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Jun 5, 2020 at 11:00 am – Jun 9, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Moving a Still Artifact: Film Critiques the Museum

Led by Jessica Sarah Rinland

Please note: Due to COVID-19, UnionDocs workshops are being held remotely, over video conference.

We’ve restructured the experience to optimize this format, offering a functional rhythm and pace, while continuing the strong combination of theory, practice, expert feedback and community that participants love.

Museums and cultural institutions dedicated to the procurement, study, and display of cultural objects are at a critical moment in their history, as the decolonization of their ownership, representation, accessibility and funding are being brought to the forefront. Art Historian Sophie Berrebi succinctly stated  “Todays museums are undergoing a profound mutation that is fed by social, economic, and political factors, which force them to reconsider their mode of action, their routines of collecting and exhibiting.” 

Moving a Still Artifact: Film critiques the museum led by filmmaker Jessica Sarah Rinland (Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Another), draws from the long and rich thread throughout cinema history centered around collecting and museum collections; sites of cultural significance have proved to be, and continue to be productive subjects for film projects. Participants will explore various modalities of filmic discourse to create a short-form film produced from their enquiries into museums, the objects that live within them, archival and found footage. By exploring the museum through film – from an architectural setting or didactic experience, to the subversive – the workshop will focus on the filmmaker’s potential to transform these cultural institutions. Expose the “other side” of the museological practice, of collection, knowledge production, disposition and appropriation using the visual and sonic medium of film.

When reflecting on the depiction of cultural objects in Statues Also Die (1953) – Chris Marker, Ghislain Cloquet, and Alain Resnais’ critique of the ways Western museums decontextualize and display African art objects – Sophie Berrebi describes how the attributes of film – image, sound, and montage – act as revelatory devices, exposing the “other side” of a cultural object “creating a rupture in the museum’s order”. This investigation will allow for reflection upon the history of museums i.e. cabinet of curiosities and private collections, as well as historic house-museums and virtual object and institutional tours; Natural History Museum at South Kensington Archive, König Galerie, MOMA, Louvre Museum, and more. 

Guided by a dynamic roster of guest instructors including museum staff and artists, participants will be led in expanding their standard representational views of museums and similar sites through screenings, discussions and virtual site visits to museums and expanded notions of the museum; monuments, houses, archives, public spaces and other areas of cultural significance. Instructors include Christian Nyampeta (Director; Sometimes it was Beautiful), Amie Siegel (Director; Provenance), Richard Sabin (Curator of Mammals;  London’s Natural History Museum) + Adam Khalil and Zack Khail (Inaate/Se, The Violence Of Civilization Without Secrets).


For filmmakers, artists, museum staff, scholars, media makers and anyone who would like to delve into expansive ways of capturing and interpreting the museum.

$295 early bird registration by June 1, 2020 at 5PM.

$350 regular registration.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until June 1st. After June 1st, the fee is non-refundable.

As this is an online workshop, participants must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.

While filming site visits, participants may use their own Mini DV camcorder, DSLR, mobile phone or any device they have access to. 

To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash . After the early bird registration deadline of June 1st, course fees are not refundable or transferable and any withdrawals or deadlines will result in the full cost of the class being forfeit. There will be no exceptions. To withdraw from a course please email info-at-uniondocs.org.

In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be canceled. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, students are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.

Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Friday, June 5th – 11:00am - 4:00pm

Intro & Welcome

AM: Presentation and discussion with Jessica Sarah Rinland

Saturday, June 6th – 11:00am - 4:00pm

AM: Presentation and discussion with Amie Siegel

PM: Online visits to Museums/Cultural Institutions + discussion with Richard Sabin

Sunday, June 7th – 11:00am - 4:00pm

AM: Presentation and Discussion with Christian Nyampeta

PM: Presentation and Discussion with Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil

Monday, June 8th – 11:00am - 4:00pm

AM/ PM: Participant individual work time

Tuesday, June 9th – 11:00am - 4:00pm

AM: Participant works-in-progress

PM: Participant works-in-progress

Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions:


Warm up, inspiring references, case study, eye training.


Presentation + discussion with lead instructor




Presentation and discussion with guest speaker + individual work-in-progress critique


Wrap Up!


Jessica Sarah Rinland is an artist filmmaker whose work explores the tactile processes within disciplines including archaeology, botany and marine biology, and the fluctuation of knowledge within these fields. Her most recent project Those That at a Distance Resemble Another meditates upon the endless tactility of museological and ecological conservation, inviting reflection upon forms of representation, replicas, and embodiments of various materials, disciplines, and institutions.

Rinland’s work has been screened and exhibited internationally at Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Rotterdam, Oberhausen, Cinema du Reel, Somerset House and Bloomberg New Contemporaries. She has won awards including Special Mention at Locarno Film Festival for her first Feature Film, Primer Premio at Bienale de Imagen en Movimiento, Arts + Science Award at Ann Arbor Film Festival, ICA’s Best Experimental Film at LSFF, and M.I.T’s Schnitzer prize for excellence in the arts. Residencies include Film Studies Center at Harvard University, Somerset House Studios, Flaherty Seminar Fellow, the MacDowell Colony and Ikusmira Berriak. She holds a BA (Honors) in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and a MSc in Arts, Culture and Technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Adam Khalil (Ojibway) is a filmmaker and artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. His practice attempts to subvert traditional forms of ethnography through humor, relation, and transgression. Khalil’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Sundance Film Festival, Walker Arts Center, Lincoln Center, and Whitney Museum of American Art, among other institutions. Khalil is the recipient of various fellowships and grants, including but not limited to: Sundance Art of Nonfiction, Sundance Institute Indigenous Film Opportunity Fellowship, UnionDocs Collaborative Fellowship, and Gates Millennium Scholarship. Khalil received his BA from Bard College.

Zack Khalil (Ojibway) is a filmmaker and artist from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, currently based in Brooklyn, NY. His work often explores an indigenous worldview and undermines traditional forms of historical authority through the excavation of alternative histories and the use of innovative documentary forms. He recently completed a B.A. at Bard College in the Film and Electronic Arts Department, and is a UnionDocs Collaborative Fellow and Gates Millennium Scholar. 

Christian Nyampeta is an artist working across art, design and theory. He graduated from the MA Industrial Design course at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2009.

Nyampeta’s research is concerned with issues of Living Together: individuality, conviviality and industriality. Ongoing projects centre around migratory and performative practices including writing and public lectures, convened under his research provisionally titled of “How To Live Together(?)”. Christian Nyampeta is an Mphil/PhD candidate at the Visual Cultures Department of Goldsmiths University of London.

Recent projects include Radius, a free form radio station in London Islington; the participation at the 5th Visual Cultures Public Forum at Goldsmiths; and the presentation of a paper at The Pleasure of the Look: Gazing and Surveillance, a one day symposium at the Royal College of Art in June 2012.

Amie Siegel works variously between film, photography, performance and installation. Recent solo exhibitions include the South London Gallery; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich; Audain Gallery, Simon Frasier University, Vancouver, B.C.; Kunstmuseum Stuttgart and the MAK, Vienna. The artist has participated in group exhibitions at Witte de With, Rotterdam; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Hayward Gallery, London; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; CCA Wattis, San Francisco; MoMA PS1; MAXXI Museum, Rome; Swiss Institute, New York; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Siegel’s work is in public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate Modern and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Her films have been screened at the Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. She has been a fellow of the DAAD Berliner-Künstlerprogramm and the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulton Fellow at The Film Study Center at Harvard University, a recipient of the ICA Boston’s Foster Prize, Sundance Institute and Creative Capital Awards. She lives and works in New York City.

Richard Sabin is Principal Curator of Mammals in the Department of Life Sciences at the Natural History Museum, London, where he has worked since 1992. With his work primarily focussed on the study of marine mammals using the Natural History Museum’s world-class research collections, Richard is collaborating with colleagues from around the world to generate new scientific data from old Museum specimens. Caring passionately for his curatorial work, Richard is part of a team of four curators who preserve and develop the NHM’s Mammals collection. Richard was also one of the leads for the public redisplay of ‘Hope’, the blue whale, spending time in the Pacific to study blue whale feeding behaviour, and translating his observations into the dramatic lunge-feeding pose Hope’s skeleton now displays in the NHM’s Hintze Hall. Richard was also scientific lead developer for the recent NHM temporary exhibition ‘Whales: Beneath the Surface’, which explored the origins, adaptations, behaviour and culture of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). He is committed to public engagement and as well as providing regular talks and tours, Richard works extensively with the media, regularly giving interviews and making television and radio programmes with the BBC (including Horizon: Dippy and the Whale, Natural Histories and Natural History Heroes). He is currently using Museum specimens to explore genetic diversity of the blue whale, historical contaminants and stress levels in baleen whales using wax earplugs and sperm whale population structure using teeth. He supports wildlife conservation, UK and international law enforcement through his endangered species identification work and is NHM advisor to the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme.

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Jun 5, 2020 at 11:00 am
Jun 9, 2020 at 4:00 pm
$285.00 – $295.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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