The Documentary Strategies Thread revolves around modes of (counter)documenting and their media-technological conditions—both as an object of study and a mode of documentary-led research. We are interested in the infrastructures of (counter)documenting as well as in the technologies that are developed to sift through, filter, register, highlight, cancel, block, and erase data and information, and memory.

The practice of documenting has long been intricately entangled with modernization projects and developmental processes that materialize national teleologies and project into supposedly richer futures. Documents—whether film, photo, diagram or text-based—have been instrumental within governmental and corporate ways of seeing, categorizing and managing environments and societies. Yet, counter to its claims to transparency, documentation actively cuts, divides, and keeps relations between geographies and layers of politics separate and obfuscated.

New approaches to documenting mobilize techniques of sensing, observing, recording, and witnessing to capture what’s omitted in and through official documentation, such as environmental harm and atrocities committed on communities and activists that resist large-scale infrastructural and (neo)colonial projects. They produce memory objects and evidentiary archives, to fill in the blanks and challenge official documentation, mainstreamed visions, and (neo)colonial cartographies.

We are interested in the media-technological conditions of (counter)documenting: what aesthetics they promote and which politics they restrict; which formats they privilege and what languages they constrict; which codes they support and what ignorances they abet.

We further experiment with the documentary form as a critical method to research burgeoning extractive frontiers, infrastructural transformations, and territorial reconfigurations in the wake of renewable energy demands and geopolitical shifts that trouble the global north-south divide. In search of an aesthetic vocabulary for planetary transformations, we work with film, sound, and text, frequenting archives, policy meetings, and construction sites to get a grip on global projects in the moment and scenes in which they unfold.