Stefanie Baumann

    Doubting Vision: on the potential of political filmmaking today

    Thursday 28 September 2023 — 14:00>18:00

    Over the past few decades, traditional archival structures have come under widespread criticism for their claims to provide authoritative access to reliable documents and for their inherent Eurocentric, universalist, or colonial biases. In response, artistic, militant and academic projects have not only questioned and sub-verted the political implications of supposedly neutral archives, but have also proposed alternative ways of conceiving documents and collecting them. Turning to anonymous, private or subaltern sources, or producing their own audiovisual material, such projects provide access to oppressed voices, minor narratives and counter-versions of established histories, challenging established representations, understandings and frameworks. Moreover, widespread access to technology means that the production of audiovisual documents is no longer restricted to professionals. Documents can be recorded, edited, reappropriated, manipulated and shared online by anyone with a smartphone at hand. Viewers are thus now also potential producers, aware of the technical possibilities to fabricate, falsify and distort images. This proliferation of potential documents with an uncertain status raises both an emancipatory potential and a pervasive sense of doubt. In this workshop, we will reflect on the dialectic between the emancipatory potential and the pervasive ambiguity generated by the omnipresence of potential documents of uncertain status, and discuss different ways of problematising, using or challenging them through artistic means.

    The Viewing Booth » by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz will be discussed intensely during the workshop

    The Viewing Booth, by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz

    The Viewing Booth recounts a unique encounter between a filmmaker and a viewer — exploring the way meaning is attributed to non-fiction images in today’s day and age. In a lab-like location, Maia Levy, a young Jewish American woman, watches videos portraying life in the occupied West Bank, while verbalizing her thoughts and feelings in real time. Maia is an enthusiastic supporter of Israel, and the images in the videos, depicting Palestinian life under Israeli military rule, contradict some of her deep-seated beliefs. Empathy, anger, embarrassment, innate biases, and healthy curiosity — all play out before our eyes as we watch her watch the images created by the Occupation. As Maia navigates and negotiates the images, which threaten her worldview, she also reflects on the way she sees them. Her candid and immediate reactions form a one-of-a-kind cinematic testimony to the psychology of the viewer in the digital era.


    Date: Thursday 28 September 2023, 14:00—18:00
    Location: GC Ten Weyngaert, Bondgenotenstraat 54, 1190 Brussels
    Language: English
    Price: Free, but registration needed
    To book your place, please send an email to

    About Stefanie Baumann

    Stefanie Baumann is a researcher at CineLab/IFILNOVA (New University of Lisbon), where she coordinates the working group “Thinking Documentary Film” in 2019. She obtained her PhD in philosophy in 2013, and has taught philosophy, aesthetics and contemporary art theory at University Paris VIII (Paris, 2007-2010), Ashkal Alwan (Beirut, 2013), ALBA – the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts/ University of Balamand (Beirut, 2012-2015) and the Maumaus Study Program (Lisbon, since 2016). In the summer semester of 2023, she was interim professor (Vertretungsprofessorin) in philosophy at the Academy of Fine Arts Dresden. She has worked with the artist Esther Shalev-Gerz as personal assistant from 2005 to 2010, and collaborated closely with video artists such as Marie Voignier and Mounira Al Solh.