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Documentary and Performance

A one-day symposium hosted by the Film Studies programme at the University of Surrey.

Friday September 16th 2011

While theatrical acting and fictionalised action is generally precluded in documentary film, the concept of performance is inherently, if ambivalently, linked to the study of documentary and non-fiction media.  The documentation of performance is a primary function of the moving image, going back to the first screenings of the Skladanowsky brothers in 1895 Berlin, where the six second films featured dance performances, acrobatics and kangaroo boxing.  There now exists a rich and varied tradition of documenting the performing arts, from dance to theatre to performance art.  Moving from the perspective of performance studies to that of documentary studies, the process of making film and television documentary also implies issues of performance.  The performance of the self in everyday (filmed) situations, the performance of re-enactment and reconstruction and the performative act of documentary production, question how we understand the notion of performance as it relates to the representation of the real.

This one-day event aims to explore performance in the context of documentary and moving-image documentation.  How do theories of documentary and the theorisation of performance interact?  What are the ethics and aesthetics of recording performances?  How does the documentary form enhance or distort the art of performance?  How does performance taint or enhance the re-presentation of reality?

We invite speakers and contributors working on documentary film as well as the intersection of non-fiction media with theatre, dance and performance studies to respond to these questions.  The following topics are a guideline to potential paper proposals and are not meant to exclude other interpretations of the seminar's title Documentary and Performance


*         Documenting dance, dance documentary, documenting dance as ethnography or popular idiom

*         Records of performance in biographies and histories of performers

*         The role of documentary in the creation/preservation of performance art

*         The documentation of site-specific performance

*         Performance of the self and the everyday in documentary

*         Re-enactment and reconstruction in documentary

*         Documentary as embodied knowledge



Please submit a proposal including a 300-word paper abstract and a short biography to Dr. Helen Hughes ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>) by Friday 1st July 2011.



Dr. Bella Honess Roe
Lecturer - Film Studies
Department of Dance, Film and Theatre
University of Surrey
Guildford
Surrey GU2 7XH
+44 (0)1483 683049



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