Berlin Documentary Forum 2

Drawing from material gathered by the New York police videographer known as Johnny Esposito, cultural theorist Sylvère Lotringer looks at the different ways death is resurfacing in Western culture. Theatre director Rabih Mroué presents a “non-academic lecture” about the role of mobile phones and social media in the Syrian revolts. Harun Farocki's screening program looks at hybrid forms that obscure the boundaries between the contingency of documentary and the control of feature films.

Mexico-based film programmer Eduardo Thomas and Kyoto-based urban planner Günter Nitschke present research in their respective fields on the Japanese concept of “ma”, a structuring absence which challenges such binary distinctions as space/time, inside/outside and emptiness/fullness. In a lecture entitled "Objectifiction", artist and theorist Hito Steyerl examines how 3D technologies affect our notions of space and material reality.

In the exhibition "A Blind Spot", curator Catherine David questions the indexical character ingrained in photography, showing works which address the openness and indeterminacy of images. Anthropologist Christopher Pinney analyzes photography’s “optical unconscious” on the basis of topics such as the illicit opium trade with China, which were occluded from official photographic histories of the city of Calcutta.

Filmmaker and theorist Florian Schneider reflects on the notion of cinematic continuity in relation to the historical continuity of colonialism and fascism. Filmmaker Eyal Sivan talks with cultural theorist Ella Shohat about the language and possibilities of montage in documentary work through the prism of Jean-Luc Godard’s films.

Among the many new pieces produced for the festival, artist Christine Meisner and composer William Tatge take the first Delta blues songs sung by black laborers to develop ideas of “abstract blues” in a video piece, here screened with a live concert by five musicians. Choreographer Eszter Salamon re-enacts interviews made with a woman from Southern Hungary who happens to share her name, revealing how personal hopes and desires transcend the stereotypes of class, age, geography and religion.

More contributions by: Basma Alsharif, Eric Baudelaire, Jacob Ciocci, Mary Helena Clark, Mati Diop, Marguerite Duras, Jean Eustache, Antje Ehmann/Harun Farocki, Miriam Fassbender, David Goldblatt, Thomas Heise, Ito Takashi, Kawase Naomi, Hassan Khan, Thierry Knauff, Joachim Koester, Laida Lertxundi, Sylvère Lotringer, Takashi Makino, Matsumoto Toshio, Vincent Meessen, Christine Meisner, Shana Moulton, Rabih Mroué, Peter Nestler, Olaf Nicolai, Günter Nitschke, Melik Ohanian, Volker Pantenburg, Christopher Pinney, Eva Marie Rødbro, Michael Robinson, Ben Russell, Eszter Salamon, Sylvia Schedelbauer, Florian Schneider, Efrat Shvily, Ella Shohat, Eyal Sivan, Philip Solomon, Hito Steyerl, Jean-Marie Straub/Danièle Huillet, Eduardo Thomas, Jeff Wall, Klaus Wildenhahn, Christopher Williams among others