This research lab aims to explore emergent modes of nonfiction media practice and theory. From their origins, nonfiction media epistemologies have been inextricably linked to violent modalities of colonialism, racial violence, and imperialist capitalism. Moreover, modern “operational” regimes of surveillance, capture, and documentation are closely connected to historical practices of colonial ethnographic and forensic documentary work. Many of our current theoretical approaches to documentary media build—directly or obliquely—on these histories. Debates on documentary truth, realism, power, and ethics are still indelibly marked by documentary’s violent origins and legacies. The Emerging Nonfiction Lab aims to both critically examine these violent foundations of the documentary form, whilst also shifting our focus towards emerging modes of counter-theory and practice. Here, the emergent is taken up not as an apolitical or prescriptive framework, but rather as a methodology that allows for both a critical breaking away from documentary’s violent, colonial, and operational histories, as well as a space of emergence to explore counter-hegemonic, experimental, and activist modes of nonfiction media practice. At the same time, we will also remain attentive to how new media technologies are increasingly weaponised for modes of surveillance, prediction, and control. Through a range of invited talks, workshops, and seminars, the Emerging Nonfiction Lab aims to explore how such emergent modes of emergent documentary practice— interruptive, reparative, sousveillant, futurist, fabulative, hypertextual expanded, interactive, virtual, crowd-sourced, counter-forensic—upend and subvert the violent underpinnings of the documentary, whilst also pushing for alternative modes of future praxis.


Culture Capture: Crimes Against Reality, New Red Order, 2020