The (Im)mobile Gaze: Witnessing, Remembering, and Navigating Difficult Pasts via Moving Images
My departure point in this paper is anintentional mis-reading of title of the conference “And Yet It Moves.” I will focus on the filmic medium’s potential to move emotions, affects, memories, and discussions about difficult pasts. My focus will be two films, whose protagonists are immobile -- forcibly displaced, imprisoned. In many ways, the protagonist of Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene’s La Noire de...and that of Turkish director Tevfik Baser’s 40-squaremeter Germany speak to each other. The former urges spectators to witness the postcolonial (im)mobility of Djuana-forced to stay home, serve, and clean. While the latter depicts a Turkish woman brought to Germany-to stay home, serve, cook, and clean. Both women are banned from the public space. From an intersectional perspective, the racialized and ethnicised women protagonists’ prohibition from the public space can be read as a metaphor for impossibility or denial of their existence. I will approach the(in)visibility and (im)mobility of these characters within the framework of Rancièrian aesthetics, and try to argue that by making these characters visible on the screen, these films not only illustrate more profound political, ethical, and philosophical issues but also urge a remembering, witnessing, and discussion of them.
Freedom to Cross(media): Migrating contents and Migration Stories in Manu Chao’s Music Videos
Contemporary cultural scene is characterised by theencounter of two imaginaries: that of the people in movement and that of the representations generated by images and information dissemination in the world (see Appadurai 1996). Its effect on imagination is evident when taking into account the topic of migrants’mobility, as specific images are at the premises of their choice to search for better life opportunities in other countries of the world, but other images shape their perception by destination countries’ inhabitants, often devoid of face-to-face experience. Imagination has thus become a battlefield, where most of the research about worldwide media representation shows the promotion of negative and stereotyped news and information on the matter (Philo, Briant & Donald2013). In opposition to this attitude, music videos have long assumed a commitment to convey a more correct and in-depth picture of the phenomenon, highlighting a significant awareness. After a brief review on this topic, our paper will focus on the recent work and long standing engagement on the matter by Manu Chao -discussing how his videos address it and the visual strategies (action cam footage, archive images, Tv news, comics and videogames) that they employ, recurring to remix and mash-up practices as well as becoming inspiration for further songs, videos and political activism with and by other artists, in the context of contemporary “digital plenitude” (Bolter, 2020).