Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities Blog

Titelbild TransHumanities 2020

Summer School 2019 – Abstracts Morning Lectures

ARTIVISM in post-migration settings
(Co-)production of representations through audio-visual counter-narratives

Monika Salzbrunn

Action research, participatory research methods and interactive filmmaking share the common approach of taking the researched subject as an expert who co-constructs knowledge with the researcher. The circulation of images via social networks has contributed a great deal to rendering individuals and collectives conscious about their power in co-constructing or counter-performing knowledge and representations of self and others. The division of the sensitive (Rancière, 2000) implies the creation of new semantics of political inclusion and of legitimacy, putting into question formalised power relations.
In our ERC ARTIVISM project (Salzbrunn, 2015) which focuses on “Art and activism. Creativity and performance as subversive forms of political expression in super-diverse cities”, we research the use of art in activism and activism in the arts. Applying multi-sensory ethnography (Pink, 2011) and audio-visual methods, we conduct empirical research in cities of the French and Italian Mediterranean coast, in California and in the francophone part of Cameroon. I will first give an introduction to the epistemological and methodological background of the project, drawing on performance, urban and migration studies. This will be followed by examples that reveal the co-construction and staging of diversity through alternative fashion shows. Following Rancière’s (1994) idea that politics have always been aesthetic and Butler’s (1993) concept of performance as the staging of a desired situation, we focus on the performativity of artivist actions. Our approach implies a consideration of the filmed persons as co-producers of knowledge, representations and (counter-)narratives. Each actor gives a particular meaning (Deleuze, 1969) to her/his performance (Butler, 1993) in a certain context (Rogers and Vertovec, 1995) and in a given social situation (Clarke, 2005). Finally, considering the researched subjects as experts with whom researchers co-construct knowledge in a globalised battle of images and meaning implies their participation in the (film-)writing and their feedback in restitution processes.

Mandatory reading (available here):

  • Salzbrunn, Monika, Barbara Dellwo and Sylvain Besençon 2018: Analyzing participatory cultural practices in a medium-scale Swiss town: How multiple belongings are constructed and consolidated through an interactive film-making process, Conjunctions, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 3-18.
  • Souiah, Farida, Monika Salzbrunn and Simon Mastrangelo 2018: Hope and Disillusion. The Representations of Europe in Algerian and Tunisian Cultural Production about Undocumented Migration. In: North Africa and the Making of Europe. Governance, Institutions and Culture, Muriam Haleh Davis et Thomas Serres (eds.), Bloomsbury, pp. 155-177 (chap. 7).

Recommended reading (available here):

  • Salzbrunn, Monika 2016: When the mosque goes Beethoven: Expressing religious belongings through music. COMPASO – Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 59-74.

Recommended website:

Write a comment

Please consider our comment policy.

* labeled fields are required.

Sie müssen angemeldet sein, um kommentieren zu können.

Universität Bern | Phil.-hist. Fakultät | Walter Benjamin Kolleg | Graduate School of the Humanities | Muesmattstrasse 45 | CH-3012 Bern | Tel. +41 (0)31 631 54 74
© Universität Bern 14.04.2016 | Home