Accepted Paper:

Capturing public space: context and consequence in visual practices  


Chrisanna Gustafson (California State University, Chico)

Paper short abstract:

A rise in new worldwide media, including the internet, televisions broadcasts, and documentary films, makes evident the richness and real value of cultural diversity. Yet the shift of audio-visual data to an increasingly public sphere yields ethical questions concerning dual cultural realities, aesthetics in academic data, and privacy rights.

Paper long abstract:

Contemplating and categorizing the richness and ultimately valuable aspects of cultural diversity has been made infinitely more possible with the rise of new worldwide media, including the internet, live real-time televisions broadcasts, and international documentary films. Moreover, citizens and scholars alike have access to tools with which to produce audio-visual images, and are using them increasingly, yet with different aims.

This paper will explore three current classes of audio-visual recording: First, that of recording explicitly for public consumption, most especially on the part of news media and broadcasting agencies. Second, the practice of recording for scholarly examination, including anthropological data obtained from ethnographic fieldwork. Finally, the growing trend of self-recording and broadcasting as an international movement, evidenced by internet video and networking sites.

In each of these instances issues of context come into play. In some cases, authorship determines what contextual information is ultimately included in distributed audio-visual recordings, giving rise to ethical questions concerning dual cultural realities, aesthetics versus academic data, and privacy rights. Understanding the potential consequences of utilizing audio-visual means as tools of communication with and by an international public sphere requires a new formulation of methodology and theory in the realm of visual practices.

Panel W049
Audio-visual representation and cultural diversity