16 Tons
17 Tons: Memory as practice
17 Tons: Memory as practice
2012 Architects & Refunc
Aesthetics of Pollution
Alexandrov, Grigori
Almarcegui, Lara
Amalrik, Leonid, Dmitri Babichenko & ...
Amorales, Carlos
Anthoine, Roger
Apóstol, Alexander
Art Salon | Artist Talk ...
Artwork Entry
Ashington Group, The
Auden, W. H. [Wystan Hugh]
Becher, Bernd & Hilla
Beehive Design Collective
Ben Cain: About his research
Ben Cain: Audience and Interaction
Ben Cain: Physical aspects of ...
Bevierre, Olivier
Biscotti, Rossella
Bissill, George
Boltanski, Christian
Boom, Irma & Johan Pijnappel
Brandt, Bill
Britten, Benjamin
Broodthaers, Marcel
Buckle, Janet
Burtynsky, Edward
Cain, Ben
Campbell, Duncan
Carboniferous Landscapes
Cinematek Brussels
Claire Fontaine
Claus, Emile
Coal Face, 1935
Cobb, Francis William
Contemporary Art
Cornish, Norman
Crises of Capitalism
Cuauhtémoc Media (Chief Curator Manifesta ...
Cvijanovic, Nemanja
Cycles of Realism
Dark Matter
Dawn Ades: Coal as a ...
Daykin, Gilbert
de Loutherbourg, Philippe Jacques
Deller, Jeremy
Demuth, Charles
Douard, Cécile
Duchamp, Marcel
Durán, Manuel
Edgar Hermans about the Heritage ...
Embroidered Sayings
Epics of Redundancy
Ernst, Max
European Civilisation
Furlan, Tomaž
Garden Cities
Geers, Kendell
Geerts, Paul
Goldin+ Senneby
Granata, Rocco
Gronbach, Eva
Grubic, Igor
Guillaumin, Armand
Habex, Jan
Hair, Thomas Harrison
Hammons, David
Hanging the Manifesta 9 Flag
Harrison, Tony
Harskamp, Nicoline van
Hedwig Fijen: The idea behind ...
Herman, Josef
Heslop, Robert
Hüner, Emre
Industrial Revolution
Interview: Ante Timmermans
Ivens, Joris & Henri Storck
Izquierdo, Jota
Jafri, Maryam
Jitrik, Magdalena
Kaliski, Kevin
Karikis, Mikhail & Uriel Orlow
Kessels, Willy
Kilbourn, Oliver
Klutsis, Gustav
Konijnenberg, Willem Adriaan van
Konrad, Aglaia
Kozakis, Nicolas & Raoul Vaneigem
Kuai Shen
Landscape: From the Picturesque to ...
Landscape: From the Picturesque to ...
Leck, Bart van der
Lieshout, Erik van
Linde Hermans: Scenography of Manifesta ...
Livrets des ouvriers mineurs du ...
Long, Richard
Luce, Maximilien
Luque, Manuel
Maciá, Oswaldo
Manifesta 9
Manifesta Journal 13: Conversation between ...
Martin, John
Masereel, Frans
Mass-Observation movement
Matthys, Michaël
McCullin, Don
McGuinness, Tom
Meunier, Constantin
Michaël Matthys about La Ville ...
Mieke Mels (Curatorial Assistant) about ...
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig
Mining Machine
Monko, Marge
Moore, Henry
Munby, Arthur
Museum of the Miner’s House, ...
Newcomen Colliery Winding Engine
News from the Graveyard: On ...
Ni, Haifeng
Nostalgia and Its Discontents
Origins of Manifesta
Pabst, Georg Wilhelm
Paulus de Châtelet, Pierre
Perlee Parker, Henry
Poetics of Restructuring
Portrait of Spyros Roumeliotis and ...
Prayer Mats
Preparation of the Building
Promo Video
Raqs Media Collective
Rittase, William
Robinson, William Heath
Rocco Granata about 'Marina'
Saint Barbara
Schlingelhoff, Bea
Selander, Lina
Sime, Sidney
Smithson, Robert
Smoke, Colours and Loans
Soi, Praneet
Soviet propaganda
Stella, Joseph
Sutherland, Graham Vivien
The Age of Coal: An ...
The Legacy of Manifesta
The Mine Depot, Waterschei
Timmermans, Ante
Tomaszewski, Yan
Torfs, Ana
Underground as Hell
Underground, Models of the
Vanden Eynde, Maarten
Vandersteen, Willy
Vega Macotela, José Antonio
Venet, Bernar
Vercheval, Georges
Vermeir, Katleen & Ronny Heiremans
VIDEO: Kuai Shen
Video: manifesta 9 symposium on ...
VIDEO: Marge Monko - Nora's ...
VIDEO: Raqs Media Collective - ...
Video: Sounds from Beneath - ...
VIDEO:Oswaldo Maciá - Martinete
Visible Solutions, LLC
Waterschei Planning Archive
Woods, Paolo
Zola, Émile
Zwartberg drama

EN / nl


‘Docu-modernism’ identifies an antinomy or paradox within modernism, based on the assumption that realist modes, and specifically documentary reportage, are antithetical to the central characteristics of modernism proper. It is a destabilising, yet false, oxymoron combining terms that, although apparently contradictory, are part of the history and set of negotiations (political-ideological, methodological and stylistic) that characterised incipient modernism. From the late 1920s to the end of the 1930s, documentary film freely traversed avant-garde, reportage and propagandistic fields creating hybrid forms that confound simplistic definition. Documentary also provided a fertile ground for ideological dispute in the interwar years. Marxist filmmakers, such as Paul Rotha, who believed that documentary should deal clearly with man’s place within society, criticised modes of documentary that embraced ‘romantic’ anthropology over urgent social issues, suffered from their concentration on ‘surface’ formalism, or from their tendency towards sentimentalism. John Grierson coined the term ‘documentary’ in relation to film but it was his more ambiguous call for a “creative use of actuality” and his montage film about herring fishing, Drifters, (1929) that marks him out as the progenitor of a British-based, though international, docu-modernism. Grierson was a Scott’s Fabian, liberal by background, versed in Carlyles’s and Ruskin’s social values, Kant’s idealist aesthetics, as well as the Marxist critique of formalism and Lenin’s writings and views on film as education and propaganda. He sought to establish a national cinema founded on Fabian values of social purpose and education, yet Drifters was located firmly within a context of experimental film, and was first screened by the Film Society in 1929 alongside Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925), a film that was banned from public screening in Britain at that time, and Cavalcanti’s ‘city-symphony’, Rein que les heures (1926). Grierson headed a series of state-funded initiatives that were the formative context for early documentary film in Britain, for which he brought together a group of avant-garde creative talents, including important émigrés. Among them was Alberto Cavalcanti, a Brazilian modernist embedded within continental realist circles, whose short film Coal Face (1935), through a collective of creative effort, fused Modernist poetry, music, art and filmmaking to create a rhythmic-poetic collage delivering the message of the national importance of the coal industry. As such it reveals the legacy of the ‘symphonic’ approach of continental realism that viewed the documentary as art and yet it also answered some of the problems of style over serious social engagement raised by the Marxist left. G. W. Pabst’s socialist Kameradschaft (Comradeship) (1931) focused instead on a feature-length scripted and staged narrative of trans-national worker’s solidarity across the German-French border. Translating the events of a real-life, catastrophic coal mining disaster in 1906 to the years following the Great War, and incorporating flashbacks to the trenches, Pabst reinforces the political and thematic imperatives of the film but destabilises its status as a record of simple historical fact. Instead it embodies a more complex model for the documentary in its redeployment of recent history in the present. Such films established a practice and technique of combining verité representation with historical-temporal manipulation towards ideological ends. TB