Crafting the Real: Forms and Politics of the Documentary in the Interplay of Theatre, Music, Film and Digital Art, Curated by Kai Tuchmann, a Collaboration with the Goethe Institut Boston and Citizen TALES Commons

Through the act of crafting, artists transform real incidents into the forms of performance, composition, film or computational arts. The act of crafting records these real incidents, but at the same time it also manipulates them according to the inner logics of these aesthetic forms. This gathering assembles differently situated practices of crafting from different artistic disciplines and from across different geographical places. By so doing, it seeks to explore which protocols inform practices of crafting and which scenarios of learning (and unlearning) of craftsmanship artists (and their audiences) have to undergo. Who owns the standards of craftsmanship? How does crafting the real game with our understanding of past, present and future? How could (and should) one game with the very idea of craftsmanship itself? Why is the dilettante not automatically a revolutionary?

A two-day gathering connects the academic and artist communities of the Cambridge and Boston areas with international artists and scholars working with and/or on documentary arts. The methodology of this gathering is rooted in artistic practices: It will unpack the relationship between artistic form and real materials (e.g., biographies, historical documents, personal stories, etc.) through a series of staged readings, concerts and lecture performances. All presentations are conducted by artists or artist-scholars and are deeply informed by the application of either dramatic, cinematic, compositional or informatic craftsmanship. In extensive Q&As, as well as in panels following these artistic presentations, this two-day gathering will set out to understand, assemble, and critique the potentials, pitfalls and limits of craftsmanship.


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