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CFP: The Viral and Virtual Witness (Revised deadline)

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

www.visibleevidence.org

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 22, 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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Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu