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After the news. Postmedia documentaries

In a world awash with media representations, every news item is subject to the laws of entertainment. The first of them being that every event is ephemeral by definition. All news items disappear from the spotlight when they cease to be new. And they cease to be new because another news item appears which is considered equally or more important; or because the public—educated to constantly demand new things, in a kind of permanent reality zapping—no longer pays them so much attention. When the news item takes up the front page, the cameras preside over the situation. The event is what is in the spotlight and within the range of the microphones. Everyone adopts the pose of an actor from the entertainment society when the cameras zoom in, either in government action or in protest, in war or peace. 

However, one day—quite soon, as a rule—the cameras and microphones go away. And we find ourselves after the news item. Then what? The truth? Reality? The exhibition investigates this terrain. In an attempt to investigate further the events which had already been killed off by the entertainment society (such as the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk) or temporarily hidden by other events (the Palestinian conflict during the Irak war). We endeavoured to find the hidden and revealing face of a number of seemingly unimportant events (such as a carnival in the Basque Country) or to restore the meaningof ephemeral news items which are related to the sphere of singular experience (such as a story of visual aphasia).

From the major news item to personal experience, which will only ever be featured in the papers as a trivial news item, there is always an afterwards. And in this afterwards, people no longer feel engaged by the spectacle, but confronted with everyday reality—which always feels stale when it re-emerges, this time without the cameras. These moments—the long shadow cast by the events—are sometimes brief, some are longer, such as Rwanda where the people killed in the genocide are still being counted and are still being found. And it happened nine years ago. It is like a restoration project of reality. Undoubtedly carried out in order to bring this reality back to the media space in the form of an image. This time enriched by the passage of time, by the reconstructed experience, by reflection at a distance. In other words, more complex, more nuanced, less obvious than when, at the height of its topicality, it echoes around the world. 

We are, therefore, dealing with a project geared to reconstructing the imaginary and expanding the perspective of the event. An in-depth project which consists of pulling the thread of the event in the knowledge that if we undo a line of weft, we will find another. At the end of the day, one doesn’t need to be Nietzschean to know that everything is interpretation, interpretation of interpretation.

The exhibitors range from well-known documentary makers such as Peter Forgács and The Labyrinth Project, Chantal Akerman, Alan Berliner, Johan van der Keuken and Joaquin Jordá, to young artists who have adopted the documentary register as an extension of their aesthetic practices, such as Asier Mendizábal and Iñaki Garmendía, Ursula Biemann and Angela Sanders, Vahida Ramujkic and Laia Sadurní. Photography is represented by Hannah Collins, Allan Sekula and Bruno Serralongue, as is work that is more journalistic in origin, with Stanley Greene and Patrice Barrat. Since “After the News” examines the definition of documentary practice, it also includes the testimony of the writer G. W. Sebald, whose novels stand out for their productive ambiguity between fiction and documentary.

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In this project, events that have been news distance themselves from the drama with which the mass media imbue them.

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