Academic Session 11: UEA 2015

41st Annual Conference & Bookfair
Sainsbury Institute for Art, UEA, Norwich
9 – 11 April 2015

Documenting in the Sixties - Politics, techniques and archives

Session Convenors:

Gyewon Kim, Georgia State University,
Jessica Santone, University of Kentucky,

The 1960s were a transitional period in the use of documenting as a seemingly effective, transparent, and literal means of showing lived reality. Artists working in media commonly used for the storage or communication of ‘information’ (photography, printed text, film) challenged the neutrality of these types in terms of formal attributes or function. As a collective activity, ‘documenting’ had the potential to bring visibility to heterogeneous or marginalised lived experiences and to resist hegemonic narratives and styles – especially when those documents challenged expectations for referential images or minimised authors’ subjectivity. In questioning the discursive power of the ‘document’, artists experimented with fictional, personal, or stylistic aspects. Finally, assembled and organised ‘documentation’ – whether of lived experience or artistic activity – shows the interlinked dynamics of: the material dimensions of photography and printed texts, patterns of affect or political anxiety, and what was conceived as present reality. Our session addresses the uses and reformulations of ‘documenting’, the document’, and ‘documentation’ in the long 1960s across a range of national or subcultural contexts and artistic media, and with particular focus on the political motivations and implications of those forms.

Henning Engelke (Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany) Underground Ethnographies: Observation, nostalgia and politics in John Marshall’s ‘Sequences’ and Jonas Mekas’s ‘Diary Films’

Jessica Santone (University of Kentucky) Documentation as Group Activity: Networking Fluxus performances

Gyewon Kim (Georgia State University) Reframing ‘Hokkaido Photography’: Politics, style, and documentation in 1960s Japan

Marco Pasqualini de Andrade (Art Institute of Federal University of Uberlandia, Brazil) Clandestine Actions: Documents as vestiges in Cildo Meireles’ and Artur Barrio’s works during late 1960s

Christian Berger (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany) ‘Absolute Documents’? The use and interpretation of texts, photographs, and their combination in Douglas Huebler’s Location and Duration Pieces

Samantha Epps (Norwich University of the Arts) The Page in Conceptual Art: Presentation, possession and circulation

Roundtable discussion Documents, Documentation, and Documentary Forms