Please Testify – On Those Who Were (and Weren’t) There

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference presentation


The question of testifying lies at the heart of reality-based art such as documentary film and testimonial literature. The legacy of documentary film relies on the power of eye witness testimonies, often motivated by a victim motif and the presence of those who are able and willing to testify in habeas corpus. The disguised and anonymous testimonies are accepted as an exception to this rule. Other forms such as testimonial literature and documentary theatre accept the absence of the historical body of the ones who have seen, lived or suffered the history out of the necessity of the medium. What is the value of the testimonial strategies and gestures in this era, in which the act of confessing and creating public performances of the self - testimonies of everyday and mundane realities – has become a compulsive act in order to exist as part of the social fabric of virtual communities? Can the voices of those who were there convey meaning in a time crowded with the imagery of catastrophes and suffering of other realities, or has the quest to testify become an empty endeavor in societies saturated with the voices and faces of others?
Period28 Apr 201729 Apr 2017
Event titleInternational Conference on Artistic Research: Please spesify! Sharing Artistic Research Across Disciplines
Event typeConference
Conference number8
LocationHelsinki, FinlandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • testifying, witness, documentary film, testimonial