A BASTARD FORM

Documentary is a bastard form: a collage at best. Documentaries, which reach the status of art, are extremely rare. Documentaries are generally dogmatic and they falsify. Every edit is a lie. How can this accumulation of lies amount to historical truth? Perhaps it comes down to intention. The people working on all of the videos (as Bob Dylan said of Kurt Cobain, [the guy]) “had a heart”. They all cared passionately about their specific histories and their specific historical accuracies, to the point (to this chancer filmmaker) of pedanticism. Nevertheless, I bow down to this. The obsessive quality of historians is a positive and necessary pathology. In this, they are like artists, obsessive about truth. This may mean; dates, a correct name, a correct chronology, a need to express their history within a wholly false prevailing view. Historians and their obsessions are now more necessary than ever.[1] What with the ever present class-war over historyand neo-liberal modes of monopoly capitalism forever narrowing the expectation of what it is acceptable to sing about, write about, laugh about, focus upon. Yet history channels proliferate, argues the capitalist, yeh, but what is on them…war and biographies of Al Capone? I wonder also if we forced the issue a little. If video were overwhelmingly present tense then with patience our efforts would slowly become historical documents. By making historical documents in the present we stand accused of honouring, bowing down to, prostrating ourselves before the past and missing something that might have been at the end of our noses.