The Need to Document


The book The Need to Document attempts to make out the backgrounds leading to this turn towards documentation, as well as the thematic focuses and concerns associated with this new documentary stance.
The interests of new documentary working methods in art remain reflectively close to the inherent laws of all known documentary channels, but additionally assert their own special features and logic.

Art that understands itself as politically motivated is at present quite frequently falling back on documentary forms of art. The claim usually leading to a documentary comprises criteria of objectivity and truthfulness, of re-presentation in a mimetic sense; the attempt is made to come as close as possible to reality, while omitting personal filters. The documentary method, which can make use of visual, textual, oral, or audio means, reveals in a reflective way the manner in which the documentary work originated and was produced. Documentary working methods in the field of art currently take on two opposite functions: On the one hand, they stand for a strategy of authenticity that is to ensure the artworks' claim to establish contact with the aural sphere of the social or political; on the other hand, they perceive their own means as socially constructed ones, as epistemological tools with which not the truth of politics but the "politics of truth" are to be changed.

German/English edition
Authors: Karin Gludovatz, Soren Grammel, Marina Grinić, et al.
Editors: Vít Havránek, Sabine Schaschl-Cooper, Bettina Steinbrügge
Translated by: Karl Hoffmann,Kathlee Hayes,Berit Francke,Anne Blonstein
Publisher: JRP Ringier/Kunsthaus Baselland / Halle für Kunst eV /
Distributor: JRP Ringier
City: Lüneburg
Year: 2005
Pages: 127
ISBN/ISSN: 978-3-90570
Price: 30 €

Collection Anthologies & Art Theory
Edited by Vít Havránek, Sabine Schaschl-Cooper, Bettina Steinbrügge

Authors Karin Gludovatz, Soren Grammel, Marina Grzinic, Gerald Raunig, Jean-Pierre Rehm, Georg Schöllhammer, Claudia Spinelli, Jan Verwoert

English/ German edition
June 2005
ISBN: 3-905701-30-8
280 pages, 170 x 235 mm, softcover
distribution JRP Ringier (

Published with the Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, the Halle für Neue Kunst, Lüneburg, and tranzit, Prague.