Fabulating Documentary

Abstract by Jyoti Mistry

Archival materials often serve as evidence of events and encounters between people in places. As repositories of documents, images and artefacts, archives commonly validate the discourses of those in power. By re-examining the archive those stories and experiences that are not visible are made visible as a political necessity, to reclaim marginal narratives and experiences that have otherwise not been seen and told.  This presentation will focus on the use of archives in fabulating stories and socio-political commentary on the elided histories of marginal peoples in the archive. The case study is a trilogy on race, gender and sexuality drawn principally from the EYE Film Museum archive in Amsterdam. Each of the discrete film projects aims to explore the potentiality of archival sources towards reconfiguring documentary forms. The intention is to revitalize the connections between an ethics of representation in film and the politics of its practice.  Excerpts from each of the films will be used to exemplify some of the issues at stake in the proposition of working with archival traces to create critical fabulations of histories and experiences that have overlooked in the construction and description of archival resources.

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