A performative and socio-spatial practice: Documentary Film

Authors: Ozlem Ayse Ozgur*, University of Arizona
Topics: Qualitative Research, Geographic Theory, Social Geography
Keywords: Documentary Film, Performativity, Socio-Spatial Practice
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 49
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The documentary film “Taste Bud Memories” which was nominated for an Emmy award by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of NATAS in 2019, suggests if learning to eat is learning to become a human being, perhaps learning to eat together is learning to become a community. The film explores refugees’ experiences in Southern Arizona by connecting food resources, local geography and the public at large in a broader discourse about food through refugee’s individual stories about food. The essay engages with the geography of film production and performativity of documentary film and asks; what happens when events unfold and unexpected encounters take place between bodies and things that recreate the becoming of a community and a space during a film production? I answer the question with a two step argument: First I argue that documentary film leads to” new forms of behavior=new identity” (as Butler uses the term), therefore leads to transformation = new life performances, by constructing and deconstructing social boundaries, because documentary film is a performative practice. Second, I argue that documentary film reproduces both society and space by its performativity; since social space is actively involved in performative practices, then documentary film is a socio-spatial practice.

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