Storytellers' Institute : Space and Place in Documentary
May 30 - June 30, 2017
Different spaces in Ansel Adams' photography: Manzanar Relocation
Center, California. From the Library of Congress photography collection
APPLICATION DUE: Fellow Applications - January 6, 2017 | Skidmore Applications - January 6, 2016 (EXTENDED)
The inaugural Storytellers’ Institute in 2015 explored whose stories get told, delving into family and storytelling. In 2016, the Institute considered what constitutes documentary, asking practitioners to consider the lines between fact and fiction.
”People think that geography is about capitals, land forms, and so on. But it is also
about place —
its emotional tone, social meaning, and generative potential.”
— Yi-Fu Tuan, Professor Emeritus of Geography, U-W Madison
Individuals, communities and societies wage military and ideological wars for control over physical, virtual and conceptual spaces, of geographical and human bodies. They set limits and mark boundaries, promoting or limiting access. In the process, they marginalize individuals, groups and populations, constructing a lived landscape of inclusion and exclusion. Voluntary and forced movements across space—of people, identities, cultures, information, money and material — shape human and physical geographies.
”Place, in whatever guise, is like space and time, a social construct.
This is the baseline proposition from which I start.
The only interesting question that can then be asked is:
by what social processes is place constructed?"
― David Harvey
Documentary interprets, navigates and represents unmediated spaces and constructed places, evoking them as claustrophobic and expansive, natural and built, accessible and forbidden, privileged and marginalized, permeable and bounded. From the expansive beauty of Yosemite to the constrained lives of Japanese Americans in the Manzanar Relocation Center photographed by Ansel Adams, in Jacques Cousteau's underwater explorations in film, Wim Wenders' The Salt of the Earth (film, 2014) juxtaposes Sebastião Salgado's photography of global workplaces, places of exodus and deprivation brought on by international conflicts with footage of Salgado reclaiming his family's Brazilian acreage for native flora and fauna. The Pulse of the Planet radio series places listeners in natural environments, while Radio Ambulante's stories highlight Latin American soundscapes. Installation artists from Medea Electronique's Soundscapes Landscapes tour of an Athens neighborhood (accessible only on site) to Michelle Angelina Ortiz' work with the separated families of Mexicans in Philadelphia map and layer story and history onto urban places, introducing visitors and residents to peoples, issues, and activities often invisible to passersby.
MDOCS welcomes applications from evidence-based storytellers who transport audiences to, and then guide them through, places they have never been or places they experience anew through the eyes, ears, and work of others; who map and remap paths taken and avoided, borders made and transgressed; who refocus our gaze or open our ears to provide new understanding and insights into familiar spaces; creating spaces and places for reflection, engagement and inspiration.