Pablo Martínez-Zárate

This year, Mexican documentary filmmaker, media artist and scholar Pablo Martínez-Zárate will be Artist in Residence at the Netherlands Film Academy and its Research Group (Lectoraat).

Pablo’s residency expands his research as professor at Iberoamericana University of Mexico City (Ibero), dedicated to critical pedagogy and experimental media practice. During the last couple of years, as founder and head of IberoDocsLab (Laboratorio Iberoamericano de Documental), he’s been working on what he calls “a practical critique of communication” -- an effort to build a methodological framework for the implementation of artistic research projects and radical pedagogical experiences within the university.

As part of his sabbatical project at Ibero, Pablo is exploring different roles that artistic research and pedagogy can assume in a world shaken by multifaceted crises. What can art and art education offer us towards the reimagination of our horizons of possibility? Through the engagement with different artistic communities, as well as undertaking aesthetic and narrative explorations, Pablo is investigating this question by developing further on the concept of eccentric pedagogy, which he first proposed in his book Machines to Hear and Listen at the End of Time. Towards a Practical Critique of Communication (Universidad Iberoamericana, 2020).

The notion of eccentric pedagogy evokes a pedagogical movement that seeks to escape “the center”, even when this seems like an impossible endeavor. Inspired by different Latin American traditions, this pedagogical focus suggests a perennial need to draw away from power forces that may condition or coerce pedagogical experiences. The first and final site of questioning is always the participants’ own place of imagination and enunciation, resisting comfort zones and pushing the limits of expression. To achieve this, Pablo’s approach to eccentric pedagogy builds on critical methodologies, namely poetics of information, forensic imagination, media archaeology, expanded montage, and the aesthetics/ethics of the camera-body and the body-camera.

Pablo’s residency at the Film Academy will connect the research he’s undertaking with the Lectoraat’s interest in the pedagogy of artistic research. He will do this by engaging in conversations, workshops with both master and bachelor students, the production of a video-essay, and the conformation of an international study group that will get together during 2022 and 2023 to discuss the transformative potential of artistic research and education.  The work done between October 2022 and May 2023 will result in an exhibition and a possible joint publication with Ibero in Mexico City.

Pablo Martínez-Zárate is a media artist, documentary filmmaker and scholar living and working in Mexico City. His work explores the interconnection between memory, body and territory through experimental media practice. He is considered one of the pioneers and foremost exponents of web and interactive documentary in Mexico and Latin America. His films, interactive projects and installations have shown in important museums in Mexico and festivals such as DocsMX and Ambulante in Mexico City, MIDBO in Bogota, or IDFA in Amsterdam. He is professor at Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico City, where he founded, a platform for critical innovation in documentary practice. He has published two non-fiction books that seek to reflect on the power of art in a world in crisis: Machines to See and Hear on the Limit of Time. Towards a Practical Critique of Communication” (2020), and “The Powers of the Image: Body and Death in Audiovisual Culture” (2018). He’s been guest lecturer and speaker at places such as at University of Southern California, Emerson College Boston, Zurich University of the Arts and EICTV San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. He holds a masters degree in digital media by the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in Communications from Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico City.