Nonfiction, fictodocumentary film, and myth – a workshop with Elizabeth A. Povinelli

BEK, C. Sundts gate 55, 9th floor 29.09.2022 12.0030.09.2022 11.00


As part of the symposium “The Only Lasting Truth is Change” 2022, BEK invites creative practitioners to the workshop “Nonfiction, Fictodocumentary Film, and Myth: Bending Aesthetics to Critical Askesis in Settler Late Liberalism” led by anthropologist, activist and gender studies professor Elizabeth A. Povinelli.

If aesthetic practices have as their origins and ends the critical transformation of settler late liberalism, how do divisions of genre play in the mending or rending of the fabric of settler ontologies and epistemologies (or settler geontopower), as film and art move through institutional contexts?

During the two-day workshop, Povinelli will juxtapose two projects that she is currently working on: on the one hand, a film centered on a set of precolonial rock fish traps and their nonhuman ancestral relations in Emmi Karrabing lands and, on the other hand, «Alice Henry and the Collapse of the western Plateau», a graphic novel set in the debris fields of the future. Both projects engage what western epistemologies uncritically refer to as “the mythic.” Karrabing however differentiate the ancestrally present from merely “made-up” stories such as «Alice Henry». When viewed from this Karrabing point-of-view, western forms of creativity, while fun, are not comparable to the forms of truth held in stories about their lands. Creativity rests in the strategic ways in which these ancestrally present truths are able to maneuver around and against western epistemologies including such divisions as nonfiction, fictodocumentary film and myth. Workshop participants will be invited to think about their own work within this broad framework.

The workshop will consist of two sessions and take place at BEK
29 September 12:00-18:00 (with a lunch break),
30 September 09:00-11:00.

It is free and will be held in English. To register for the workshop series, please send an email to by 14 September. The places are limited.


Elizabeth A. Povinelli is Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University and a founding member of the Karrabing Film Collective. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Her writings, stretched across eight book and numerous essays and her work in the Karrabing Film Collective, seeks to critique late liberal accounts of Indigenous lifeworlds.


The Karrabing Film Collective are an Indigenous media group, located in the northwest coast of the Northern Territory, Australia. Filmmaking provides a means of self-organization and social analysis for the Karrabing. Screenings and publications allow the Karrabing to develop a local artistic languages and forms and allow audiences to understand new forms of collective Indigenous agency. Their medium is a form of survivance – a refusal to relinquish their country and a means of investigating contemporary social conditions of inequality. The films represent their lives, create bonds with their land, and intervene in global images of Indigeneity.


The Only Lasting Truth is Change is an expanded symposium investigating current and future configurations of art, technology, nature and power, and taking place in Bergen and online 9-13 November 2022. The detailed programme will be announced on 12 October at

The symposium is organised by BEK with support from Norsk kulturråd, Fritt Ord, Bergen kommune and Royal Norwegian Embassy in Beijing, and in cooperation with Northing, Hordaland kunstsenter, Ekko, Østre, Nuts And Bolts, and Entrée. Graphic design by Vera Gomes.