Research Lab

Over the course of two years, Documenting Complexity has published a range of blogs and articles on the intersection of documentary, activism and technology. Read all of them here.

'This body was just a body: Sky Hopinka’s Dislocation Blues'

Sky Hopinka’s Dislocation Blues is a short film that gestures toward the ethical implications of constructing a collective identity. Recorded over the course of three week long visits during the 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protests, the short film is a self-proclaimed…

Collected volume 'In Whose Name?'

Experimental and visual ethnographers are increasingly drawn to co-creation and collaborative authorship. By imagining intersectional feminist and decolonial approaches as alternatives for fieldwork, ethnographers resist the indifference…

Review: Expanded Visions: A New Anthropology of the Moving Image

In Expanded Visions: A New Anthropology of the Moving Image, Arnd Schneider explores the generative potential of experimental film as and through anthropology. Highlighting the significance of meaning-making, affect and formal experimentation in the social sciences…

Five times activism, documentary and technology

While a documentary was once by definition a film on a screen, recorded with a video camera, filmmakers can nowadays use a wide range of technologies. From drones, action cams and 24/7 live streams to security cameras. The result is no longer always a linear video…

Research based artist Michael Rockefeller came, observed and never returned

Dutch article | Kusumaryati examines systems of oppression in anthropological cinema. For decades, anthropological cinema mainly served one purpose: the transfer of knowledge. Western, white anthropologists traveled the world to gain knowledge about non-Western cultures and societies… 

Mixed-media documentaries and the re-use of archive material

Dutch article | Social media, smartphones and free editing programs make it relatively easy to create and share media. But what happens to all that material? Who makes use of it – and in what way? And how can you experiment with this incredible amount of image and sound? 

Creating the new: the technology in mixed media documentaries

Dutch article | More and more film festivals are showing VR installations, AI work, interactive documentaries and 3D renders. What does this say about the state of documentary film? Why do documentary makers rely on these technologies?

The invisible creators behind mixed media documentaries

Dutch article | Just like in major fiction films, the directors of documentaries get the most attention. But is this right? Don’t documentaries exist by the grace of collaborations? In this second article on mixed-media documentaries, we discuss the fluid role of makers and audiences… 

Mixed media documentaries for social change

Dutch article | We see a large number of innovations in the documentary genre, from new technologies and interactive formats to a different role for subject and audience. In this series of articles, Sander Hölsgens uses examples to explore how documentaries can contribute to a polyphonic reflection of our complex world…