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On Location: The Challenges and Opportunities Of Documenting Place

To record reality is not the same as understanding it. While it is easier than it ever has been to document the world, the meaning of an image is not always immediately clear. With multiple strategies and techniques at their disposal, the documentarian must actively make meaning by re-shaping the world. In this “record now, re-shape later” context, artists are increasingly aware of and alert to the sense of responsibility that documentary has to the physical locations and the social and historical contexts to which it is both responding and contributing. Presented in partnership with Alchemy Film & Arts, this panel examines the ethics, curiosities and opportunities of long-term site-sensitive research in documentary practice from an artistic and curatorial perspective. It explores the productive tensions and dynamic relationships between speculation and documentation, between fact and myth, between community consent and artistic agency, and between the past and the present.  

This panel will include curator and Alchemy Film & Arts Director Rachael Disbury and artists Julia Parks, Maybelle Peters and Natasha Thembiso Ruwona. It will be chaired by critic and Alchemy Film & Arts Director Michael Pattison.