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25 Sep 2012

Documentary Methods in Art

'Zwischenzeit' (c) Mischa Leinkauf & Matthias Wermke

documentary film initiative


Symposium for artists, filmmakers, scientists, journalists, students and generally interested people!
Venue: Academy of Media Arts Cologne,
Fri 19th Oct: 2pm - 8pm; Sat 20th Oct: 10am – 7pm; Sun 21st Oct: 10am – 3pm


dfi (at)
Petra L. Schmitz
++49 (0) 221 170 66 508
++49 (0) 221 170 69 021

documentary film initiative
Im Mediapark 7
50670 Köln (Cologne)

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Since the mid-1990s, audio-visual documentary methods have become increasingly widespread in the visual arts, media art, in museums and exhibition spaces. From the beginning themes included ways of dealing with forms of memory, interest in private and collective archives as well as looking at history as the fictionalization of documents. Since then filmmakers who favour open documentary, essayistic or experimental forms have been acknowledged by the art world and appreciated by a larger public. Names such as Harun Farocki or Chantal Akerman have become synonymous with how filmmakers working with documentary methods have turned to art.

Of course, since the digital revolution a younger generation of filmmakers have also crossed the fluid boundaries between cinema/television and exhibition space/museum. Documentary filmmakers now have the possibility to choose installation-based forms.

The symposium of the Dokumentarfilminitiative (dfi - Documentary Film Initiative) and the Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln (Academy of Media Arts Cologne) questions this blurring of boundaries. Through discussions with invited artists, by means of their films and works, and in lectures, the following points will be examined: Which transformations does the documentary working method undergo in the shift from one context to the other? How does deciding on a form of presentation effect the production of documentary work, the collection of its material, its dramaturgy and presentation? Which specific requirements does time-based documentary work demand of the exhibition space and which mediation concepts do curators have when they present work generated from documentary material? Which functions do document and testimony fulfil and how is found footage worked with in this context? How are the structures of distribution in the areas of cinema or art formed and what shapes working relationships?

Speakers and artists:
Christa Blümlinger (Professor of film theory, Université Vincenne-Saint-Denis, Paris), Phil Collins (Artist, professor for video art, Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln), Barbara Engelbach (Ph.D., curator at Museum Ludwig, Cologne), Luke Fowler (Artist, Glasgow), Ulrike Franke (Author, director and producer, Cologne), Philipp Hamann (Media artist, Cologne), Dietrich Leder (Professor for documentary film, fictional forms, entertainment, Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln), Mischa Leinkauf (Video artist, cameraman), Michael Loeken (Author, director and producer, Cologne), Katrin Mundt (Curator, author, lecturer, Essen), Marcel Odenbach (Video artist, professor for film and video, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf), Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (Film and video curator, arsenal, Berlin) and Fiona Tan (Artist, Amsterdam).

The symposium will mainly be held in German, the international guests will give their lectures in English.

Venue: Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Aula (auditorium), Filzengraben 2, 50676 Köln (

Dates and times: Fri 19th Oct. 2pm – 8pm; Sat 20th Oct. 10am – 7pm; Sun 21st Oct. 10am – 3pm

DFI Documentary Film Initiative & Academy of Media Arts Cologne
Attendance Fee: € 30 (reduced € 20)
More information & registration (only available online):

In collaboration with: Filmbüro NW, Haus des Dokumentarfilms Stuttgart
Funded by: Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sports of the State North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Cologne
Sponsored by: art'otel, Cologne
Mediapartner: filmdienst magazine

Press contact: Stefanie Goertz,