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

The online conference "Factually Comic. The Role of Humour in Documentaries of the Moving Image, Photography and Art" took place on April 21 and 22, 2022. It was organized by the Department of Arts and Visual Media.

The conference took a look at the relationship between visual humour and documentary concerns in history and today. Guests from theory and practice discussed 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.

From the announcement:

"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 event was 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



Abstracts - Lectures

The conference was conceived and carried out by Prof. Dr. Friederike Rückert, Dr. Eva Pluhařová and Sven Sonne.

Speakers were:

Prof. Dr. Louis Kaplan (University of Toronto) - Keynote

  • Return of the Depression’s Repressed: Reflections on Arthur Rothstein and FSA Photographic Irony

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

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

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

Other items were:

Talk with Ludwig Sporrer (DOK.Fest München, Programmauswahl)

Film Screeningunusual Red cardigan (John Smith, UK 2011, 12 min)