Problematising reality
encounters between art, cinema and philosophy

Partnership between
IFILNOVA (CineLab) / Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Goethe-Institut Portugal and Maumaus / Lumiar Cité and in collaboration with Apordoc / Doc's Kingdom.

Films, especially those considered documentaries, can offer a particularly challenging appeal to our thoughts about reality. While their indexical link to the reality they address grants the images and sounds a specific credibility, the position of the artist, her aesthetic, thematic and political choices, her subjective understanding and artistic sensibility, determine how this reality is mediated. While the mediation part is often omitted in mass-media (and images are thus presented, ideologically, as objective representations of factual reality), critical filmic artworks include mediation in order to address it productively through their very aesthetic constitution, thereby raising a wide range of questions which are also central to philosophical thinking. To reflect on the relationship between the factual world and its subjective appropriation, questioning hegemonic claims to objectivity and authority and problematizing the inherent contradictions of society are immanently philosophical issues. Artistic documentary films and philosophical thinking, notwithstanding their very different forms, figures and aims, thus share the concern of addressing the complex relation between the empirical world and its mediation through perception, signs and concepts. What does it mean to approach reality critically through an artistic form? How do filmic constellations think and make us think, instead of generating an impression of obviousness and immediacy? How can a specific truth-content be disclosed through montage, rhythm or an arrangement in constellation? What is the agency of a particular artistic form in relation to its content? How can political, ethical or epistemological problems be addressed through an intelligibility of the sensitive? And how can philosophical thinking help us to seize its impact and unfold its different strata of meaning?

These encounters between film-artists and philosophers of international renown, which will occur once every month, aim to confront these and other questions, starting every time from a particular film, which will be screened in its entirety. In these encounters, film and conceptual thinking are considered on a par: instead of privileging one field over the other, these interventions focus on the very moments where film and philosophy enter into a productive dialogue. Thus, the point is not to elaborate general theories on film as a medium or aesthetic positions on art in general, nor is it to use films as an illustration of broader concepts of reality, rather, priority will be given to the singularity of a filmic moment embedding conceptual thought, or the singularity of a conceptual moment triggering an artistic form.