On the irreducibility of visibilities to statements (panel Visible Evidence XVII, Istanbul, Turkey, August 9-12, 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
André Dias, Susana Duarte / Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Visible Evidence, the ambulatory international conference on documentary, will hold its 17th edition at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey, from 9-12 August 2010 (http://visibleevidence.org/)

On the irreducibility of visibilities to statements: documentary approaches to the audiovisual archive (panel)
Documentary film constitutes a privileged archeological practice for understanding the orders of experience in a given historical moment. But within these orders, as Foucault pointed out, "what we see never lies in what we say, and vice-versa". This incommensurability between 'visibilities' and statements was explicitly put forward by both Deleuze's reading of Foucault's archeology of knowledge/genealogy of power and the problematic of cinema. Further theoretical developments by John Rajchman, David Rodowick and Tom Conley of the above intuition didn't manage to completely account for the specific position of cinema, and especially documentary, within this problematic. In fact, we are lacking a philosophical 'foundation' of the audiovisual archive's emergence that would bring documentary to a different level of intelligibility. The proliferation of these disjunctions in contemporary documentaries – like the interpenetration of institutions by speech and technological and architectonic structures in Wiseman's series, or the detailed archeological analysis of media and technologies by Farocki, or Lanzmann's 'dispositif' relying almost solely on spoken testimonies, or Rithy Panh's articulation of gestures and testimonies which create paradoxical spaces, etc. – are very significant cases of world 'framings' that, each in their own way, through the exteriorization of the sayable regarding the seeable and vice-versa, and through their confrontation within a given epoch, give us a mode of manifestation and an exile to reality's richness and ambiguity as well as an access to the complex strata that composes it. All this amounts finally to a function of documentary that cannot be neglected, providing the visibilities lacking in so many technological, juridical and political statements that surround us, and thus constructing 'monuments' against the more circumscribed archival of experience. This panel welcomes contributions that further develop this connection between documentary film and the problem of the irreducibility of visibilities to statements.

André Dias, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
A PhD candidate of ambiguity in modern cinema, cinephilia and contemporary philosophy at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. Organized a biopolitics conference and translated Giorgio Agamben's "L'aperto. L'uomo e l'animale" (forthcoming). Recent essays, presentations and ongoing research include "Autopsy 'in vivo': Biopolitical features regarding Wiseman's 'Primate'", "The intrinsic autobiographical fixation of Bill Douglas' trilogy", "On left wing involuntarism in cinema", "Cruelty after theatre. The films of Angela Schanelec", "The pink period. On cinema's high modernism", "On (the dangers of) actively forgetting (the tradition of) film criticism", "Paradoxes of place in contemporary cinema" (panel proposal), "Kiarostami's perversity 'in loco'", "A reality in exile: On the cinephile pedagogy of Hartmut Bitomsky", "The animal as a cinematic problem", and "Birth of electronic space". Author of the cinema and contemporary culture Portuguese blog "Ainda não começámos a pensar / We have yet to start thinking". Film programmer of "Vasulka retrospective", "New Berlin School–A cinema of unease", "Autopsy figures–Biopolitics in contemporary documentary", "Cruelty after theatre–The films of Angela Schanelec".

Susana Duarte, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
PhD candidate in Communication Sciences - Cinema, at Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Faculty of Human and Social Sciences of the New University of Lisbon), and a PhD researcher associated to the IFL's (The Philosophy of Language Institute, FCSH, UNL) project "Film and Philosophy. Mapping an encounter", coordinated by Professor João Mário Grilo (since April, 2008). Thesis title: "The word as a dis-figuration resource in the cinema".

Call for panel-specific paper proposals deadline: 12 March
If you are interested in participating in the Conference, send a paper proposal directly to the chair(s) of the panel - André Dias (aindanaocomecamos@gmail.com) and/or Susana Duarte (susananasc@gmail.com) - by March 12th. The panel chairs will confirm line-ups and notify the conference committee by March 19th.