A GEOGRAPHER’S LENS

Multimedia Methods and
Scholar-Activist Praxis
Presented by the Subconference of the
Annual Meeting of the AAG

rareearth

Wednesday, April 22, 6 pm, $7-10
The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N Milwaukee, Chicago, IL

Join us for an evening of discussion and excerpts from four films with four documentarian-geographers. In coordination with the Subconference of the Association of American Geographers’ annual meeting, this event will provide an opportunity for an off-site, trans- and non-disciplinary, multi-method mingling of idea makers and media makers. While exploring different content in different geographic settings, the four panelists’ pieces take up the overlapping themes of economic, state, and extra-judicial violence amidst the quest for endless accumulation and surplus. The works explore the the prison and military industrial complexes, contested spaces of ‘urban renewal,’ and sites of accumulation and abandonment ranging from the body to the Mojave Desert to the city of Detroit and beyond.  We will gather to discuss process-oriented questions about filmmaking and public scholarship for liberatory social change. The event will comprise a panel discussion with the four filmmakers (Elizabeth Knafo, Amanda Matles, Alexis Mitchell, and Brett Story) moderated by Annie Spencer, as well as excerpts from their latest films.  We will reserve ample time for audience discussion.

 

Rare Earth (2014) // Elizabeth Knafo
From the Mojave desert, to the Pacific seabed, to the surface of the moon, the rush for rare earth minerals is afoot. “Rare Earth”explores the re-opening of an historically toxic rare earth mine in the California desert, and the intensifying land rush for the high-tech minerals across the world. The work is a portrait of changing desert landscapes and the residents who grapple with the impacts of industrial mining. “Rare Earth” traces the toxic and transformative legacy of treasure hunting in the American West—a legacy of speculation, produced scarcity and the social violence of resource extraction—deepening in our era of global climate change.

Rerooting the Motor City: Notes on a City in Transformation (2013) // Paper Tiger
This is Detroit as seen by Paper Tiger Television members, Maria Byck, Amanda Matles, Nadia Mohamed, Adrienne Silverman. From food deserts, to the plans to “rightsize” the city, Detroiters resist, rework, and remain resilient given the social and ecological failures of post-industrial global capitalism. With a critical lens on race and class dynamics, this documentary weaves together segments on Detroit’s labor history, the roots of Detroit’s urban agriculture movement, a critical look at philanthro-capitalism and its relationship to urban renewal, as well as media (mis)representations of a city in transformation.

STEALTH (2014) // Chase Joynt and Alexis Mitchell
By merging hidden camera footage from a patient’s hysterectomy, with interviews of the objects used in these procedures and spaces, STEALTH poignantly and humorously mobilizes ‘sousveillance’ to subvert the perspective of surveilling machinery. Through a triangulation of corporeal, medical and military technologies, STEALTH provocatively points to previously unexplored histories and relationships between inanimate objects and human bodies.

EMPIRE SYMBOL OR, A MAN AND HIS MULE(2015) // Bambitchell  (Alexis Mitchell & Sharlene Bamboat) 
Empire Symbol, Or A Man and his Mule, traces the journey of a Canadian veterinarian who was responsible for transporting mules from New York to Karachi, India during WWII. Employing his diary entries, Bambitchell unearth both the psychic life of The Vet, as well the histories of Canadian Militarism that are embedded within mundane processes of global trade and transport.

The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (in progress) // Brett Story
The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is a non-fiction work about the prison from the places we least expect to find it: the front yards, public spaces, and social rituals of everyday life. A meditation on the prison and its geographic disappearance in the era of mass incarceration, the doc unfolds as a cinematic journey through a series of landscapes across the United States where prisons do work and affect lives: an anti-sex offender pocket park in Los Angeles, a congregation of ex-incarcerated chess players shut out of the formal labor market, the overnight buses that carry visitors to far away prisons, an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of prison jobs, and a host of other unexpected spaces.

 

The event is happening in collaboration with the Subconference of the Annual Meeting of the AAG. The Subconference was created to offer a space for radical academics and activists to think critically and creatively about the connections between academic geography, higher education, and social/political change. The subconference is an evolving ambition. Each year we seek out new ways to creatively appropriate the critical mass of the AAG, using the space of the conference as an asset for forging solidarities and facilitating collective exchanges between people who are already engaged in radical, socially transformative work in all the disparate locations that we come from.

Annie Spencer, curator of A GEOGRAPHER’S LENS,  is a writer, organizer, media maker, and doctoral candidate in economic geography at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Spencer’s work examines state improvement schemes, accumulation, addiction, and everyday wageless life in the post-American century.



Filed under: archival, documentary, experimental, found footage, lecture, narrative, new media, surveillance, Uncategorized, video

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