Critical Writing Index

Video's Migrant Geography: Ursula Biemann's Sahara Chronicle

by T.J. Demos

The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis, 2013, pp. 201-220

London: Duke University Press, 2013

This chapter explores the way in which Sahara Chronicle (2006-7) interweaves documentary strategies with fiction to challenge the notion of objective truth often associated with documentary media. Structured as a heterogenous assemblage, the work "allows the viewer to enter at any point and create his or her linkages between the diverse elements" (207).

The book charts an array of alternative approaches in contemporary photography and film/video work. These include heterogenous assemblage of mixed-media platforms and sources, a lack of narrative arc or a clear organizing principle, multi-perspectival voices, fragmentations, ellipses, lacunae, and/or an opaque representation of the subject. These techniques are often juxtaposed with the conventional style of authoritative documentary reportage, blending fact and fiction to promote disorientation and uncertainty. Such hybrid structures allow for shifts in meanings and connections, opening up the transformative capacity of representation.

ITEM 2013.133 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

Sahara ChronicleUrsula Biemann