Skip to Main Content

Instructional Videos: Didactic Documentary for the Postmodern Era

Zach Feldman, contractor, department of film programs, National Gallery of Art The notion of didactic art has been both lauded by the ancient Greeks as a powerful educational technique and dismissed by 19th-century Romantics as overburdened with facticity and morality. In recent decades, however, didactic films and videos have been utilized, in both satire and earnest, within art spaces as a subversive tool to acutely observe and diagnose the conditions of contemporary life. In this lecture, as part of the Works in Progress series, on September 9, 2019, Zach Feldman considers this tool in select nonfiction instructional videos by filmmakers and artists Harun Farocki and Hito Steyerl.