ZDOK Special

Visual Aesthetics in Documentary

#visual aesthetics
#technological change
#documentary film

The conference focuses on the changing aesthetics in documentary film caused by innovations in consumer camera technology, such as the introduction of the small DV camcorders in the 90s, large format DSLR cameras after 2009, as well as the growing use of action cams, smartphones or drones in the new millennium. The online event concludes the ZHdK research project «Gadgets, Phones and Drones» , in which individual aspects of the paradigm shift were examined in detail.

Admission is free, please register at conference.ipf@zhdk.ch with your name and affiliation, the deadline is 24 March 2021. The conference will take place on Zoom, the link will be sent on 24 March 2021.


Morning session
Friday, 26 March 2021, 10:00 – 12:30 CET


Visual Aesthetics and Changing Technology
In his opening keynote, John Ellis (Professor at Royal Holloway, London) will give an overview of the ways in which digital production processes have changed the visual aesthetics of documentary films. Ohad Landesman (lecturer in film studies at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University) will focus on the camcorder aesthetics at the beginning of the DV era. Susanne Schüle (Professor for Cinematography at the Film University Konrad Wolf in Potsdam/Babelsberg) will give insights in her experimental work with formats and camera models she pursues with her students.
After a break, John Ellis and Ohad Landesman will be joined by Swiss filmmakers Mirjam von Arx and Christian Frei for a panel discussion, moderated by Christian Iseli (head of the research project “Gadgets, Phones and Drones”).


Afternoon session
Friday, 26 March 2021, 13:30 – 16:00 CET


Artistic Research in Documentary Film
In her keynote, Jyoti Mistry (professor in film at the University of Gothenburg) will provide a survey of artistic research in the context of European film schools. Rand Beiruty, (PhD candidate at the Film University Konrad Wolf in Potsdam/Babelsberg) will discuss her research approach that accompanied her documentary film Nudar (2018). Stefan Dux, Miriam Loertscher and Eva Vitija (researchers on the ZHdK project “Gadgets, Phones and Drones“) will give insights into the methodology, challenges and outcomes of the documentary project that applied a mixed methods approach.
 After a break, the afternoon session will be concluded by a discussion panel, in which Jyoti Mistry and Rand Beiruty will be joined by Annette Brütsch (researcher on the ZHdK project “Gadgets, Phones and Drones“) and Ronny Hardliz (artistic researcher at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts HSLU).