Documents of Utopia: The Politics of Experimental Documentary (Nonfictions)
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This timely volume discusses the experimental documentary projects of some of the most significant artists working in the world today: Hito Steyerl, Joachim Koester, Tacita Dean, Matthew Buckingham, Zoe Leonard, Jean-Luc Moulène, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead, and Anri Sala. Their films, videos, and photographic series address failed utopian experiments and counter-hegemonic social practices.
This study illustrates the political significance of these artistic practices and critically contributes to the debate on the conditions of utopian thinking in late-capitalist society, arguing that contemporary artists' interest in the past is the result of a shift within the temporal organization of the utopian imagination from its futuristic pole toward remembrance. The book therefore provides one of the first critical examinations of the recent turn toward documentary in the field of contemporary art.
contradictory readings generated by Foucault’s concept. Since it entered architectural and urban theory in the late 1960s, the term ‘heterotopia’ has been a source of inspiration in urban and architectural theory, but also one of confusion. Critics have argued that the notion is ill-defined and that 28 D O C U M E N T S O F U TO P I A the different examples discussed by Foucault turn heterotopia into an all-tooencompassing concept.16 The inherent ambiguity of this notion is probably one of
quality. He films or photographs them in the absence of people, or deploys lighting and colour effects that evoke a dreamy, uncanny atmosphere. For instance, in his Christiania project, Koester used the cinematic ‘day for night’ effect, a filter used by Hollywood filmmakers in the 1960s to turn daytime scenes into nocturnal ones. This effect significantly re-enchants the drab space of the Danish hippie community. In Morning of the Magicians (2005) and One + One + One (2006), Koester travelled to
the video is shot at the institute for deaf people in Tirana. In one of the institute’s rooms the images of the old reel are screened on a television monitor in front of Sala and a deaf person. Surprisingly the archival images of Valdet’s 1977 interview are significantly distorted, as, in order to facilitate the lip reading, Sala enlarges Valdet’s mouth by reshooting the film reel with his video camera. As a result, the document is transformed into a gigantic and wordless mouth that occupies
programme that translated each neighbourhood into phosphorescent squares whose size depends on the number of homepages it contained. As a consequence, the old online community appears as a labyrinthic structure composed of green squares on a black background. By using drag and pinch gestures on a multi-touch screen, the viewer can navigate around the city in a manner reminiscent of Google Maps. Starting with a zoomed-out view, the entire city emerges as an abstract image, a constellation of large
and 1970s gave legitimacy to the spread and triumph of the ‘personal’ computer, supporting the Internet’s explosion of the following decades. What is more, this discourse helped establish expectations about the medium and, among them, the idea that the Internet should be a space of free exchange beyond regulation. The emphasis on chance and unpredictability in human/computer interaction has often gone hand in hand with libertarian notions of the global network. However, technological romanticism