Accepted Paper:

Documentary filmmaking and artivism in contemporary China.  

Authors:

Sara Beretta (Università Bicocca Milano Italy)
Flora Lichaa (INALCO and Paris 3 (New Sorbonne))

Paper short abstract:

Documentary filmmaking not only means producing artworks, but also taking action: this is particularly true in China, where the union of visual art and activism gave birth to forms of artivism. In this paper, through some selected documentary works and cases, we would try to show the effective gesture of filming in contemporary China, as a meaningful example of spontaneous act of agency, facing crisis with visual production.

Paper long abstract:

Documentary filmmaking not only means producing artworks, but also taking action: this is particularly true in China where the union of visual art and activism gave birth to forms of artivism. Since the end of the 1980's, a process of rapid mass urbanisation comes to shape individuals' and communities' life. Wrongful destructions and flouted rights contribute to create a sense of unrest which is issued in the form of revolts. In this context of corruption and censorship, injured persons are searching possibilites to make their voices heard more. Recording is thus becoming a way of experiencing life and a form of unfolding the otherwise folded violence. Participant actors are urged to document the suffered violence: their filmic gesture is one of the emerging forms of effective statement of being and revolt. Citizens turn into visual ethnographers, video witnesses and actors in a changing society, so that the boundary between directors and amateurs blurs when coping with crisis. However, to take action using video prompts the following question: do we have the right, as impromptu filmmakers, to produce political artworks recording such a violence? The difficulty to position oneself beween the need to help involved persons and the willingness to propose a self-reflexion about this current turmoil leads to multiple and creative constructions of this same reality.

Panel W075
The visual in times of uncertainty: experience lived/experience recorded