Symposium The School of Speculative Documentary, 2019

SYMPOSIUM The School of Speculative Documentary, 25.02.2019, Kaaitheater Brussels

How can we rethink the documentary in art in terms of content, form and method? How can we be inspired by the paradox that as soon as you attempt to approach reality in a documentary way, it immediately evaporates and mutates? How can we take our responsibility for mechanisms that determine what can or may be observed, seen, heard, said, thought, made, or done? And how do documentary makers themselves deal with their own positions (of power) and blind spots?

The School of Speculative Documentary is an initiative of Belgian photographers Max Pinckers and Michiel De Cleene, theatre-maker Thomas Bellinck and filmmaker An van Dienderen. Together, they founded a research group at the KASK in Ghent, which functions as an interdisciplinary meeting space to question the documentary act. During this symposium, the space will unfold in the Kaaistudios. Through artistic presentations and conversations, makers will talk about uncertainty and guesswork, to come to terms with the irreparable defects in their work and messy reality.


10:00–10:30 Opening & presentation of the Manifesto of The School of Speculative Documentary

10:30–17:30 (including lunch break) Presentations and conversations by & with:

  • Eszter Salamon, Hungarian choreographer and dancer. Her work explores the notion of speculative history, among other things.
  • Ho Rui An, artist and author based in Singapore and Berlin. At the intersection of visual art, cinema, theory and theatre, she studies the relationship between images and power.
  • Rosine Mbakam, Cameroonian filmmaker, active in Brussels. Her work makes connections between the various realities in which she grew up and currently works.
  • Helene Kazan, artist, curator and author. Her work connects international law, architecture and the human experience of violence.
  • Els Dietvorst, Belgian visual artist and filmmaker, lives and works in Ireland. Her work focuses on communications, collaboration and social conflict.
  • Arkadi Zaides, choreographer who grew up in Belarus and Israel and lives in France. His projects dissect the physical effects of socio-political contexts on the human body.
  • Said Reza Hosseini Adib & Mohammad Javad Mousavi: Afghan journalists, residing in Greece, where they document life in various reception, detention and registration facilities that have been set up for asylum seekers.

17:30–18:00 The Dutch author and theatremaker Rebekka De Wit will re-examine the manifesto of The School of Speculative Documentary and reflect on the day.

18:00–19:30 Dinner break

19:30 Screening: Les deux visages d’une femme Bamiléké (2016) by Rosine Mbakam
A young woman who emigrated to Europe returns to the land of her birth, Cameroon. This film shows her reunion with her mother. 76 min | French/Bamileke, with English subtitles

by & with An van Dienderen, Max Pinckers, Michiel De Cleene, Thomas Bellinck, a.o. | support KASK/School of Arts (HoGent)