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Collecting Visible Evidence

1999

Jane M. Gaines and Michael Renov, editors

Collecting Visible Evidence

A redefinition of the nature of documentary film.

In documentary studies, the old distinctions between fiction and nonfiction no longer apply, as contemporary film and video artists produce works that defy classification. Coming together to make sense of these developments, the contributors to this book effectively redefine documentary studies.

Contributors: Jenny Cool, Elizabeth Cowie, Faye Ginsburg, Tom Gunning, Eithne Johnson, Alexandra Juhasz, Neil Lerner, Akira Mizuta Lippit, Nancy Lutkehaus, James M. Moran, Vivian Sobchack, Linda Williams, Mark Williams, and Mark J. P. Wolf.

In relation to what sense of reality do we pursue inquiries, construct arguments, make documentaries, or imagine fictions? On what basis do we understand narrative and nonnarrative, fiction and nonfiction? These essays provide a jolt to those approaches to film that have privileged fiction films as the most revealing or the only forms of narrative. The authors of this volume return to the scene of fabrication to conduct a rigorous search for evidence. What kind of evidence, for what purpose? Answers vary, but they all compel us to reassess basic assumptions about film form, its claims on reality, and its power to move us.

Bill Nichols, director of the graduate program in cinema studies, San Francisco State University

In documentary studies, the old distinctions between fiction and nonfiction no longer apply, as contemporary film and video artists produce works that defy classification. Coming together to make sense of these developments, the contributors to this book effectively redefine documentary studies. They trace the documentary impulse in the early detective camera, in the reenactment of battle scenes from World War I, and in the telecast of the Nevada A-bomb test in 1952. Other topics include experiments in virtual reality; the crisis of representation in anthropology; and video art and documentary work that challenge the asymmetry of the postcolonial us/them divide.

Contributors: Jenny Cool; Elizabeth Cowie, U of Kent; Faye Ginsburg, New York U; Tom Gunning, U of Chicago; Eithne Johnson; Alexandra Juhasz, Pitzer College; Neil Lerner, Davidson College; Akira Mizuta Lippit, San Francisco State U; Nancy Lutkehaus, USC; James M. Moran; Vivian Sobchack, UCLA; Linda Williams, U of California, Berkeley; Mark Williams, Dartmouth College; Mark J. P. Wolf, Concordia U, Wisconsin.

Collecting Visible Evidence

Jane M. Gaines is associate professor of literature and English and director of the Program in Film and Video at Duke University.

Michael Renov is professor of critical studies in the School of Cinema-Television, University of Southern California.

Collecting Visible Evidence

Collecting Visible Evidence is a fascinating and far-reaching collection of essays.

Bomb

In relation to what sense of reality do we pursue inquiries, construct arguments, make documentaries, or imagine fictions? On what basis do we understand narrative and nonnarrative, fiction and nonfiction? These essays provide a jolt to those approaches to film that have privileged fiction films as the most revealing or the only forms of narrative. The authors of this volume return to the scene of fabrication to conduct a rigorous search for evidence. What kind of evidence, for what purpose? Answers vary, but they all compel us to reassess basic assumptions about film form, its claims on reality, and its power to move us.

Bill Nichols, director of the graduate program in cinema studies, San Francisco State University

A keenly assembled book which provides a multifaceted approach to reviewing the way evidence is conceived and perceived. Collecting Visible Evidence provides its readers with a thorough survey of the contemporary issues and debates in documentary studies.

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