Conference: “There is no such thing as documentary”

Organised by: NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
  • Date:
    26, 27 Feb 2021
  • Time:
    26 Feb: 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    27 Feb: 1:30pm - 7:00pm
  • Venue:
    Online (Zoom)
    Online (Zoom)Online (Zoom)


As the concluding programme of the exhibition Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films., this four-part conference brings together scholars and practitioners across filmic, anthropological and curatorial disciplines, addressing notions of multivocality, performativity, and truth in fiction, through Trinh's practice as a filmmaker and theorist.

As Trinh wrote: "There is no such thing as documentary...The words will not ring true." Both a response and homage to Trinh's provocation, and at once a close but also an opening, the conference extends multiple threads of inquiry beyond the ontological frames presented in Trinh's films, to further explore the theoretical parallels and proximities between arrangement and composition, territorialisation and deterritorisalisation, that underscore Trinh's cinematic works.


Register here for the Zoom link and password.

Co-organised by Dr Erika Balsom (Canada/United Kingdom), Prof Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore), Dr Marc Glöde (Germany/Singapore), and Dr Ella Raidel (Austria/Singapore)


Programme Schedule

Friday, 26 February 2021, 4.00 – 7.00pm SGT

Session 1: Speaking Nearby chaired by Dr Erika Balsom (Canada/United Kingdom), Reader, Film Studies, KCL

4.00 – 4.15pm Welcome address
4.15 – 4.30pm Introduction
4.30 – 5.15pm Keynote Lecture by Dr Erika Balsom
5.15 – 5.45pm Break
5.45 – 6.15pm Presentation by Prof Chris Berry (United Kingdom), Professor, Film Studies, KCL
6.15 – 6.45pm Presentation by Dr Nicolas Helm-Grovas (Spain/United Kingdom), Lecturer, Film Studies, KCL
6.45 – 7.00pm Response by Dr Daniel Mann (Israel/United Kingdom), Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, KCL

Saturday, 27 February 2021, 1.30 – 7.00pm SGT

1.30 – 2.00pm Introduction / Recap

Session 2: Filmic Interferences chaired by Dr Marc Glöde (Germany/Singapore), Assistant Professor, NTU ADM

2.00 – 2.15pm Introduction
2.15 – 2.45pm Presentation by Tan Pin Pin (Singapore), film director
2.45 – 3.15pm Presentation by Nguyen Trinh Thi (Vietnam), artist and filmmaker
3.15 – 3.30pm Response by Dr David Teh (Australia/Singapore), Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, NUS
3.30 – 3.45pm Break

Session 3: Performing the Documents chaired by Dr Ella Raidel (Austria/Singapore), Assistant Professor, NTU ADM and WKWSCI

3.45 – 4.00pm Introduction
4.00 – 4.30pm Presentation by Dr Philippa Lovatt (Scotland), Lecturer, Film Studies, University of St Andrews
4.30 – 5.00pm Presentation by Rosalia Namsai Engchuan (Germany/Thailand), anthropologist and filmmaker
5.00 – 5.15pm Response by Silke Schmickl (Germany/Singapore), Curator, National Gallery Singapore
5.15 – 5.30pm Break

Session 4: Reverberations—Spatialising the Temporal, the Sonic, and the Pictorial chaired by Prof Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore), Professor, NTU ADM and Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore

5.30 – 5.45pm Introduction
5.45 – 6.15pm Presentation by Larys Frogier (France/China), Director, Rockbund Art Museum (RAM)
6.15 – 6.45pm Presentation by Iris Dressler (Germany), Co-director, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart (WKV)
6.45 – 7.00pm Response by Dr Karin Oen (United States/Singapore), Deputy Director, NTU CCA Singapore

Presented in collaboration with Kings' College London (KCL), United Kingdom

Supported by Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore

Image: Trinh T. Minh-ha., What About China? (Part I of II, 2020–21), film still. Courtesy the artist.

Conference: “There is no such thing as documentary”