In addition to the memorialist impulse linked to Mieke Bal's saying of a reactualization of the past through actions carried out in the present, it would be necessary to highlight another group of creators who are witnessing a resurgence of the documentary in contemporary artistic practices, be they paintings, drawings, photographs, videos, texts or installations as well as in theoretical debates; and coinciding with a renewed interest in the real and a revaluation of the status of the observer, the reporter, the artist involved in all the domains of human life. The artist becomes a documentary filmmaker and seeks to represent the "other" that surrounds him. And although the modality of documentary art appeared in the 19th century as a result of the invention of photography and cinema, the novelty would lie in a bet on a type of art that, in its testimonial will close to an ethic of commitment, is opposed both to prevailing economic liberalism and to market art based on the spectacularisation of culture. This explains the emergence in recent art of photography and traditional documentary cinema thanks to a process of hybridisation with video, performance and conceptual art. Recent documentary works address a diversity and complexity of forms, ranging from photo essays and staged photos to archaeological collages.
The documentary image - both in photographic and film format - has experienced a remarkable boom in recent decades. Photographers and documentary filmmakers have begun to move on the boundaries between fact and fiction, considering the question of compromise to be fundamental. After noting the remarkable momentum of the documentary shift from Documenta 11 in Kassel (2002) and its progressive museification and even institutionalization, Adams asks himself the following questions: What is the meaning of documentary image today? Is it still possible - and desirable - to define the notion of documentary? Does documentary still play a social role? Is the art museum the place where documentary can develop or will it turn into its silent tomb?
It was in this sense in the framework of Documenta 11 that the relationship between art and documentation and, more specifically, the contemporary condition of documentary forms under the effect of the aporias of globalization, was presented in a clearer way. In the theoretical debates around Documenta11 Platform 2 held in India in 2002, Okwui Enwezor raised the relationship between document and truth on two levels: the legal and the artistic. In this sense, Platform 5 consolidated a class of works that used film and video to present a diversity of strategies that posed a metadiscourse that guaranteed the truth of our political, social and cultural life. Documenta 11 presented a broad series of what Tom Holert calls Wunderkammer or "documentary epiphany theatre" (i.e. the black box housed in the white cube of the galleries as a response to the projection and installation needs of filmmakers and video artists), the most paradigmatic examples of which were the installation by Steve McQueen Western Deep (2002), the compilation of documentary work by the Huit Facettes collective or the Group Amos television documentaries, examples in which Holert points to the notion of a "diagram of visibility" that feeds an off-centre way of seeing, allowing viewers freedom of movement and choice.Abundant in this sense, Boris Groys, in one of the essays included in the exhibition catalogue, points out how in the framework of modern biopolitics it is documentation, documentation bordering on the bureaucratic and technology derived from the digital reconfigurations of representation, which makes it possible to displace pure, contemplative and elevated art to a type of art that is itself an activity, the practice of art as such. An art that neither seeks to make present an artistic event of the past nor promises a future art.