Complementary Testimonies in Documentary Discourse

Beyond the demand for clear visibility and readability, many current documentary discourses are broaching the issue of their own contextuality as a precondition for meaning and effectiveness. Meaning develops via every publication context, every reception and every way of reading and seeing. It is not fixed, but rather fluid; it circulates and migrates. In the combination of various forms of documentation and testimony, current projects are thus focusing on image-text combinations and their complementarity. In doing so, they reflect that no document or testimony can convey direct evidence of its own accord, but instead will always include the possibility of fiction as well.
Moving beyond the idea of a comparison of image-based and text-based media, the symposium will examine the entirety and complexity of the relationships of image and text in projects particularly from the area of the photobook, but also in multimedia, film, comic and the narrative forms of the archive. The main focus of attention here will be the question of what consequences follow from the ‘suturing of image and text’ with respect to concepts of testimony and documentarism. Can the idea of the complementarity of testimonies navigate the gulf between positions of absolutised truth and relativism?

The symposium “image/con/text. Complementary Testimonies in Documentary Discourse” will take place on 29th and 30th of October 2019 in Hanover at the Faculty III, Media, Information and Design, of the Hochschule Hannover – University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Images in Conflict / Bilder im Konflikt

“This is not a book only about the representation of conflict. A better way to think of it is as a thoughtful study of imagery in transition during a period of cultural instability, using conflict as the common, unifying context that brings together a disparate collection of thinkers and practitioners and delivers new insight into how images matter.”

(Stephen Mayes, Executive Director Tim Hetherington Trust)

Photographic and filmic images of situations of crisis and con­flict change in terms of aesthetics and applications, thereby becoming targets themselves. On the one hand, image producers and the dis­tribution channels for images have multiplied in the course of digital developments. This broadens perspectives and enables new narrative forms. On the other hand, these changes are associated with an upheaval of clas­sical photojournalistic self-perception. This also raises the question to what extent photographs can still function as witnesses. In the realm of claims to truth, they move among authenticity, objectivity and pro­paganda. Their contextualisation and framing create meanings and re­quire reflection. Images in Conflict / Bilder im Konflikt is devoted to the relationship between conflicts and their mediatisation; it focuses on current visualisation strategies and ‘image wars’.

With visual and verbal essays by:
Dona Abboud, Christoph Bangert, Lars Bauernschmitt, Ann-Christin Bertrand, Vera Brandner, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Edmund Clark, Emma Daly, Michael Ebert, Susanne von Falkenhausen, Karen Fromm, Ziyah Gafić, Sophia Greiff, Dirk Gieselmann and Armin Smailovic, Tim Hetherington, Tony Hicks, Ilaria Hoppe, Geert van Kesteren, Felix Koltermann, Susanne Krieg, Paul Lowe, Stephen Mayes, Philipp Müller, Rolf F. Nohr, Fred Ritchin, Valeria Schulte-Fischedick, Anna Stemmler, Friedrich Weltzien, Donovan Wylie.