The School of Speculative Documentary (associated with KASK & Conservatorium / School of Arts Gent, Belgium), FOMU and FW:Books have been collaborating for the publication of Trigger nr. 2 on the issue of UNCERTAINTY. This annually printed thematical issue appears in the first week of December 2020. It harbors contributions by, amongst others, Liz Orton, Petra Van Brabandt, T.J. Demos, Duncan Forbes, Max Pinckers, Georges Senga, Hoda Afshar, Fred Ritchin and Wilco Versteeg.
What if we allow speculation, messiness and befoggedness to set the conditions for documentary gestures and practices? What if we start using speculation as a tool, how can we re-imagine past, present and future?
Contemporary documentary practice has a crucial role to play within art, mainstream media and activism. It constitutes less a genre, and more ‘a critical method’ in its own right. How can we rethink the documentary attitude conceptually, formally and methodologically? UNCERTAINTY! What if this unfinished business of the documentary, creates even more possibilities for speculation and imagination? How can we make decentralized, deformatted and polycentric documentaries, even if we assume that we will never fully succeed?
Trigger #2 explores the potentials, the problems and paradoxes of an openly speculative documentary.
A 'messy' mix of essays and artist contributions delivers imaginative and thoughtful insights in several Belgian and international 'uncertain' photographic practices and archives (Zineb Sedira, Saddie Choua, Barbara Probst, Marc De Blieck, Kate Morrell, Regine Petersen, Sophy Rickett, Allan Sekula and Lisette Model) and makes multiple bridges to collective practices which deal with speculation, recreation and radical futurisms (De Cleene De Cleene, Black Quantum Futurism, the Otolith Group, Robin Vanbesien).
As stated in the editorial:
'Without claiming to be exhaustive, this issue gathers proposals that look for the document’s new uncertain potentials: documentary tales as life-giving fictions, the anti-documentary as care aesthetics, the dialectical documentary, the documentary as the creative practice of chronopolitics, the ‘dirty pictures’ documentary, the documentary as allegory, the documentary as pre-enactment and more. We have opted not to strive for a stringent classification of these proposals reflected in a neat table of contents but rather just to stay true to the polycentricity of its design. ‘We are not points on a line; rather, we are the centre of circles’, John Berger – a master of recognising the real value of the fictive in our time – scribbled near the end of his life in Confabulations (2016).'