We are living in an intense phase of socio-spatial transformation fostered by authoritarian state policies, urban transformation projects, border regimes, forced migration, and ecological disasters throughout the world. I will discuss the necessities and the new forms of collective documentary filmmaking that have emerged in the conflict zones, specifically in the Middle East but also in various other regions, as a way of looking at the life and people that are affected.
My paper approaches the issue of collectivity in the film and video as a consequence of the tough circumstances experienced in the conflict zones. I believe that this methodology excludes many hierarchies, while at the same time including collective thinking and participatory image processing. Members of the collectives who are the subjects of these movements, human flows, displacements due to war and conflict contribute to questioning the film paradigm. They are not classified anymore as victims of the conflict by the filmmaker yet they create their own images, tell their stories without objectification. Those image collectives have the potential to reveal the justice and truth in the image.
How should we think about the political aesthetics of the collective assemblage created by the “victims”? How does it affect and shape the current documentary film environment? As an activist filmmaker, a member of video collectives, and as a political immigrant in Germany, I will try to answer those questions by reflecting on my experiences on the forced migration route in Turkey and beyond the borders.
Özge Çelikaslan, lives and works in Karlsruhe. She graduated from the film studies departments (BA, MA) in Turkey. She is a co-founder and member of archive and video collectives. She is involved in artistic and political projects focusing on forced migration, displacement, urban labor, commoning practices, and activist archiving. She worked as an independent film programmer and curator in festivals and art institutions. Çelikaslan pursues her academic research as a Ph.D. scholar on the politics of image through archive commons practices at Braunschweig University of Art (HBK). Co-editor of the books Surplus of Istanbul (2014) and Autonomous Archiving (2016 dpr-barcelona) and contributed to publications on film, video, activism, and archiving.
Residual infrastructures or threshold infrastructures are in-between spaces where commoning practices occur against the necropolitics of border and security regimes. This paper will focus on the spatial perspective of landscapes of displacement and dispossession within visual narratives and methodologies. From a temporary refugee camp to extractive spaces of water dams to residual spaces of displacement in the Southeast of Turkey; this paper will present Residual Spaces videogram archive, Camps as Commons/Commons As Camp, Refugee Heritage/DAAR, and other related projects.
The questions are how counter-forensics and de-archiving practices may create decolonial practice. How can we approach spaces that are transformed by war and migration for both humans and non-humans? How may landscapes and non -humans be evidence as silent witnesses?
Pelin Tan is a sociologist and art historian based in Mardin, Turkey, and a professor in film at the University of Batman, Fine Arts Faculty. She is the 6th recipient of the Keith Haring Art & Activism Award (New York) and senior researcher of the center for arts, design, and social research (Boston). Tan was a Postdoctoral fellow on »Artistic Research« at ACT Program, MIT (2011), a Ph.D. researcher of DAAD – Art History, Humboldt Univ.Berlin (2006). She is a member of Artikisler Collective, with whom she has published a book on Autonomous Archiving. Recipient of Sharjah Short Film award 2020.
Kino Mosaik was a documentary film collective of which the author was an active member, founded on the Greek Island of Lesvos in 2018 in order to produce a visual counter-action to the oppressive conditions experienced by migrants on the Aegean border of Europe. The members of the collective were mostly Moria refugee camp residents, coming from different countries. They believe in the collective force of image and sound as a collective way of thinking.
Kino Mosaik aimed to take a position against the mainstream representations of migrants and believes that a self-representative point of view, built with a bottom-up approach constitutes in itself an effective tool of resistance against racism and other postcolonial categories and stereotypes on migrants imposed and circulated even by the most empathetic mainstream media. In this presentation I will therefore discuss the visual representation of migration from the point of view of its primary actors, by focusing on the Kino Mosaik project.
How can images help to create solidarity and resistance during the never-ending transition periods of waiting for asylum? How important is it to act and think collectively and how can the image be a tool for this? What was the problem in the dominant representation systems, which pushed the members of Kino Mosaik to create their counter-images? Can the re-appropriation of the tools of representation be a way to show us the pathways towards a fully realized autonomy of migration?
Nagehan Uskan lives and works on Lesvos Island. After studying cinema at Bologna and Lyon Universities, in 2018 she finished her Ph.D. at the Sociology department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul, on the topic of Kurdish documentary cinema in Turkey. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Sociology department of the University of Fribourg/Switzerland with research on migration and its visual representation during 2019. She also works as a film programmer for different institutions and as an independent documentary filmmaker. She has organized visual storytelling workshops with migrant collectives in Lesvos Island and held several film lectures and workshops within different international institutions. She is currently a lecturer and researcher hosted by Humboldt-University.