Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin Documentary Forum 3

In the 1970s, Andrea Tonacci, an Italian filmmaker living in Brazil, traveled throughout North, Central, and South America conducting interviews with indigenous leaders. Each speaker addressed issues important at the time, such as the need to politicize the Indian struggle in the United States, the imperative to achieve a strategic unity among international indigenous communities, and the importance of participating in the United Nations. The recordings of these conversations describe an urgent moment in the history of indigenous activism in the Americas against imperial-colonial powers and institutions. They document the specificity of the struggles of individual groups while forging an internationalist solidarity that highlights concerns shared across disparate geographies.

For decades, these recordings were housed in Tonacci’s private archive and remained unseen by the public. For Berlin Documentary Forum 3, artists Maria Thereza Alves and Jimmie Durham, together with art historian Richard Hill, will reactivate this archive through a live presentation and contextualization of a selection of Tonacci’s materials. Durham, who appears in one of the recordings in his former capacity as director of the International Indian Treaty Council at the United Nations, will revisit his own activity as political organizer. Exhibited publicly for the first time since their making, these images and narratives will form the basis of a discussion on the history and future of indigenous activism.

Narrative and narration are inherently collective devices. Those build the foundations of states and institutions; they determine and resolve conflicts; and they stake out horizons of action and agency. Narratives produce the very facts and effects that they name, invent, or describe, but they also account for reality, and make realities and power accountable. Traditions of narrative realism in the arts (literature, film, theater) disrupt social and symbolic hierarchies and thus transform reality.

The Berlin Documentary Forum 3 focuses on the way in which narrative structures make sense of and produce social reality. The subject of debate is not primarily the content of stories, but rather what narration, as a practice, actually does in society, in other words, the mechanism of narration. In its third edition the biennial event will address the tradition of narrative realism, and present recent works that redefine both documentary and realism.

A four-day program of unique live presentations, screenings, and exhibitions will run in multiple forms and formats throughout the HKW building, with new projects by Maria Thereza Alves, Jimmie Durham and Richard Hill, Shaina Anand & Ashok Sukumaran, Michael Baers, Catherine David, Smadar Dreyfus, Harun Farocki, Sylvère Lotringer with Jesse Lerner, Sergio González Rodríguez and Sofia Canales, Rabih Mroué, Roee Rosen, Werner Ružička, Eran Schaerf with Pauline Boudry, Elfriede Jelinek, Eva Meyer, Uriel Orlow and Tim Zulauf, Cornelia Lund, Stefanie Schlüter, Eduardo Thomas & Koyo Yamashita, and others.

The complete program of Berlin Documentary Forum 3 will be published in March 2014.

The Berlin Documentary Forum is a program for the production and presentation of documentary works that testify to the medium’s inherent tensions and paradoxes. It was founded in 2010 in response to the growing importance of documentary forms in the arts in recent years, and to fill a gap in the institutional landscape by creating a platform exclusively devoted to critical engagement with “the documentary” as an art form.

Artistic Director: Hila Peleg

May 29–June 1, 2014
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin