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Feb 16, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Socially Engaged Documentary Art: Weekend Intensive

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Image from Nista vise nije isto / Nothing’s the same anymore.

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Social impact documentary and documentary art. Opposites?
We don’t think so.

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Dare to open your process to collaboration and engage with your audience more actively. This new weekend intensive wrestles with the thorny question of how to craft artistic representations that are formally inventive but also socially relevant and usefully engaged with the individuals or communities documented in the work.

Designed by UnionDocs and co-presented by The New School’s Documentary Media Studies program, the workshop exposes a small group of up to 14 participants to a range of creative practices and approaches to socially engaged documentary art.

Participants will learn from three talented professional practitioners, artists and filmmakers, using their past projects as key examples for discussion. Together we will explore key ideas that range from authorship to art activism to audience engagement and experience, and more. Through lecture, group discussions, short exercises and work-in-progress critique, participants will be encouraged to put this new knowledge into practice. Filmmaker and multimedia artist, Amir Husak (http://www.amirhusak.com) will lead the intensive, referencing his recent project Nista vise nije isto / Nothing’s the same anymore: The crisis, social change and public expressions of discontent in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Guest artists will include Trevor Tweeten and Alix Lambert.

This workshop is two full days, please only enroll if you can commit to the entire schedule. Expect about an hour of homework on Saturday night.
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When: Saturday, December 6th and Sunday, December 7th, 9:30am – 6:00pm

Where: UnionDocs, 322 Union Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11211

Who is eligible?

Open to everyone. We are looking for students as well as artists, producers, curators and educators interested in documentary art and media practice. Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Give us an idea of who you are and why you are coming. When you register you will be asked for a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience in social practice and a project idea (if you have one), plus a bio. There’s a spot for a link to a work sample and CV, which would also be nice, but is not required.

Please note: Participants *will not* be producing a piece during the week. Focus is on discussing contemporary practice and developing your project conceptually.


$285 for early registration by November 15, afterwards, $315.
Please note that the service charge is waived if payment is made via check.
Checks can be made out to UnionDocs and mailed to 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn NY 11211.

Technology Requirements:

In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a b-y-o-l, bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.The computer programs will all be available in the open-source realm.
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9:30-11:00am: General presentation + presentations by students
11:00am-1:00pm: presentation by Amir Husak +  discussion with students (Topic: SEA protocols and methods)
1:00pm: Lunch (on your own)
2:00-3:00pm: workshop
3:00-5:00pm: presentation by Alix Lambert +  discussion with students (Topic: Engaging with communities)
5:00-6:00pm workshop
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10:00am-11:00am:  workshop
11:00am-1:00pm: presentation byTrevor Tweeten + discussion with students (Topic: Aesthetics VS Ethics)
1:00pm: Lunch (on your own)
2:00-3:00pm: workshop
3:00pm-6:00pm: presentation by students + critiques + discussion
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Alix _ London Film FestivalAlix Lambert’s feature length documentary The Mark of Cain was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, received an honorable mention from the French Association of Journalism, and aired on Nightline. She went on to produce additional segments of Nightline as well as 7 segments for the PBS series LIFE 360. She has directed and produced two other feature length documentaries; Bayou Blue (made in collaboration with David McMahon) and Mentor. She has directed numerous shorts and music videos including You As You Were for the band Shearwater (Sub Pop) and Tiffany (POV). Lambert has written for a number of magazines including Stop Smiling, ArtForum, The LA Weekly, and Filmmaker Magazine, to name a few. She wrote Episode 6, season 3 of Deadwood: “A Rich Find” (for which she was nominated for a WGA award) and was a staff writer and associate producer on John From Cinicinnati. She was a writer on the video game Syndicate. As an artist Lambert has exhibited her work to international critical acclaim, showing in The Venice Biennale, The Museum of Modern Art, The Georges Pompidou Center, and the Kwangju Biennnale, to name a few. She is the author of four books: Mastering The Melon, The Silencing, Russian Prison Tattoos, and Crime. For theater, she has written and directed Crime, USA, which has been staged at Joe’s Pub in NYC, and the Cairns Festival in Australia and Crime, USA, Hartford, which was staged at Real Art Ways. Lambert co-founded and is co-artistic director of The Brooklyn International Theater Company (with Nelson George and Danny Simmons). She has conceived of and directed two original series for MOCAtv; Crime: The Animated Series and Ambiance Man. She recently produced a segment for This American Life, and is directing a new series for BET Network called B4 They Were Famous. She received grants from the NEA, NYFA and The Roberts Foundation. Lambert has received residencies and/or fellowships from: The MacDowell Colony, Headlands, The Studios of Key West, and The McColl Center. She is currently a visiting Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and The Booth Tarkington Writer in Residence at Butler University for the 2014-15 school year.

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[su_spacer size=”30″]Amir Husak is a filmmaker and multimedia artist based in Brooklyn, NY. He moved around (a lot) before taking up residence in New York in 2006. The cross-cultural experiences triggered his interest in media making as means of overcoming communication barriers and other borders, real or imagined. He is particularly interested in digital media representations of history and their impact on identity politics. Husak has worked across a variety of time-based and interactive media, and also recorded and performed as a musician. His works have been shown at such diverse places as South by Southwest (US), Stadtmuseum Graz (Austria), Sundance Film Festival (US), Sarajevo Film Festival (Bosnia & Herzegovina), P.O.V./PBS (US), Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (US), TV Cultura (Brazil), and Full Frame Film Festival (US). Husak teaches as part-time faculty in the Media Studies & Film department at The New School in New York. He currently focuses on producing interactive works that combine documentary, essay and experimental techniques. http://www.amirhusak.com/
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Nista vise nije isto / Nothing’s the same anymore: The crisis, social change and public expressions of discontent in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Nothing’s the same anymore is both the title and the operative statement of the exhibition that took place in Bihac, Bosnia-Herzegovina between July 31 and Aug 6, 2014. It featured expressions that capture the anger, elation, frustration and hope of the civic action that engulfs this small Southeast European nation since February. In conjunction with the exhibition, the organizers arranged city walks, public interventions, collaborative mapping programs, a citizen open microphone event, and a discussion panels to reflect on the current crisis and the emergent cultures of dissent. The documentation of this undertaking is archived and will be published in both digital (web) and hard-copy format (as a book), and subsequently used to produce protocols for further engagement.

It is important to note that the exhibition did not seek to call attention to works by professional artists responding to these events, but rather focused on the creative and interpretative powers of the collective and investigated social engagement through creative practices. As such, it presented a wide range of artifacts related to the crisis including photography, graffiti, video, social media postings, private journal entries, correspondence, and newspaper clippings.
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5.01Trevor Tweeten is a New York-based artist and cinematographer. He holds a BA in Film and Video Art and works at the crossroads between video, sculpture and installation. As a cinematographer, he has realized a number of feature films and video art projects, ranging from narrative to documentary to experimental. His work is often noted for its strong imagery and lyrical visual style and was recently presented at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), as part of a collaborative project with Richard Mosse for the Irish Pavilion. www.trevortweeten.com
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Workshop Policies:
Registration & Cancellation: To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via PayPal. After the registration deadline of December 3rd, 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.


Feb 16, 2017
7:08 pm

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