At root, the nature of documentary exploration relies on a keen sense of observation. Inspired by the great documentary performances in films by Shirley Clarke, Abbas Kiarostami, Marlon Riggs, Jean Rouch, Orson Welles and many others, this workshop will integrate this heightened awareness into a hybrid form of response and interpretation using performance as our foundation. If a person is conscious of being in front of a camera, then every movement, gesture or word spoken is a form of willing collaboration in performing the self. Our intention, as a group, will be to break the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction.
With this in mind, we will investigate the confluence of performance and documentary by engaging with artists with a range of backgrounds and intentions including: activist street anthropology, devised theater, movement research, performance art and site-specific cinema spectacle. Participants in this workshop will come with disparate experiences. Some people will have honed a fine-tuned documentary practice. Others will be comfortable directing actors and writing scripts. Still others will arrive with no media background whatsoever, but are willing to engage deeply in a collective pursuit of a new mode of reality-inspired artistic production.
In addition to tackling the aesthetic and conceptual challenges involved in creating a live documentary performance, we will also discuss strategies for working with observational video material in a mixed media theatrical setting and producing in a storefront, restaurant, warehouse or anywhere else that you could bring together an audience.
This three-day intensive is designed for a small group of professionals (15 people maximum) and will expose participants to a broad range of analysis and creative approaches to contemporary practice of documentary performance. Led by Lynne Sachs (Your Day is My Night, Every Fold Matters) with guest instructors Alison S.M. Kobayashi (Say Something Bunny!), Walis Johnson (The Red Line Archive) and Lizzie Olesker (NYU, Every Fold Matters), participants will explore the topic through masterclasses, seminars and a day-long, hands-on, collaborative exercise facilitated by Lynne.
Participants will also have the opportunity to experience the first act of Say Something Bunny!. Please only register if you are able to attend all 3-sessions and participate in a short personal exercise before the course. Participants will write one paragraph and shoot a three minute video with a camera or cell phone prior to the beginning of the workshop. No video editing is required. Lynne will send out specific information about how to prepare this material.
There will be a corresponding public event with live performances on Thursday, March 21. Workshop attendees will receive free entry.