Symposium accompanying the exhibition “Fictions are useful”.

Beginning on August 19, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

The photograph and the video recording have been two important media used in conceptual and performance art since the 1970s. Since the beginning of the 1990s, this has been followed by various waves of adaptation of documentary techniques into the art world, which have also been integrated into the mainstream with Dokumentas X and 11.

As a result, documentary strategies are the important hallmarks of contemporary art today. A critical media-theoretical and artistic examination of this state of affairs has existed for about twenty years.

Accompanying the artistic exchange project as well as the concluding exhibition “Fictions are Useful”, the one-day symposium will shed light on the role of photography and video as media for artistic staging and documentation practices. In addition to lectures on the social role of photographic images, two films will be shown.

Admission to the symposium is free of charge. Everybody is welcome!


11:00 -11:30 Uhr
Welcome / Lecture 1
Antje Seeger, Dresden 
Masse als Beweis

11:45 -12:15 Uhr 

Lecture 2 (Videovia Skype)
P. C. Johannes, Universität Kassel
Bilderbeweise vor Gericht
bis 12:45 Uhr Questionround

12:45 -13:30 Uhr Break

13:30 – 14:00 Uhr
Lecture 3
Agneta Jilek, Leipzig
Unschärfe als emanzipatorische Praxis
bis 14:30 Uhr Questionsround

14:30 – 15:15 Uhr
Lecture 4
Alina Cyranek, Leipzig 
Zur Recherche Ihres Films FADING
bis 15:45 Uhr Questionround

15:45 – 16:45 Uhr
Interview (Videoscreening)
Pieces of the film „Dokumentarisch Arbeiten“ (2013)
Christoph Hübner talking to filmmaker Thomas Heise

16:45 -17:00 Uhr Pause

17:00-17:45 Uhr
Lecture 5 (Videoscreening)
Dr. Hito Steyerl, Berlin
Photography and Political Agency
‘The Photographic Universe II’ an der School of Art, Media and Technology New York (2013)

18:00-19:45 Uhr
Filmscreening 1: A Crime against Art (Hila Peleg, 2008)

19:45 – 20:00 Uhr Pause

20:00– 22.45 Uhr
Screening 2: HyperNormalisation (Adam Curtis, 2016)

ab 23:00 Uhr Goodbye


Alina Cyranek completed a double master’s degree in media arts at Bauhau University Weimar and Tongji University Shanghai with a focus on documentary and experimental film. Her multiple award-winning works are shown at international film festivals and as part of art exhibitions. Alina Cyranek realizes films in which themes such as transience or renewal are interwoven with new media and social change in a contemporary context. In doing so, she makes use of different media formats and design elements. Alina lives and works in Leipzig.

Agneta Jilek studied art history and journalism in Leipzig and Italy until 2010. Until 2017 she did her PhD at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig on the representation of labor in state-sponsored auteur photography of the 1980s in the GDR. Her research focuses on the history of German-German photography since 1945, and from 2011-2016 Agneta was a Research Fellow at the Graduate School Global and Area Studies at the University of Leipzig. Agneta Jilek writes as a freelance author for institutions in the field of art and culture. Agneta Jilek lives and works in Leipzig.

Paul Christopher Johannes studies law, computer science and legal informatics. After working as a lawyer, he has been a research associate at the Institute for Business Law at the University of Kassel since 2010. Among other things, he has published papers on the legal framework for self-protection of fundamental rights in the digital world and on archiving electronic research data and documentation in a way that preserves the value of evidence. Paul Christopher Johannes lives and works in Kassel.

Antje Seeger studied landscape architecture and fine arts. In 2012 she graduated from the Intermedia class of Prof. Alba D’Urbano at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig. Her artistic works address the interactions between social values and everyday conventions of action. In her works, the boundaries between the media of video, performance, photography, text, installation and intervention overlap. Her work has been shown in international exhibitions. Antje Seeger lives and works in Dresden.

Prof. Dr. Hito Steyerl is a filmmaker, author and professor of experimental film and video at the Berlin University of the Arts. Her special research interests are media, technology and the dissemination of images. In her texts, performances, and essayistic documentaries, Hito Steyerl also explores postcolonial critique and feminist representational logic. In doing so, she always works at the intersection of visual art and film as well as theory and practice. Her works have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others.


A Crime Against Art (directed by Hila Peleg, 2018), engl. OV
“A Crime Against Art” is a film in six chapters based on the trial staged at an art fair in Madrid in February 2007. The trial, inspired by the mock trials organized by Andre Breton in the 1920′s and 30′s, playfully raised a number of polemical issues in the world of contemporary art: collusion with the ‘new bourgeoisie’, instrumentalization of art and its institutions, the future possibility of artistic agency and other pertinent topics. The trial begins with the assumption that a crime has been committed, yet its nature and evidence are allusive and no victims have come forward. The testimonies and cross-examinations become an attempt by the Judge (Jan Verwoert) to unravel the nature of the mysterious “crime against art”. Set as a television courtroom drama and filmed by four camera crews, the six-chapter serial presents a condensed two-and-a-half hour version of the trial.

Fading (Alina Cyranek, 2014)
Shortly before the end of the war, on April 18, 1945, when the Americans liberated Germany from the Nazis, photographer Robert Capa took several photographs in a Leipzig house that were published in LIFE Magazine and became world famous under the title “The Last Dead Man of the War.” The experimental short film FADING turns this day into an experiential encounter in a kind of “audio film” by reconstructing Capa’s path through the dilapidated house using his contact prints and many original sounds, thus capturing the last minutes in the life of U.S. soldier Raymond J. Bowman before he was killed by a German sniper and Capa took his photo.

HyperNormalisation (Adam Curtis 2016), engl. OV
The Film ‘HyperNormalisation’ consists of nine chapters and is a documentary, in which Curtis argues that since the 1970s, governments, financiers, and technological utopians have given up on the complex “real world” and built a simple “fake world” that is run by corporations and kept stable by politicians. The film makes extensive use of footage from the BBC archives and includes material shot specially for the documentary. It also features clips of theatrical films such as Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975), Dr. Strangelove (1964), Stalker (1979), Tron (1982), Deep Impact (1998), Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998), Armageddon (1998), The Rock (1996), and Carrie (1976), as well as various online videos.


Contact, Programm und Organisation: Antje Seeger, 0162-7299972,


The project is supported by: