|Documentary; Video Art; Aernout Mik; Film program; Curator; The Documentary Turn
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Given the growing number of important works over the past two decades that have used the medium of film to produce pieces that can be labeled as documentaries, this study examines recent contemporary artists’ use of this approach as well as its impact on contemporary art. This study lays out the different regimes of truth through which the documentary form has evolved throughout film history, as well as their effect on the use of the approach within contemporary art during the past 15 years. In order to examine the current state of the documentary form within contemporary art, an analysis will focus on two recent works: the “Cardboard Walls” video installation by Aernout Mik (2013) and the “Crude Economy” film program by Florian Wüst (2013). Mik’s work is crucial to this study because of its use of reenactment and the documentary strategy, both of which have become increasingly popular among artists since the advent of the new documentary movement in the early 1990’s. By associating this particular work to Jacques Rancière’s concept of the emancipated spectator, it is possible to observe the relation to images that the documentary offers to its viewer and its possibilities to be an alternative to other media sources by combining individual and collective memory. The second case study introduces the film program as a new art form by a questioning of the contemporary role of the curator, as well as the influence of the documentary form in such works created by film montage. The two case studies establish the main esthetic and social characteristics of the current documentary approach by questioning its relation with history and demonstrating its potentiality to be a reflexive artistic form that can rethink and assist in the development of the position of the film medium in contemporary art. Advisors/Committee Members: E.C.H., De Bruyn (advisor).