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Eindhoven Caucus

Petra Bauer

In my work I explore the possibilities of conceptual documentary. I examine how public stories which exist in and about our society are constructed, presented and represented in massmedia. I always start with an private event and then I investigate how it relates and connects with general occurrences in society. It is specifically the relation between the private event and public history that I am interested in.

For example on the 10th of January 2003 I read an article in Dagens Nyheter about a 13 year-old Muslim girl in Sweden that had married and had a child with an 18 year-old man from Lebanon. The article on the girl - "Married Man Found Guilty of Having Sex with His Wife" - gave a fragmentary picture of what had happened, but the event, as it was described in the article, can be incorporated into a contemporary public discussion about culture, Islam, and general social values. It "fits," so to speak, into the discussion that is currently taking place in nearly every public sphere in Sweden. However, I wondered whose voice and story we heard in the article. The girl's? The prosecutor's? The social welfare secretary's? The imam's? Or just the journalist's? I decided to make a film where I wanted to try to give a more complex picture of events than that which was presented in the article.

As part of my artistic practice I have co-initiated a network, Produktionsenheten, for artists working with critical analysis of history writing and how narratives and investigative journalism are used for political ends. Produktionsenheten includes: Petra Bauer, Nanna Debois-Buhl, Kajsa Dahlberg, Sara Jordenö, Conny Karlsson, Runo Lagomarsino and Ditte Lyngkaer Pedersen.

In January 2007 I also co-initiated Filmklubben (the Filmclub) which is an informal public meeting place for discussions about the conditions and possibilities for critical filmmaking. Each month we screen films or invite an aritst, filmmaker or theorician to reflect on what role the critical film plays in today's society and discuss how history and contemporary society is being represented in film?