Geosocial Encounters: Ecologies of Documentary Research and Practice

Location TBD

Series of exploding images

Geosocial Encounters: Ecologies of Documentary Practice and Research

Geosocial Encounters connects documentary artists with researchers and scholar-filmmakers in the environmental humanities. The symposium highlights this entanglement of scholarly and artistic practices and their respective commitments to explicating geosocial phenomena amidst dramatic ecological and epistemological transformations.  What can video art, experimental documentary, and sensory ethnography teach us about the practice of critical urban, spatial, and environmental research?  Conversely, how are scholar-filmmakers utilizing audiovisual tools and contributing to these genres of film and video art? We see a number of key research questions and problematics, each exploring the mutual entanglement of time-based visual media and environmental processes, both built and “natural.” These questions include how computational infrastructures are integral to predicting the earth’s climate futures; how visual media map/trace/visualize capitalist accumulation; how artists interpret interspecies relations across varying spatio-temporal scales; and the capacity for land- and seascapes to record and transmit memory and culture.


The symposium is co-organized by Dr. Rahul Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Television and New Media Studies, and Dr. Ben Mendelsohn, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities. Combining film screenings with research talks, the symposium will lead to a special issue of the Journal of Visual Culture exploring reciprocal connections between environmental research and documentary arts. The event will begin with a film screening at Slought the evening of Thursday, September 19 and continue with a series of panels throughout the day on Friday, September 20.