Abstraction, Bare Life, and Counternarratives of Mobility in the Refugee Films of Richard Mosse and Ai Weiwei, Incoming and Human Flow

Robert Burgoyne

This chapter explores the unprecedented formal experiments of Richard Mosse and Ai Weiwei in their attempts to capture the signature global event of our time, the mass movements of refugees and immigrants across geopolitical boundaries. In Mosse’s Incoming, a thermal camera registers the heat emanating from human bodies from some 30 miles away, providing images of refugees in lifeboats, transport trucks, and refugee camps that are both other-worldly, almost mutant in their strangeness, and deeply moving—images that rivet the gaze. In Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow, drone cameras render the vast scale of human displacement around the world—a view from above is interspersed with the close witnessing of cell phone video, using the visual language of spontaneous documentation in counterpoint with a technology associated with military surveillance. In both films, Giorgio Agamben’s concept of “bare life” is articulated within an advanced optical and technological framework that brings new critical questions into view.

2019 ◽  
Vol 2 (02) ◽  
pp. 31-42
Citra Kemala Putri

Visual Language is a knowledge that can be used to interpret various images those presented without text. Primadi Tabrani divides this Visual Language into 2 systems, the visual language system called NPM (Naturalist-Perspective-Momenopname) and another visual language system is STP (Space-Time-Plane). At this time which the technological progress has been developing very rapidly, we met many types of images, not just still images, but also moving images such as animated films, one of them is Death Of The Firstborn Egyptians directed by Nina Paley. This research uses qualitative method and uses the Visual Language Theory in analyzing the various visual towards the visuals of this film. The results of a visual study of this film revealed that there was a slice between Modern ‘Tata Ungkap Dalam’ and Traditional ‘Tata Ungkap Dalam’. Meanwhile,  the researh found that Modern ‘Tata Ungkap Luar’ is dominantly use on the film. Thus it can be concluded that the RWD visual language system is not used to produce traditional images only, but also can be combined with NPM visual language system, those could enrich the result of finishing visual.

2016 ◽  
Vol 113 (27) ◽  
pp. 7449-7453 ◽  
J. Edward Taylor ◽  
Mateusz J. Filipski ◽  
Mohamad Alloush ◽  
Anubhab Gupta ◽  
Ruben Irvin Rojas Valdes ◽  

In 2015, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees accommodated over 15 million refugees, mostly in refugee camps in developing countries. The World Food Program provided these refugees with food aid, in cash or in kind. Refugees’ impacts on host countries are controversial and little understood. This unique study analyzes the economic impacts of refugees on host-country economies within a 10-km radius of three Congolese refugee camps in Rwanda. Simulations using Monte Carlo methods reveal that cash aid to refugees creates significant positive income spillovers to host-country businesses and households. An additional adult refugee receiving cash aid increases annual real income in the local economy by $205 to $253, significantly more than the $120–$126 in aid each refugee receives. Trade between the local economy and the rest of Rwanda increases by $49 to $55. The impacts are lower for in-kind food aid, a finding relevant to development aid generally.

2019 ◽  
Vol 44 (2) ◽  
pp. 36-44
Shahd Adnan M. Qzeih ◽  
Rafooneh Mokhtarshahi Sani

Wars and conflicts have caused millions of people to seek asylum outside their homelands and the issue of refugee camps has become a pressing subject in international policy discussions. Conflicts continue to escalate in different parts of the world, especially in Middle Eastern countries. In 1948, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict forced displacement of many Palestinian people. The resulting camps have developed into cluster camp shelters of three to four stories in the West Bank, Gaza, and other regions around historical Palestine; some are perceived to be like gated communities. Being self-sufficient environments, refugee camps have rarely been approached from the perspective of urban psychology. This research deals with sensory perceptual analysis of Balata, the largest refugee camp in the West Bank of Palestinian Territories. Balata is situated in Nablus and has raised four generations of refugees since its establishment. In order to explore the spatial characteristics of such specific environmental experiences, the research adopted a mixed-method approach – systematically evaluating the related literature on sensory perceptual spaces and applying content analysis methods. The study modified the sensory slider tool of Malnar and Vodvarka according to the framework matrix based on the content analysis. Moreover, the case study analysis consisted of observation of the chosen area and 30 in-depth interviews with refugees who were forced out of their homes and settled in the camp as well as some who were born in the camp. The research results show that investigating what camp residents perceive of the five senses can capture meaningful sensory perceptual experiences and can generate a holistic mental image of the refugee camp. Particularly, perceptions of the built environment reflect the difficulty of life experiences. The study concludes that the characteristics of camps in this seventy-year-old conflict environment may not be found in other parts of the world.

2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Joerg Fingerhut

This paper argues that the still-emerging paradigm of situated cognition requires a more systematic perspective on media to capture the enculturation of the human mind. By virtue of being media, cultural artifacts present central experiential models of the world for our embodied minds to latch onto. The paper identifies references to external media within embodied, extended, enactive, and predictive approaches to cognition, which remain underdeveloped in terms of the profound impact that media have on our mind. To grasp this impact, I propose an enactive account of media that is based on expansive habits as media-structured, embodied ways of bringing forth meaning and new domains of values. We apply such habits, for instance, when seeing a picture or perceiving a movie. They become established through a process of reciprocal adaptation between media artifacts and organisms and define the range of viable actions within such a media ecology. Within an artifactual habit, we then become attuned to a specific media work (e.g., a TV series, a picture, a text, or even a city) that engages us. Both the plurality of habits and the dynamical adjustments within a habit require a more flexible neural architecture than is addressed by classical cognitive neuroscience. To detail how neural and media processes interlock, I will introduce the concept of neuromediality and discuss radical predictive processing accounts that could contribute to the externalization of the mind by treating media themselves as generative models of the world. After a short primer on general media theory, I discuss media examples in three domains: pictures and moving images; digital media; architecture and the built environment. This discussion demonstrates the need for a new cognitive media theory based on enactive artifactual habits—one that will help us gain perspective on the continuous re-mediation of our mind.

2017 ◽  
Vol 2 (2) ◽  
Fernanda Coutinho

In this essay, I examine the status of Baleia, the family dog in Graciliano Ramos’s Vidas secas (1938). My principal interest is to analyse the attenuation of distances and the differentiation of sensibility between humans and animals in the novel. I argue that Baleia allows Ramos to leave aside an absolute belief in human reasoning and think of the nonhuman animal as a being endowed with complexity. In this, Ramos deviates from a speciesist appreciation of history and sharpens the gaze of his readers with respect to the limitations of our understanding of the world and its beings.

1993 ◽  
Vol 15 (2) ◽  
pp. 13-15 ◽  
Anita Nudelman

At the beginning of 1985 Operation Moses was underway, bringing thousands of Ethiopian Jews from refugee camps in Sudan to Israel. Seeing an Ethiopian child on Israeli television brought me back to my grandfather's house in New York and to myself as a child. My grandfather, Rabbi Leo Jung, had assisted Jewish communities all over the world for many years. When I visited him I always looked forward to his bedtime stories about Jews in different places and to his accounts of his own experiences and travels. This is how I first heard about the Jews on the island of Djerba, and in Persia, and about the "Black Jews" of Ethiopia.

Semiotica ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 0 (0) ◽  
James Batcho

Abstract Stanley Kubrick is regarded as a filmmaker of complex imagery. Yet the vitality of his more metaphysical works lies in what is unseen. There is an embodiment to Kubrick’s films that maintains a sense of subjectivity, but one which is unapparent and non-visual. This opens another way into Kubrick’s works, that of conditions of audibility (hearing/listening), affectivity, and signs. To think of embodiment from such an audible perspective requires one to subvert film spectatorship (the frame) and instead enter the reality of the film’s immanent, borderless unfolding as itself. This essay applies Gilles Deleuze’s semiotic concepts of cinema, metaphysics, and subjectivity to conditions of audibility and unseeing, a connection Deleuze largely ignored in his writings. These dual concepts of audibility and unseeing break prevailing analytical norms in cinema discourse that affirm limitations via material, visual, textual, and spatial reification: subjective-objective delineations, the body and the gaze, sound as necessarily spatial/material, and the dominance of images in regard to aesthetics, surveillance, and evidence. Instead, this essay moves through Kubrick’s constructions of milieu that are unseen in the midst of an otherwise visual unfolding, and audible in the midst of an otherwise sonic unfolding. To consider Kubrick’s films through their audible embodiment, one must detach (1) the microphone from its adherence to space, (2) the body from its visual gaze. Here, sounds, images, and objects become secondary to hearing and signs in a temporal unfolding, resulting in a cinema that is experiential rather than representational. This opens to an actuality of spirit within the world of the film, offering new opportunities for creativity in the cinematic form.

Lamis Elmy Abdelaaty

What explains state responses to the refugees they receive? This book identifies two puzzling patterns: states open their borders to some refugee groups while blocking others (discrimination), and a number of countries have given the United Nations (UN) control of asylum procedures and refugee camps on their territory (delegation). To explain this selective exercise of sovereignty, the book develops a two-part theoretical framework in which policymakers in refugee-receiving countries weigh international and domestic concerns. Internationally, leaders use refugees to reassure allies and exert pressure on rivals. Domestically, policymakers have incentives to favor those refugee groups with whom they share an ethnic identity. When these international and domestic incentives conflict, shifting responsibility to the UN allows policymakers to placate both refugee-sending countries and domestic constituencies. The book then carries out a “three-stage, multi-level” research design in which each successive step corroborates and elaborates the findings of the preceding stage. The first stage involves statistical analysis of asylum admissions worldwide. The second stage presents two country case studies: Egypt (a country that is broadly representative of most refugee recipients) and Turkey (an outlier that has limited the geographic application of the Refugee Convention). The third stage zooms in on sub- or within-country dynamics in Kenya (home to one of the largest refugee populations in the world) through content analysis of parliamentary proceedings. Studying state responses to refugees is instructive because it can help explain why states sometimes assert, and at other times cede, their sovereignty in the face of refugee rights.

Kieran Tranter

This chapter examines technical legality through looking in detail at how modernity allowed law as technology. This is undertaken through a jurisprudential reading of Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune cycle’. The Dune cycle has been read as involving an affirmation of chaos over rationality in public activities — religion, politics and ecology — concluding with the message of self-care and Zen-like calm in coping with an uncertain universe. But these accounts sell Herbert’s imagining short. This chapter re-examines the Dune cycle as a story of tyrants and leviathan sandworms. In this re-reading, Dune can be seen as an account of the metaphysics of law as technology. The themes of the secondary literature on Dune can be rewoven into a critical elaboration of Hobbes’ ‘mortal God’ which exposes the essential commitments of sovereignty and its technical law. These commitments are death and time. Located within the bloody alchemy of modernity, the monstrousness of the law as technology is revealed – the consumption of bare life in time. This brutal realisation seems to end with Schmitt’s representative sovereign deciding to make the world.

Vlad Strukov

The Miracle documents the introduction of the symbolic into the real by means of sensing the lack, or in Lacan’s terms, the lack-of-being. The lost object—whether voice, memory or senses—is the ultimate horror because it reveals the uncanny voids in the discourse. Being is conceived simultaneously in the ontological sense of openness within which ideas emerge, and being in the noumenal sense of the world, or of entities separated in the world from the temporal perspective—the vibrations of time and culture. The symbolic is the ontological horizon of Being whereas its anterior is the lack-of-being, that is, the there-of-Being (Dasein) lacks its place in the order of reality. The symbolic mode is characterised by the minimal gap between its elements and places they occupy: as Lacan noted, in order for the gap between elements to occur, something has to be fundamentally excluded. What happens in psychosis—and in The Miracle—is precisely the inclusion of this lacking object into the frame of ‘reality’. It appears within the constructed world as the hallucinated, or imagined, or mystified object: the voice, which in this case equals the gaze, haunts the cultural discourse as paranoiac.

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