What is the limit in reality

The line between reality and conjecture

Stefan Koldehoff: And it continues with cultural networking of the genres. Attention, listen carefully now: "This project understands the documentary as the art of shaping and changing reality", say the makers of the second "Berlin Documentary Forum" in Berlin, in, on and around the House of World Cultures. Again: "... understands the documentary as the art of creating and changing reality." Therefore, this event tries to provide a cross-section of the artistic work of various genres with documentary possibilities or documentary claims. - Carsten Probst in Berlin, before we get to the content: What kind of genres are these and how can their diversity be shown under one roof?

Carsten Probst: That was also my central question when I talked to the artistic director Hila Peleg today. Visually, you don't actually see very much at first in the House of World Cultures. It's just a big forum, so you can imagine what will take place in the main auditorium. There is also an exhibition. But I think the main approach is that artists from a wide variety of genres, such as performance, film, literature, visual arts or even actors, will appear in this auditorium and have been cooperating with each other for a long time and the projects that they will then present here , in some cases have already emerged from various, long-term collaborations. So one actually has the approach of not necessarily just mixing up all the arts, but simply demonstrating different aspects of dealing with "reality" in the course of some kind of documentary work.

Koldehoff: Now there is a fine distinction in many areas: there is the non-fiction book and there is the fiction, there is the fiction film and there is the documentary film. It sounds a bit like you are deliberately trying to blur the boundaries, or am I getting it wrong?

Probst: Rather, it seems to be the case that one reflects on the fact that this has long been the case, that of course, not only through the digital media, the real impression is often no longer exactly what one could really have, but that it is somehow manipulated is. But it's about a lot more than manipulation. Hila Peleg says that if the documentary is actually an artistic strategy to reproduce something that actually happened, then, conversely, perhaps not only these realities can be shown in the documentary pieces, but they are embedded in a narrative concept, for example, in something where the medium itself, in which it is shown, also plays a role. And what does that mean? So where is this line between reality and fiction, so to speak? - When I look at exhibitions, I actually encounter it again and again that this is the core question of many, many artists in all possible areas, that this boundary between reality and fiction can actually no longer be precisely identified, that one is experimental in a certain way always have to sound out this boundary, and one would like to give these experiments, this experimental exploration of the boundary between reality and fiction, a space.

Koldehoff: In any case, that means that the documentary also loses a bit of the credibility that has been attributed to it up to now, doesn't it?

Probst: That's the way it is. So there are of course important functions of documentary photography, for example from crisis regions, and yet this photography, for example, repeatedly finds itself in conflict between the people involved if it only wants to show the "true". This can also be seen in the person of Hila Peleg, who comes from Israel, studied in London and is nevertheless interested in the imagery of the Middle East and speaks of the politics of representation there. That means: which photos, which films, which representations come from which side, what do they show above all, what do they hide. A photo or a film are ultimately always symbolic acts and the selection of what is shown must always be enriched by a context in which the whole is created. It is of course incredibly complex to construct a huge space for showing a simple photo, in which this may now be discussed. The artistic strategies are based on this: How can we actually expand the image space so that we understand more of each individual image? That happens in very different projects - I might mention two or three very briefly. For example, there is a series dedicated to the so-called videographer Johnny Esposito of the New York police, who now only operates the screens of the thousands of surveillance cameras in Manhattan and tries to reconstruct the course of the crime in some way using screen images, and these Things are then prepared in a lecture or workshop-like situation, for example, in order to make the dimension clear, where is the line between reality and conjecture.

Koldehoff: Carsten Probst - thank you very much - about the Berlin Documentary Forum.