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CFP: The Viral and Virtual Witness

Visible Evidence XVI Conference
August 13-17, 2009
USC School of Cinematic Arts
Los Angeles, CA

Panel Chairs: Sam Gregory, WITNESS; Roger Hallas, Syracuse University;
Patricia R. Zimmermann, Ithaca College
 
Panel Description:
The figuration and mobilization of the camera as witness to war, genocide,
political violence and historical traumas are imbedded in richly varied and
long traditions of international documentary practices in photography, film
and video.  Our multilayered,  endlessly fluid, contemporary media
ecology‹ranging from online art, performance, user-generated content sites,
open archive projects, social networking technologies, twitter, live
multimedia remix, distributed computing projects, flash animations, wikis,
blogs, cell phones, locative media, new cartography‹has both remediated and
renewed  these 19th and 20th century analog media in multiple and complex
ways that open up ethical, political, and aesthetic possibilities and
problems.  These new iterations of documentary witnessing are no longer
fixed images but are instead migratory, shape shifting, and adaptive.
Indeed, these new transmedial and cross border digital technologies have
emerged as central nodal points and engines of transformation in
transnational human rights.  For example, these interfaces have figured
centrally in creative economies and microfinance policies in the global
south for economic, social and cultural development after the devastations
of war, displacement, famine, and poverty.  This panel explores the impact
and imaginative possibilities of such documentary remediations and renewals
on forms of political witnessing, especially in countries of the global
south.  How do the virtual and the viral reconfigure the dynamics of
testimonial presence and address?  How do these new types of testimonial
intersubjectivity located in and mobilized by the logics of the database,
the algorithm and the network transform the proliferation of secondary
witnesses and the development of political communities and counterpublics?
How have these forms transformed our conceptualization of the political uses
of media for witnessing and activism?  Can locative media projects enable
new cognitive maps for the kinds of historical trauma that often resist
visualization, such as the structural violence of globalization or the
enormity of global economic collapse?
 
Send 400-word abstracts with brief bibliography and short bio by March 15,
2009 to Roger Hallas <[log in to unmask]>, Patricia Zimmermann
<[log in to unmask]> and Sam Gregory <[log in to unmask]>.


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