Immediations: The Humanitarian Impulse in Documentary
Conclusion: The Gift of Documentary
The concluding chapter reflects on the stakes of giving the camera to the other by meditating on the concepts of the gift and documentary. It relates Marcel Mauss’s discussion of the mutual dispossession involved in gift exchange to Thomas Keenan’s discussion of human rights claims. The author argues that the gesture of giving the camera to the other operates, like the gift, as an ideological hailing that nonetheless includes the possibility that the gift will return in an unexpected form that challenges the normative forms of relationality that it is intended to cement. The chapter concludes by reflecting on documentary’s openness to contingency as a gift using Dai Vaughan’s discussion of the Lumière Brothers’ film A Boat Leaving Harbor (1895).