The Migrant as an Eye/I. Transculturality, Self-Representation, Audiovisual Practices

Cinergie. Il Cinema e le altre Arti
n. 19 – edited by Alice Cati and Mariagiulia Grassilli
Deadline: 1 April 2019


Redazione CUC2Written by:

Experiences such as those of exile, immigration, and transnationality are central in the current political and cultural debate. Several filmic works and visual artistic projects focus their narratives on life stories, as shaped by distance (either geographic or memory-related) and motion (in terms of travel, border crossing and disorientation). Meanwhile, a focus on exilic and diasporic identities may lead potential audience to perceive migrant works merely on the basis of personal traumas of displacement.

The special section of this issue of Cinergie aims at scoping the plurality of cross-media productions that define non-dominant forms of ethnic subjectivity, in the awareness of both the dynamic contamination of cultural models and the crisis of the ancient dichotomy between Self and Other. Challenging both the assimilationist logic and the processes of othering (Rings), we witness now the reclaiming of identities that have already internalised their ethno-cultural roots. In light of this, it appears urgent to revisit the value of certain terms, such as “Migrant/Post-Migrant” (Rings, Leal) “Third [World]” (Gabriel, Guneratne-Dissanayake), “Accented” (Naficy) — first applied to cinema productions, ethnographic films, experimental and visual-anthropological texts, and now including all other media productions (i.e. Bennett’s idea of ‘Accented Media’) — which are still defined by a hierarchy of values that place the Other in a condition of cultural subalternity.

Contributors are invited to take into consideration theoretical issues as well as specific case studies related (but not limited) to these themes:

  • Theory and history of non-Western subjective/autobiographical/first person audiovisual works, which can help to reassess the predominantly Western-oriented scholarship on this field.
  • Family and personal images (small-gauge films, videos, pictures, mobile camera images) taken and collected by non-Western individuals for private use or recycled in artistic projects.
  • Genealogy and ancestry research devoted to identities that had been hardened by decades of racial categorization.
  • Migrant and refugee filmmaking in between autobiography, self-representation, as well as (co)productions, collective creativity and participatory projects.
  • Negotiation between written and audio-visual biographies in the narration of the migrant Self (memoirs, videotestimonies, interviews, talks, visual presentations etc.).
  • The re-mediation of migrant and refugee self-representation, geopolitical power relations and mainstream media.
  • Auto-ethnographies: creative analytical practices aimed at exploring personal experiences and understanding one’s own first-, second- or third-generation cultural background.
  • Digital storytelling platforms and digital archives as useful tools to establish a plural view on past and present, enabling at the same time the preservation of ethnic groups’ memories otherwise excluded from the dominant political logics.

Call for essays

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