CITIZENS REPORTING, A COLLECTIVE MEMORY
August 9-12, 2012 | Mindpirates Projektraum, Schlesische Str. 38, 10997 Berlin
Citizens Reporting, A Collective Memory combines a series of talks, discussions and film screenings that address the emergence of citizen journalism due to the rapid transformation of the social and political climate within the Middle East. The formal lines between journalism and other professional fields blur as people from different backgrounds become the reporters who contest censorship and restore transparency across media channels.
The program looks at various forms of reporting that surfaced in response to recent moments of crises, social change and political struggle, and asks how these forms may eventually shift the dynamic relations between notions of citizenship, social awareness, historiography and collective memory over the course of four days. One part of the program is a compilation of inspiring references and films, as well as other projects that are in dialogue with Azin Feizabadi’s ongoing research project A Collective Memory. The project was launched in 2009 as a response to the social and political transformations in Iran and the Middle East. It questions the possibility of using political jargon within aesthetics and poetics on one hand, while suggesting an associative form of documentation, observation and historical narration on the other.
The films selected for this program span a variety of projects, each displaying different approaches to relaying a message through unconventional forms of documentary filmmaking and unveiling realities the mainstream media landscape does not expose to the common viewer. With the advent of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media, acts of reporting and giving account to the public continue to render new qualities, in terms of their formal and investigative aspects as well as in terms of mobility, anonymity and connectivity. This has caused and still causes the aesthetics of protest and resistance to undergo transition, not only among certain youth cultures, as often stated in the media, and puts them at risk of being co-opted into other professional fields and contexts where they easily become stripped of their critically informing, alarming and potentially jeopardizing essence. Multiple examples could be drawn from the world of advertisement and mainstream cinema just as much as from the world of contemporary art, where activist strategies are all too often brought into play but not paired with the necessary endurance, in terms of time and engagement, to actually achieve the alleged impact on the ground. This program is a way to discuss the risks and ask for heed and precision with regard to these circumstances.
Program curated by Dina Kafafi, Jens Maier-Rothe and Azin Feizabadi.