Stefanie Baumann | Online-Workshop für Studierende der Akademie
Datum & Uhrzeit: 2021-07-01 10:00
Ort: online
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In the last decade, documentary formats have entered massively into the realm of the culture industry, especially since Hollywood and Netflix started to invest in costly productions addressed to the mainstream. Many of them claim to show reality in its immediacy “as it really is”, to reveal that which is obscured, or to elucidate mysterious or scandalous phenomena. They recur thereby to aesthetic strategies that reinforce the authenticity of their appearance and standardized forms, while concealing the mediatedness of that which they represent and the framing (Butler) on which they rely. This turns them into a powerful instrument for ideologies, especially since, as Adorno already noted in the 1940s, “[w]hatever lacks the familiar trace of such pre-formation lacks credibility, the more so because the institutions of public opinion accompany what they send forth by a thousand factual proofs and all the plausibility that total power can lay hands on” (2005b: 108). The overpowering presence of normalized representations shapes a perception of the world in which singularity is immediately obliterated and superseded by consensual commonplaces. Images become patterns, because the associations triggered by omnipresent clichés cultivate reflex reactions in perception.


This turns the question of the image into a political, philosophical and aesthetic problem, which constitutes a particular challenge for art in the age of capitalism and global crisis. What has art become in a world in which the products of the culture industry submerge everyday life and overdetermine the perception of reality? How can an artwork oppose its integration into the logics of the market and elude tacit endorsement of unquestioned, consensual values and norms? How can art still constitute society’s subversive counterpart, its utopian outside capable of deflecting its appearance as a hermetic totality?



Stefanie Baumann is currently a researcher at CineLab/IFILNOVA (New University of Lisbon), where she coordinates the working group “Thinking Documentary Film”. She obtained her PhD in philosophy in 2013 with a doctoral thesis on Walid Raad's artistic project The Atlas Group. She has taught Philosophy, Aesthetics and Contemporary Art Theory at University Paris VIII (Paris, 2007-2010), Ashkal Alwan (Beirut, 2013), ALBA - the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts/ University of Balamand (Beirut, 2012- 2015) and the Maumaus Independent Study Program (Lisbon, since 2016). From 2005 to 2010 she worked closely with the artist Esther Shalev-Gerz and collaborated with the video artists Marie Voignier and Mounira Al Solh on several projects.


*The workshop will be held in English.