Regenerative Documentary: Posthuman Art in the Context of the Philippine Drug War
Regenerative documentary is generated by a composite unity that comprises the living system of resistance in the Philippines. It takes into account the contingent, illustrated by artist groups—Respond and Break the Silence over the Killings (RESBAK), Sandata, and Gantala Press—that converged with the living system of resistance where and when human rights was curtailed by an environment of impunity, systemic poverty, social inequality, and injustice. The purpose of regenerative documentary is to identify and make known that a system of resistance exists and it is living. By harnessing the ideas of narrative, emergence, and ethicality espoused by autopoiesis and critical posthumanism, regenerative documentary situates its expediency within the context of the Philippine human rights violations under the Duterte regime as a transformative critical posthuman art.
Fragments in the Archive: The Khmer Rouge Years
Cambodia’s cinema history is strange and surprising. Popular films from France and the United States circulated through the Kingdom during the French colonial period. The 1950s and 60s saw extensive local production with the enthusiastic support of King Norodom Sihanouk, himself a passionate film-maker, but the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979) destroyed most of the existing material, including hundreds of feature films, raw footage and countless other ephemeral documents. In 2006, after representations by film-maker Rithy Panh and others, the Bophana Audio-Visual Research Centre was established in Phnom Penh to comb the world for every fragment of film and audio material relating to Cambodia’s history in order to reproduce it in an accessible digitized form. The archival preservation and duplication has continued apace. However the ethical use of these materials presents challenges. Contemporary documentary makers and digital enthusiasts frequently use fragmentary footage to support their political or historical interpretations without attribution or context. This paper discusses a propaganda film featuring the former King Norodom Sihanouk and his wife Monique shot in 1973 in collaboration with the Communist Chinese, the North Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge. Short scenes and extracts from this film circulate online and appear in many documentaries. The “archive effect” of this footage raises questions about the source and circulation of archival images with significant historical and political consequences.