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Attempting an Ontology of Participatory Film.

Schwandner-Sievers, S. and Cooke, P., 2024. Attempting an Ontology of Participatory Film. Academic Quarter, 27. (In Press)

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2024 (final proofs) Attempting an Ontology of Participatory Film Cooke Schwandner-Sievers .pdf
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In this video-essay, participatory filmmaker, Paul Cooke, and social anthropologist, Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, discuss in detail images from two activist-focussed, participatory video projects Cooke has run with young people in South Africa and Lebanon. They ask whether participatory film can communicate their creators’ activist intentions to audiences often far removed from the original context of production. They challenge themselves to answer this question by deliberately juxtaposing their respective disciplines’ distinct philosophical approaches to ontology. Bazin’s foundational discussion of the ontology of the photographic image (as a universally relatable ‘essence’ encapsulated in the image) is juxtaposed with anthropology’s ‘ontological turn’ (a radical cultural-relativist focus on people and contextually situated meaning). The video-essay reflects on whether the young participant filmmakers’ aesthetic choices generate images which speak for themselves or, alternatively, whether the transfigurations these images undergo through different registers of representation and curation – as the films move from community showcasing event to international film festival or academic setting – change their originally- intended meanings. In identifying tensions between proximity and distance, intimacy and exploitation, the potentials and limitations of mediating local activists’ voices to remote audiences through film is left up to the spectator for final arbitration.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This is a video essay, containing a video-film and accompanying text. The footage can be accessed by clicking on the picture on top or, alternatively, via this link:
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:40090
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:08 Jul 2024 15:37
Last Modified:08 Jul 2024 15:37


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