Thursday, 1 October 2009

Aesthetic Journalism - a free preview

Film Studies For Free (always a fan of substantial freebie content in otherwise non-Open Access publications) thought some of its readers might be especially interested to know that they can currently preview for free the first 28 pages, or so, of the book embedded above (published by Intellect Books).

While Aesthetic Journalism doesn't touch at all on mainstream filmmaking, it does seem to be a strikingly novel study of 'the journalistic turn in the contemporary visual arts', one that may prove especially useful to those considering issues of 'documentary' and 'fiction' in relation to artists' film and video (FSFF is thinking of some of the work of such visual artists and filmmakers as Harun Farocki, Hito Steyerl, Clio Barnard, Adam Chodzco, and Alia Syed, to name but a few).

Here's the publishers' blurb to whet your appetite some more:
As the art world eagerly embraces a journalistic approach, Aesthetic Journalism explores why contemporary art exhibitions often consist of interviews, documentaries and reportage. This new mode of journalism is grasping more and more space in modern culture and Cramerotti probes the current merge of art with the sphere of investigative journalism. The attempt to map this field, here defined as ‘Aesthetic Journalism’, challenges, with clear language, the definitions of both art and journalism, and addresses a new mode of information from the point of view of the reader and viewer. The book explores how the production of truth has shifted from the domain of the news media to that of art and aestheticism. With examples and theories from within the contemporary art and journalistic-scape, the book questions the very foundations of journalism. Aesthetic Journalism suggests future developments of this new relationship between art and documentary journalism, offering itself as a useful tool to audiences, scholars, producers and critics alike.
The author Alfredo Cramerotti (1967) is a writer, curator and artist based in the UK. Among his recent research and curatorial activity: co-curator, Manifesta 8 European biennial of contemporary art (2009-2011); curator, QUAD Derby (2008-present), co-curator, CPS Chamber of Public Secrets (2004-present) and AGM Annual General Meeting (2003-present).

1 comment:

Alfredo Cramerotti said...

Dear Catherine

thanks for the post. Interesting link re aesthetic journalism in the context of film studies, and indeed the media collective i'm part of called CPS (Chamber of Public Secrets) which is one of the curatorial teams of next Manifesta 8, in its approach to curation encompasses (mass) media platforms such as cinema, television, radio and newspapers, alongside more traditional exhibition formats. In the context of Manifesta 8 we ask what is the media’s (including film) relationship to the construction of a local reality, how does it relate to ideas of truth, fact and history, and what are its possibilities for engaging with new audiences and existing local/global structures?

one of the theoretical bases that informs CPS’s approach to art and the media is precisely the notion of aesthetic journalism.

We are looking also into a process of progression from a (theoretical) notion of aesthetic journalism to a practical implementation of this concept, as could manifest itself in biennial models such as M8; some of the questions (indirectly) raised in the book are those concerned with the use of media platforms (including film and documentary):
• Why use and explore media and film platforms as an artist or curator?
• What is the relationship between (mass) media and art in the past and present, and what are the possible future scenarios?
• Can media platforms renegotiate a relationship between art and the locality in a biennial model?

In reference to this latter, recently I collaborated with artist Fay Nicolson in order to 'unpack' this is huge body of research (undertaken between 2004 and 2009) using a practical approach: Fay developed an ‘ABC of aesthetic journalism' which is published as a blog:
(this includes vast references to film and documentary studies)

We will present this to students at DAI - Dutch Art Institute (Enschede, Holland) for the "platform for (un)solicited research and advice" on 13 and 14th january 2010. I think it would be interesting if DAI students also engage in the discussion posting/commenting on FSFF blog...

alfredo :)

p.s. am i allowed to reference one of the filmmakers you mentioned in your post? this is what i received from hito steyerl a while ago:

From: Hito Steyerl
Sent: 30 October 2009 08:55
To: Alfredo Cramerotti
Subject: Re: testimonial re aesthetic journalism book[Scanned]

Hey Alfredo,

I just read your book, brilliant!
Very nice read and groundbreaking! There is no such book around as yet, so it´s really about time you did it!
All best Hito