The Experimental Side Of Documentary Practice

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Introduction This project aims to further develop the experimental side of documentary practice, with special focus on ethnography. It will take the form of an experimental documentary juxtaposing enactments of the past with depictions of the present, through a case study focusing on North-Eastern Romanian villages, engaging villagers into re-enactments of traditional life from the past as method of documenting their self reflection on the transition to the present. The setting of the re-enactments is based on the Romanian ballad The Little Ewe and more specifically on the journey described in the Mihail Sadoveanu novel inspired by it, The Hatchet (1930). These two texts are widely known in Romania having become compulsory reading material in schools as one of the four fundamental myths of Romanians and a monographic representation of the Romanian village and its customs respectively. The main themes of the two stories are transhumance and death, both highlighting the traditions and the way of life of shepherding communities. Furthering the reasons for this choice, these texts have become engrained into the collective consciousness of Romanian people as to become an unconscious memory. Its relevance within ethnographic practice is given by the documentation of the transition process from traditional to modernity within the Romanian village, as well as its universal exploration of humans facing change and their ways to adapt to it. I will interrogate documentary practices

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