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Seminar Concept Seminar Concept

In the 1960s, the intensity and speed of the circulation of images, sounds, texts, iconographies, inside and outside the public sphere have highlighted the capacity of new media to polarize the world between actors and spectators. Guy Debord associated this redefinition of the political process with the notion of a society of the spectacle. Debord recognized the systematic and non-incidental aspects of the transformation of all spheres of experience into an image and pointed out how it dissolves lived experience into the spectacularization of social relations. Therefore, having a camera aimed at itself has become an “ontological privilege” that generates exhibitionist anxiety. Predominately visible in Neorealism and Documentary cinema, this “camera effect” (Xavier,2004) is an element that structures certain situations in which theatricality and performance are inevitable.

Cinema, notably in documentary film, has thematized the different ways in which the subject presents himself to the filmmaker and the camera, or as Claudine de France (1989) puts, the auto-mise en scène. As proposed by Esther Hamburger (2007), different films and television programs, in the record of fiction and documentary, express different forms of appropriation of the mechanisms which produce a representation, replicating the same mechanisms reproducing social inequality. To contrast to the hegemonic forms of representation produced by mass media, it is necessary to develop strategies to grant visibility to marginalized social subjects, systematically subjected to violence, inequality and prejudice, which serves to emancipate these subjects, and not reify their condition as powerless victims of systemic violence. The task of the documentary is not solely and exclusively to document ordinary people, but to offer them the chance to explore their auto mise en scène, irreducible the narrative agenda of the filmmaker and let them use this performance towards an affective change of their conditions. Additionally, Jane Stadler (2008) proposes, narrative and narrating are important in ethical life, so the imaginative activity involved in watching films enables audiences to envision ethical situations and possibilities.

In our seminar series, the students together with actors in the Rhein-Main area will research though filmmaking the ways in which is possible to co-create representation in narrative films. At the end of the seminar, they will produce a research report and a film.

In the 1960s, the intensity and speed of the circulation of images, sounds, texts, iconographies, inside and outside the public sphere have highlighted the capacity of new media to polarize the world between actors and spectators. Guy Debord associated this redefinition of the political process with the notion of a society of the spectacle. Debord recognized the systematic and non-incidental aspects of the transformation of all spheres of experience into an image and pointed out how it dissolves lived experience into the spectacularization of social relations. Therefore, having a camera aimed at itself has become an “ontological privilege” that generates exhibitionist anxiety. Predominately visible in Neorealism and Documentary cinema, this “camera effect” (Xavier,2004) is an element that structures certain situations in which theatricality and performance are inevitable.

Cinema, notably in documentary film, has thematized the different ways in which the subject presents himself to the filmmaker and the camera, or as Claudine de France (1989) puts, the auto-mise en scène. As proposed by Esther Hamburger (2007), different films and television programs, in the record of fiction and documentary, express different forms of appropriation of the mechanisms which produce a representation, replicating the same mechanisms reproducing social inequality. To contrast to the hegemonic forms of representation produced by mass media, it is necessary to develop strategies to grant visibility to marginalized social subjects, systematically subjected to violence, inequality and prejudice, which serves to emancipate these subjects, and not reify their condition as powerless victims of systemic violence. The task of the documentary is not solely and exclusively to document ordinary people, but to offer them the chance to explore their auto mise en scène, irreducible the narrative agenda of the filmmaker and let them use this performance towards an affective change of their conditions. Additionally, Jane Stadler (2008) proposes, narrative and narrating are important in ethical life, so the imaginative activity involved in watching films enables audiences to envision ethical situations and possibilities.

In our seminar series, the students together with actors in the Rhein-Main area will research though filmmaking the ways in which is possible to co-create representation in narrative films. At the end of the seminar, they will produce a research report and a film.