We were five of 1,800 accredited guests out of a total of 47,500 festival visitors who could choose from 340 films from 57 countries in the program of DOK Leipzig, a festival for documentary and animation film, this time in its 61st year. There was a lot to see. Our Mini-Cluster “Following Objects” has for the past two semesters concerned itself with the theoretical and methodological questions of how to read objects in films, and across diverse medial forms.
During our four days in Leipzig we witnessed how Werner Herzog’s shoe traveled from his foot via a pot of hot broth into his stomach. We followed animals into their afterlife as taxidermied objects, put on display in vitrines and on pedestals. Patterns of the fabrics of a mother’s clothes came alive in her son’s animated film. We were guided through the halls of New York’s Natural History Museum, past a multitude of uncanny dioramas. Bundles of artificial hair were brushed vigorously to be woven into the braids of the waiting customers. And then there were the seemingly endless rows of velvety-plushy seats in Leipzig’s Cineplex, the awkwardly sized plastic tags which hold your accreditation pass and dangle from a band around your neck, and the sad Ikea furniture in the Airbnb apartment. A film festival like this is not a bad place for a group that is interested in the life of objects.