PhD Defense at Ghent University, 2004

“Film Process as a Site of Critique. Ethnographic Research into the Mediated Interactions during (Documentary) Film Productions”

PhD defended at Film-Plateau, Ghent University, 2004

Commmission: professor Rik Pinxten (Ghent University), professor Marc Demey (Ghent University), professor Eve Sweetser (UC Berkeley), Dirk Dewit, professor Steve Hughes (SOAS London)

Over the last decades the documentary image has given international attention. Mostly studied by film or art critics, the documentary is generally analyzed via the finished product. By contrast, van. Dienderen shifts the attention towards a critical research on the mediated interactions between the main agents. Through fieldwork conducted during three film productions (e.g. Trinh Minh-ha) she describes how the author, the other and the viewer engage with one another within a (documentary) film context, which is the result from particular technological, social and ideological forces. She stresses the importance of attending ethnographically to the processes, relationships and identities that are integral to its production. By this ethnography of (documentary) film production processes she challenges assumptions of pivotal importance of western representational systems, such as this odd addiction to realistic modes of representation. She thus adds an investigative tool in the examination of the visual construction of the self, on the one hand, and the formation of sodalities through those media, on the other, both presenting consequently important challenges to anthropology.


Read the book based on the PhD here.