Covering the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first and addressing documentaries, popular genres, and art films, it explains Iran's peculiar cinematic production modes, as well as the role of cinema and media in shaping modernity and a modern national identity in Iran. This comprehensive social history unfolds across four volumes, each of which can be appreciated on its own.
The extraordinary efflorescence in Iranian film, TV, and the new media since the consolidation of the Islamic Revolution animates Volume 4. During this time, documentary films proliferated. Many filmmakers took as their subject the revolution and the bloody eight-year war with Iraq; others critiqued postrevolution society.
Other sites such as the Hypercities project Election Protests in Iran have focused on pinpointing geographical locations and providing accurate timelines for events that unfolded rapidly and sometimes chaotically on the streets [ 15 ].
At the same time, the mainstream and emergent media, from the BBC to Al—Jazeera to Storyful [ 16 ], have increasingly focused on the best ways to authenticate citizen media by looking at questions of source reliability. They may also invest investigative resources in assessing accents and languages, researching the original upload to determine date, examining weather reports and shadow patterns to corroborate timing, comparing locations to Google Earth and Google Maps, and checking weaponry, vehicle, and license plate details against the correct country information [ 17 ].
Similar efforts are being undertaken by the social media news—gathering organization Storyful in their verification of citizen footage on the recently launched Human Rights Channel on YouTube [ 19 ].
These questions of authentication face a second order challenge when witness videos are repurposed in the online rhetoric of remix videos. When it comes to remix, even the most well—intentioned may remove critical information about names of witnesses, geographical location, or the timing of an event, as in the case of the many YouTube remixers who take footage from documentaries and news items about child soldiers in very divergent socio—political conditions across Africa in order to craft universal narratives about victimhood and vulnerability [ 20 ].
Once the clips have been re—edited and set to music, critical information about the nature of specific conflicts, national policies, and the languages, ethnicities, and religious identities of the civilian populations depicted is lost. Oftentimes these videos contribute to the common popular media tendency to depict Africa as a generic continent of conflicts. Remix video complicates questions of authenticity because of its focus on generating meaning via montage and juxtaposition rather than on the indexical evidentiary value of its underlying source material.
In some cases this departure from indexicality is, of course, deliberate, and follows from the use of unexpected juxtapositions and of found footage from other communities of practice and creation that share common video—sharing spaces. Such found footage can be used to create an unexpected emotional connection between one community of practice for example on YouTube, the subgenre of sing—alongs or renditions of popular songs [ 22 ] and a separate community of footage and practice co—existing in the same video—sharing space.
Using materials from the local to make connections to the global, an individual U. However, even advocates who celebrate remix culture acknowledge that online communities often present rhetorics of contradiction rather than rhetorics of corroboration.
Such spoilers establish their authority as experts online by drawing attention to key details that seem to support different explanations of a given event. Some spoilers expose falsehoods in online human rights remix videos seemingly to foster transparency and a rational testing of truth claims when the demands of creating powerful and persuasive montage have taken precedence over indexical truth claims.
Often this spoiling is in the service of a greater aggregative or truth—telling project. This particular annotation has been added by the curator of this channel, the Iranian expatriate activist Only Mehdi. Only Mehdi is Mehdi Saharkhiz, the son of a prominent imprisoned Iranian journalist who has become one of the foremost curators and aggregators of video from Iran. He is best known for gathering hundreds of videos shot in one curational location on YouTube, where he often showcases multiple angles of an incident for example, a police car driving over a protestor and provides corroborative and corrective detail [ 26 ].
By the same token, however, conspiracy theorists may latch onto videos that show well—documented human rights abuses that are widely accepted as factual occurrences and create counter—narratives that introduce doubt about the suffering of victims.
Although the gory death of protester Neda Agha—Soltan in the streets of Tehran spurred outcries from Western observers, pro—government apologists have posted YouTube videos that claim that elements of the video, which was shot by a bystander on a mobile phone, were staged or otherwise faked.
Figure 2: Frame from pro—government Iranian spoiler video. This range of remixers and spoilers is also reflected in the diversity of content—creators who supply the multimedia source materials of online video; it is an extremely heterogeneous group that includes victims, bystanders, perpetrators, and many different classes of other intentional and unintentional witnesses. At the level of the individual media experience, one of the consequences of this heterogeneity of sources is an unpredictable fluctuation in the power dynamic between the online viewer and the online viewed.
Privacy, consent, and other ethical principles Many of these fluctuations and uncertainties arise because of the changing dynamics of ethical relationships around consent, representation, and circulation.
In recent years, the entry of many more people into the process of filming, documenting and sharing has disrupted the one—on—one negotiation of consent, rights, and usage between a documentarian and a subject [ 30 ] and traditional journalistic ethics around sources and reporting — both defined largely by a single binary relationship or a defined series of stable social relationships that are embedded in a professional ethics of traditional image—making culture [ 31 ].
Instead, those who capture footage on mobile devices or remix it on home computers participate in an ethics of networks, of material circulating, re—combining, and being re—used in multiple relationships between people often far distant from the source originators, the filmer and the filmed [ 32 ].
Unlike historians, journalists, legal advocates, or ethnographers, internationally dispersed and increasingly diverse cadres of online video creators, sharers, and remixers lack any common codes of conduct.
Both human rights culture and academic discourses place a privileged or protected status around the testimony of the witness and the integrity of both the address to an audience and the visual representation of violations. This is especially urgent when the sufferer is no longer able to speak. The one who carries the continued memory of suffering also carries the responsibility to do so in a manner that empathises with, rather than violates, the silent victim. Whether such perpetrator footage is found accidentally, as in the case of the humiliation of Roma children by Slovakian police that was left on a cell phone, or disseminated purposely by abusers, as in the case of the sodomizing of Egyptian bus driver Imad al—Kabir by police officers that was sent to other drivers as a warning, it raises fundamental questions about the privacy and consent of the victims who appear, and about how we handle the recirculation and remix of the graphic violence therein.
Providing historical framing for representations of political violence Much as lynching photographs of the past century were often shot by vigilante brutalizers and even gleefully disseminated to others through postcards that depicted the graphic violence of the extrajudicial killing of people of color, in the contemporary era both official video documentation or trophy videography may be created by those who abuse their access to and authority over victims.
Recent scholarship and art about the history of lynching photography has focused attention on depictions of perpetrators and witnesses in ways that may be useful to those who work with online remix videos and to promote understanding of more contemporary forms of the circulation of images of human rights abuses.
In the case of the Arab Spring, images of contemporary martyrs murdered in public places for challenging the authorities through non—violent means have been used as a call to action for armed struggle and even jihadist actions against comfortable civilians in the West who imagine themselves as noncombatants while U.
The agency of victims and survivors Sometimes publicizing obviously dramatic humiliating human rights abuses may actually violate the stated wishes of the abused. When private images become public property, victims may become unwilling political actors who are put at further risk by both national party politics and local sexual politics that may recapitulate and elaborate their abuse.
If human rights begins with dignity, violating her wishes for consent becomes deeply problematic for advocacy organizations. In handling the relationship between testimony and evidence in the court of public opinion on the Internet, maintaining personal dignity in bearing witness can be a critical component that is frequently absent for people in crisis. Sometimes family members are able to defend the honor of victims who may be vulnerable to accusations of promiscuity or subjected to prurient questions, as in the case of the family of Libyan law student and alleged rape victim Eman Al Obiedy, who attested to her personal, professional, and political integrity.
But families can also become part of the collateral damage when a human rights video is circulated, goes viral, or becomes fodder for remixes that carry it even further away from its original context or re—contextualize it in challenging or risk—enhancing ways. For example, the father of mutilated teenage victim Hamza al—Khatib featured in a graphic video watched by hundreds of thousands was detained by Syrian authorities even after state television cited him as an authority in an hour—long program that assured viewers that no human rights abuses had taken place [ 40 ].
At other times, victims or survivors are able to actively assert control over the ways that footage of themselves is used and remixed, using the power of citizen video to challenge a dominant narrative. In Syria, a video still circulates of bound men lying on the ground in a small town, while gun—toting security forces kick them. The video had apparently been shot by a member of the abusive security forces themselves. When it leaked online, the Syrian government claimed the video was a fake, that it was shot in Iraq, and that U.
Ahmad Biasi, a young man clearly visible in the original video being kicked by a security forces member, responded by revisiting the town, showing the road sign, and pointing out the scene of the violence that was clearly identifiable as the location in the video. Then, standing in front of the camera, Biasi holds up his identity card to confirm that he is a Syrian national.
Rather than hide his identity, he challenges the re—framing of the original clip by the Syrian authorities. Subsequently he was imprisoned, and finally appeared in a Syrian government television program, delivering a potentially coerced statement as his media representation shifted from victim on the ground to empowered citizen challenging the state and then on to tool of poor state counter—propaganda [ 41 ].
Figure 3: Ahmad Biasi holding up his identity card in testimony video. Calls to action Beyond concerns of authenticity, consent, and representation, participatory culture, particularly as experienced at one remove from the sites of human rights and humanitarian crisis, can fail to translate online interest in issues into real—world action and advocacy.
Viewing such frequently sampled video may actually encourage passive spectatorship and detachment from substantive policy issues. Much like the Pulitzer Prize—winning image of the summary execution of a handcuffed prisoner on a Saigon street in , contemporary moving images on YouTube — such as those of a protestor shot in Bahrain in — can be replayed to the point of desensitization or aestheticized as iconic pop art objects.
It could also be argued that some of the most effective human rights footage focuses on imagery that is quotidian, banal, and constituted by everyday interactions rather than more obviously dramatic or high—stakes events. Non—violent actions shown without consequences can sometimes be more persuasive than actions that are shown with tragic repercussions.
The video has even become a meme in itself, judging from the fact that the video has been parodied on YouTube by a male comedian in drag [ 43 ]. The allure and repulsion of graphic violence may require remixers to adopt certain strategies of abstraction or stylization to encourage meaningful reflection, critical thinking, or grassroots organizing. Others have combined the techniques of data visualization with the techniques of video remix to make human rights arguments.
As a critic, Juhasz has become known for her concern that YouTube often promotes certain kinds of video genres that foster distraction, isolation, chaos, and entertainment, because of the popularity metrics and search mechanisms that structure the architecture of the site. Video remix has also functioned in the immediate context of the Arab Spring not only as a tool for successful organizing and external audience engagement, but also as an individual participatory act of solidarity with the original creators.
Interviewed on CBC [ 48 ], he describes how he was video—chatting with his mother and sister, started to come across the video emerging from Tahrir Square, and reacting to it, wanted the world to share his experience. He also explicitly sought out found images and interviews that, to his mind, challenged audience perceptions about the Arab world — including a central clip of a bearded young man declaring that everyone — Christian, Muslim, atheist — should stand up, demand their rights and not be silenced.
Alongside this decision—making around audience and circulation, sits a more personal motivation of using his expressive capacities to take action [ 53 ]. The personal motivation and engagement that enabled his act of solidarity in the Egyptian instance was absent. His video is currently sign—in only on YouTube, which is one of the reasons that he supported the multiple re—uploads of the video by other users, to ensure that it continued to be available.
If a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional context and information. For instance, including a clip from a slaughter house in a video on factory farming may be appropriate. However, stringing together unrelated and gruesome clips of animals being slaughtered in a video may be considered gratuitous if its purpose is to shock rather than illustrate.
Human rights video on YouTube often faces flagging for political reasons by political opponents of issues as well as government proxies , and also because of graphic content. In November , YouTube responded to the flagging as offensive of the footage of police brutality in Egypt mentioned earlier by suspending the account [ 61 ] of leading Egyptian activist Wael Abbas. Although it is not always clear when flagging takes place from general users concerned about graphic violence, and when it is politically motivated, this competition has been seen most recently in relation to footage from Syria of regime violence towards children, as in the case of the Hamza al—Khatib footage [ 65 ].
Share it. Change it. Although many activists remain wary of corporate partnerships with technology companies that often have poor human rights records, YouTube has at least begun to address some of the concerns that the human rights community — both as an online community of practice and as an off—line professional field — has raised around human rights footage presented online and in remix formats.
Some recent experiments by the human rights organization WITNESS and others in the field of video activism, have explored how issues of privacy, safety, security, dignity, and consent, as well as practical questions of effective expression of civic activism, can be further embedded in engagement with increasingly ubiquitous human rights video.
These new forms of human rights video culture are concerned for the dignity and integrity of victims and survivors, ethical witnessing, and the preservation of the intentionality of the original creators of material as well as the original indexical value of the material as documentation of human rights crises.
The experiments detailed below focus on how differing ethical responsibilities to victim, survivor, and the original intention are balanced with the potential of remix and aggregational approaches to speak to the personalization and creativity that generate activism and the opportunity to militar in a younger digitally—literate generation, and produce creative, effective, and individualized advocacy videos. The students were expected to conduct research rather than merely mash—up the footage based on aesthetic criteria.
Of note is that none of the student remixes utilize to any great extent unedited found footage from the sites of human rights violations, possibly because the topics discussed lent themselves more to incorporating a local perspective into an existing narrative structure.
WITNESS has also collaborated with networks of activist student organizations making use of purposeful remix in a coordinated campaign. In the lead—up to an advocacy push on implementation of the recommendations of the Genocide Prevention Taskforce a bi—partisan Taskforce that provided concrete steps for U.New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p essay a predator hunting for her prey. Robinson wears a fur coat that makes her look. This college essay tip is by Janine Robinson, technique, stamina while developing high school creative writing prompts confidence to film. In cinema, placing on the stage really means placing on the witness, and the director is in charge.
During this time, documentary films proliferated.
About the authors Sam Gregory is Program Director, WITNESS, as well as an internationally recognized human rights advocate, trainer, and video producer who helps people use the power of the moving image and participatory technologies to create human rights change. The strong presence of women on screen and behind the camera led to a dynamic women's cinema. He shows the kid mug shots.
He liked a good deep focus shot. Such spoilers establish their authority as experts online by drawing attention to key details that seem to support different explanations of a given event.
They act and talk in dialogue making the film seem real we can also relate to this film if we have ever filmed ourselves hanging out with our friends as this is simply what this film does.
MrTounsiHorr, Although it is clear that online videos of brutal crackdowns or spontaneous uprisings and citizen testimonies of resistance and repression played a role in the events of and , this essay raises a number of questions around the assumption that access to online video as a means of expression and as a tool for activism automatically spurs practices of democratic inclusion and civil society, or that the aesthetic forms generated by participatory video activism are necessarily unproblematic. AleYasin, This is due to the individual context of the nineteenth century prose text and that of the modern appropriated film text. His widow and young son leave on a train journey.
This scene combines the four elements of film in such a way that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat as they await the outcome of the fight.
Frances Guerin and Roger Hallas, Misrdigit l, He does this to draw clear contrasts between the two elders of the block, Da Mayor and Mother Sister and to make conflict more apparent. These questions of authentication face a second order challenge when witness videos are repurposed in the online rhetoric of remix videos. Can we place the sofa under the window?
This range of remixers and spoilers is also reflected in the diversity of content—creators who supply the multimedia source materials of online video; it is an extremely heterogeneous group that includes victims, bystanders, perpetrators, and many different classes of other intentional and unintentional witnesses. However, stringing together unrelated and gruesome clips of animals being slaughtered in a video may be considered gratuitous if its purpose is to shock rather than illustrate. Livia Hinegardner, Once the clips have been re—edited and set to music, critical information about the nature of specific conflicts, national policies, and the languages, ethnicities, and religious identities of the civilian populations depicted is lost. When they finally kiss, it is a glorious sensuous moment because this kiss is a sharing of trust and passion, not just another plug- in element from your standard kit of movie images. He shows the kid mug shots.