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Mobile Media: A Reliable Documentary Witness?

  • Anandana Kapur
Chapter

Abstract

Mobile media has marked an epochal shift in visual culture. As the everyday is archived in videos, selfies, GIFs, and photography, witnessing is no longer restricted by temporal and spatial distances. Witnessing is in fact a political performance as much as it is an acknowledgement of the quotidian. Sensory encounters with worlds that are censored by state-owned or mainstream media are a valuable source of alternate history, activism, and art. It is crucial, however, that documentary practices that embrace the intimacy and immediacy of digital ecologies provide a discursive structure to address questions of context, consent, and affect. Using case studies from the Indian context, the chapter examines how witnessing is embodied in collaborative and interactive documentaries that use mobile media. Interviews with practitioners reveal anxieties about meaning-making, editorial privilege, and the precarious lives of digital artifacts. The collapsing of distance between the filmmaker, the subject and their audiences, however, remains a pivotal promise of mobile media.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anandana Kapur
    • 1
  1. 1.Jamia Millia Islamia UniversityDelhiIndia

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