic epistemic mechanism. The paradigms constituted themselves during doctoral studies as relevant and interconnected, yet largely unexplored instances for the rest of the studies. They lend themselves to further exploration with regard to one of the main outcomes of the doctoral studies: the autonomous camera, camera that moves according to own logic. These are the presumed paradigmatic counter-strategies: The Freedom Theatre in Jenin (West Bank) represents and counters the occupation of Palestine in a socio-cultural form of theatrical practice; the only everyday use of the caves of Lascaux in the South of France with precious prehistoric paintings consists in the cave keeper’s daily control of the measuring instruments; during his exile in Paris Benjamin kept a drawing by Paul Klee called Angelus Novus like a guardian angel. Just two weeks after he left it at the Bibliothèque Nationale with Georges Bataille on his escape from the Nazis, Benjamin committed suicide.Plays, paintings, or drawings can be filmed, but they cannot just be performed in front of the autonomous camera. The director and the protagonists are forced to actively relate to the dominant logic of the camera. In this collaboration, content and form translate into new cinematographic representations. The cancelled physical forces within the projected architectural space generates the sensation of nausea or exhaustionThe aim is the collective exploration of possible translations of existing ways of coping with the sensation of nausea or exhaustion into cinematographic representation by the new means of the autonomous camera. These cinematographic representations are documentaries by its very nature. The study considers the creative instances of documentary filming in its totality, from preproduction to filming, editing, and its performance in both immersive film-installations or conventional documentaries in theaters-including the ‘making of’ as meta-data, which integrates outside and back stage views as well as interviews and comments. There is a risk that the chosen approach-the autonomous camera-by reproducing the forces it aims to examine, might colonize and suffocate the autonomy of the protagonists. Preliminary tests have shown that the protagonists rather rely on what they have and confidentially perform what needs to be translated into the film. Paradoxically, the effect of the autonomous camera is in itself decolonizing. The data generated in the study is applicable to documentary film and research with related techniques in other fields.
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