Chris Kennedy

Watching the Detectives

36 minutes, 16mm, color, silent, 2017

Immediately after the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, amateur detectives took to the Internet chat rooms to try and find the culprits. Users on reddit, 4-chan and other gathering spots poured over photographs uploaded to the sites, looking for any detail that might point to the guilt of potential suspects. Using texts and jpegs culled from these investigations, Watching the Detectives narrates the process of crowd sourcing culpability.

“…a shivery meditation on the poisonous social media speculation that flourished in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.” – Norm Wilner, NOW Toronto, April 12, 2018.

A Backgrounder:
On Watching the Detectives”, Non-Fiction Journal 06: Inscriptions, Edited by Henrietta Williams and Oliver Wright, 2024

Analysis & Reviews:
Forensickness – a video essay by Chloé Galibert-Laîné
Erika Balsom (Art Forum, paywalled)
Gema Ramadhan Bastari
Conor Bateman
Damián Bender (in Spanish)
Ela Bittencourt
Adam Cook
Jordan Cronk (interview)
Film Scalpel
Gala Henández López, “La Pratique du Remploi Face á Internet”, Captures d’écran, ed. Nicolas Bras et Frédéric-pierre Saget, Éditions Yellow Now: 2022. pgs. 41-57 (in French)
Lucas Granero (in Spanish)
Mike Hoolboom
Max Houghton, “Sight and Insight – Documentary Photography Expanded”, The Photographers Gallery, London, January 25-March 15 2022
Paul Landriau (in French)
Ben Nicholson (Sight & Sound)
Afrian Purnama (in Indonesian)
Ramón Rey (in Spanish)
José Sarmiento Hinojosa
Shelby Shaw (Brooklyn Rail)
Michael Sicinski
Dorottya Szalay (in Hungarian)

Arsenal – Institut for Film and Video Art
Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre
Light Cone

Special Jury Mention, Experimenta 10, Bengaluru, India, 2017
Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, 2018
Short Film Award, Competencia Vanguardia y Género, Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente, 2018

Selected Screenings:
The World Viewed: The Films of Chris Kennedy”, curated by Benjamin Taylor, Visions Montreal, August 16, 2017
Arkipel International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, Jakarta, Indonesia, August 19-26, 2017
Total Coverage: Chris Kennedy and Rebecca Baron“, Pleasure Dome, October 14, 2017
Spacial Corrections“, curated by Janelle VanderKelen & Takahiro Suzuki, aCinema, Milwaukee WI, Nov 17, 2017
Experimenta 10, Bengaluru, India, November 28 – December 3, 2017
“Post-Truth”, curated by Sazkia Noor Anggraini, Festival Film Dokumenter, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, December 9-15, 2017
“Forum Expanded”, Berlinale, February 15-25, 2018
Ann Arbor Film Festival, March 20-25, 2018
Images Festival, Toronto, April 12-20, 2018
Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente, April 11-22, 2018
CFMDC Market Screening, Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany, May 3-8, 2018
Memory Jackets“, curated by John Edmond, Queensland Film Festival at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, May 17, 2018
“Ways to See”, S8 Mostra de Cinema Periférico, May 25-June 3, 2018
Sheffield Doc/Fest, UK, June 7-12, 2018
FIDMarseille, France, July 10-16, 2018
The Art House, Columbia College Chicago, October 4, 2018
Doclisboa, Portugal, October 18-28, 2018
First Look Film Festival, Museum of the Moving Image, New York, NY, January 11-21, 2019
“”, curated by Anna Bogutskaya, British Film Institute, London, UK, April 26, 2019
“A Self-Induced Hallucination + Watching the Detectives”, Static Vision, Sydney, Australia, April 30, 2019
The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA, May 17, 2019
“MDFF Selects: Classical Period preceded by Watching the Detectives”, Toronto, ON Canada, June 13, 2019
Light Field Film Festival, San Francisco, March 13-15, 2020 (cancelled due to COVID-19)
“True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists’ Films”, curated by Lukas Brasiskis, e-flux, online, February 9 – April 19, 2021
“Oversight Machines”, curated by Sophie Hamacher, part of “Monitor: Surveillance, Data and the New Panoptic”, ICA Maine, October 8, 2021
“An Evening with Filmmaker Chris Kennedy”, Cinema Studies Institute, Innis Town Hall, November 14, 2022
“LIT: Ah sh*t, here we go again…” La Casa Encendida, Madrid, May. 4-22, 2023
Wuhan Photography Art Centre, Wuhan, China, January 2024