One of the most pressing problems of an open and democratic society in the digital age are disinformation and confusion caused by "fake news" quickly spreading via the internet. Disinformation is by no means a recent problem. The fight for domination of information channels in order to influence the public has always been an integral characteristic of any power struggle. Apart from speed, there are two aspects which are new today: the growing importance of images in relation to the written form, and the democratization of image processing via photoshop and other tools. The Humanities, in particular History, for ages self-sufficient with books, paper and pencils, must develop new and innovative methods of visual analysis and communication based on teamwork and technology.
This proposal suggests to expand the visual expertise of history by bringing together academic researchers with film professionals in a project which focuses on an area unnoticed so far: "Fake history" is created by authoritarian regimes and ideologies and taught to the youth in order to secure their legitimacy. At home, these children listen to their parents' and grandparents' stories, which more often than not differ vastly from what they hear at school. These stories often contain suppressed memories of mass violence. In the last few decades, video film has been used as an outlet to negotiate such memories in societies inflicted by state repression. Convinced of the profound relevance of these films and their directors' knowhow, this project aims at preparing the ground for a large research project which uses a comparative approach to analyze memories of state violence and reconciliation attempts from conflict zones at the European periphery communicated by film. This project is to be seconded by an intersectoral, international and interdisciplinary network collaborating at developing new methods and techniques of visual history narration and analysis.