Future Experiments from the Past: Third Cinema and Artistic Research from Below

Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, 17, pp. 38-63.

DOI: 10.33178/alpha.17.03

This article examines possible articulations of artistic praxis and research in relation to social conflict and political struggle. Taking some of the guiding principles of Third Cinema, which we will consider here both a film strategy and an epistemic project “from below”, our aim is to provide elements for discussion to the current debates on art-as-research. Third Cinema, despite its specificities and differences with current times, provided a dialectical and dialogistic approach to artwork, which was conceived as an open realm for criticism, discussion, and struggle, inscribed within a radical political agenda. This article aims at recovering the importance of this critical movement in the arts and uses it as a source of inspiration to propose a series of insights on artistic research, in relation to contemporary interests in collaborative, long-term projects and the third wave of institutional critique. We seek to challenge commonsensical notions around four fundamental axes—experimentation; temporality; public sphere; and institutionalism—by confronting dominant views on these topics through what could be called a Third Cinema politics of artistic research from below—namely, from the perspective of those who embrace research as an intrinsic part of the creative and emancipatory potential of the arts.

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