History repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce. In this workshop series, we will keep Karl Marx’s famous phrase in mind as we explore the theme of reenactment in a myriad of forms. We will invite participants to think about radical ways of restaging history. In a counter spirit to the Hollywood historical drama, we will question the idea of creating a seamless illusion of the past.
During this three-day workshop, we will explore reenactment as a device to rupture time, bringing the past into the present to help us imagine the future in a spirit of liberation. We will look at ways in which restaging events can defamiliarize our world, revealing the cracks and fissures of what we think we know, opening up a space for what has been forgotten, suppressed, or deliberately left out of the official record. Did history have to turn out the way it did, or can we rewrite it anew?
Composed of six sessions, this workshop brings together a diverse spectrum of practitioners who will share their ideas about documentary reenactment in relation to community building, exploring what it means for people to reenact their own experience or that of their community. We will discuss its populist appeal, its potential to bring people together, without ignoring its dark side, its ever-present potential to relitigate history in the most reactionary ways. On a more individual level, we will consider repetition versus reenactment and its relation to work and to psychological disturbance. We will also be concerned with more practical questions that filmmakers face in the field, from working with non-actors to casting and directing professionals.
We’ll explore a range of practices and approaches to reenactment in documentary with a stellar lineup of artists coming from a spectrum of disciplines to help understand how the technique of reenactment can be an effective and creative tool. Renowned avant-garde actor and theater director Kate Valk (The Wooster Group) will specifically engage on the level of performance and gesture; while Rodrigo Reyes’ will give us a closer look at his documentary feature films 499, and Sanson & Me that can help us interrogate how the use of reenactment resonates today. Cathy Lee Crane (Crossing Columbus, The Manhattan Front) will discuss how she navigates the genre conflict between documentary and fiction. Tara Mateik (Putting the Balls Away) will discuss his work underscoring moments of collective transfeminism across historical and geographic location, and Agnese Cornelio will focus on how recreating histories across time and contexts can deliver new impacts in her work in theater and filmmaking.
Throughout the weekend, participants will be provided with prompts from the visiting artists that will allow them to explore different approaches and techniques regarding reenactment. They will also be able to discuss their own works in conversation with this stellar group of guests and with other participants. Anyone interested, whether or not they have a piece they are working on, is invited to join.
Seats are limited, so sign up today!
NOTE: This workshop will require in-person participation from all participants. Each participant must present proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test administered within 72 hours of the workshop’s start. Any and all questions, please reach out to [email protected]