Talk with Erika Balsom

Erika Balsom will look back on the last 30 years of documentary filmmaking and the relationship between documentary film and contemporary art to see how filmmakers have met challenges like this before. Is there anything to learn from the past to meet the challenge of distrust in the age of Trump?

Free entrance

Erika Balsom is a senior lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London. Her most recent book is An Oceanic Feeling: Cinema and the Sea. She is a frequent contributor to magazines such as Artforum, Frieze, and Sight and Sound.

Erika Balsom’s research interests include experimental documentary, the intersections of cinema and art, and histories of technological change. She is the co-editor of Documentary Across Disciplines (MIT Press, 2016), an anthology bringing together interventions at the vanguard of conceptualizing what documentary is, means, and can do. Exploring the many lives of documentary images, texts, and sounds – from the imperialist management of human life to redemptive encounters with the fragility of our world, from professional and disciplinary contexts to personal confrontations with mortality and alterity – this collection seeks to provide a capacious and interdisciplinary account of the vital field of practice that is documentary.

Her book After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation (Columbia University Press in 2017) explores how artists and filmmakers have conceived of and confronted the reproducibility of film and video. For some, the copy is a utopian promise to be exploited; for others, it is a dangerous threat to be suppressed. After Uniqueness explores this ambivalence of the copy and the accompanying issues of access, authenticity, and rarity through a comparative analysis of selected distribution models (such as the limited edition, digital bootlegging, and the 8mm reduction print) and case studies of key works that take up questions of image circulation.

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