Factually Comic. The Role of Humour in Documentaries of the Moving Image, Photography and Art

Time and again, humour has proven to be a strategy that can contribute to the popularity of documentary images. It can transport social criticism through subversion, but also undermine visual narrative patterns and their supposed evidence. At the same time, documentary in photography, films or in art that incite laughter are often accused of dealing disrespectfully with serious social concerns, of undermining the credibility of their arguments or of abusing the relationship of trust between the producer and the person portrayed. Since the 1990s, digitisation, globalisation and social media have created a media-technological environment that changed information flows and public discursive spaces. Today, debates about fake news and the knowledge of the manipulability of digital images reinforce long-standing doubts about visual documentary forms.

The conference takes a look at the relationship between visual humour and documentary concerns in history and today. Guests from theory and practice discuss functions and effects of humour in the documentary visual representation of the world, the genealogies of its expression as well as new narrative formats and their modes of distribution.

We would be delighted to receive your registration: sven.sonne-PleaseRemoveIncludingDashes-@uni-flensburg.de

The event is part of the working focus Real/Fake. Documentary Strategies of the newly established Flensburg Image Lab (in progress). It deals with the potentials and challenges of documentary strategies in film, photography and art between the claim of authenticity and fictionalisation.

Flyer - Factually Comic

Flyer Factually Comic

04/07/22 906 KB (PDF)

Flyer Factually Comic



You can join the meeting via Webex

To the Webex room

21st April 2022 - 7-8.45 pm CET

  • Welcome
    • Prof. Dr. Friederike Rückert (Europa-Universität Flensburg)
  • Introduction
    • Dr. Eva Pluhařová und Sven Sonne
  • Keynote Prof. Dr. Louis Kaplan (University of Toronto)
    • Return of the Depression’s Repressed: Reflections on Arthur Rothstein and FSA Photographic Irony

22nd April 2022

10-11.30 am CET

  • Dr. Liisi Laineste (Estonian Literary Museum, Tartu)
    • Art and humour in memes
  • Dr. Tobias Nanz (Europa-Universität Flensburg, Syddansk Universitet Odense)
    • "You can’t fight in here, this is the War Room!" Laughing away nuclear annihilation

12-1.00 pm

  • Screening: unusual Red cardigan
    • (John Smith, UK 2011, 12 min)
  • Gespräch (Deutsch)
    • Ludwig Sporrer (DOK.Fest München, Programmauswahl)

2.00-3.30 pm

  • Anna Stemmler (Hochschule Hannover)
    • Die Unvereinbarkeit genießen: Inkongruenz als Ressource im Spekulativen Dokumentarischen
  • Dr. Konstantin Jahn (Berlin)
    • Wessen Realität? Wessen Witz? Die Repräsentationskraft von Bild und Ton in frühen Zeichentrickfilmen und ("lustigen") Musikdokumentationen

4.00-5.30 pm

  • Dr. Thomas Helbig (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main)
    • The Cameraman (Keaton/Sedgwick, 1928). Mediale Rekursionen im Spiegel des Dokumentarischen
  • Dr. Willem Strank (Kiel)
    • Mockumentary Series - Die Refiktionalisierung von Authentizität in TV- und Online-Serien des 21. Jahrhunderts