When independent filmmakers, activists, and amateurs document the struggle for rights, representation, and revolution, they instrumentalize images by advocating for a particular outcome. Ryan Watson calls this militant evidence.
In Radical Documentary and Global Crises, Watson centers the discussion on extreme conflict, such as the Iraq War, the occupation of Palestine, the war in Syria, mass incarceration in the United States, and child soldier conscription in the Congo. Under these conditions, artists and activists aspire to document, archive, witness, and testify. The result is a set of practices that turn documentary media toward a commitment to feature and privilege the media made by the people living through the terror. This footage is then combined with new digitally archived images, stories, and testimonials to impact specific social and political situations.
Radical Documentary and Global Crises re-orients definitions of what a documentary is, how it functions, how it circulates, and how its effect is measured, arguing that militant evidence has the power to expose, to amass, and to adjudicate.