Date of Award

2017

First Advisor

Asma Abbas

Second Advisor

Anne O'Dwyer

Abstract

My thesis explores different attempts made to counter a visual occupation that has a fixed frame on the supposed ·'criminal,'' such as Elia Suleiman' s films, Claudia Rankine's poetry and short videos, and Korryn Gaines's sousveillance of her traffic stop and the day of her shooting. In considering all of these, I strive to illuminate ethical ways of watching the videos we encounter that practice what Simone Browne calls '·dark sousveillance.'· I use my research to (re)consider the ways one can watch Konyn Gaines's videos as an attempt at freedom for the more of us. By doing so, I begin to find and explore the contours of the visual practices and "ways of seeing" that are required of us as fellows in a relationship built on a "promise" or "trust" that we will see injustice and act to maintain sanctuary cities. My visual study was inspired by attempts to retool language and visuality as a gesture towards emancipation. The first chapter is followed by an interlude--a spoken word piece that accompanied a visual piece I had created combining the recent Pepsi ad that gestures towards peace with the police and the community meeting in Portland where a person was escorted out by police for enacting the same gesture in the ad. The second interlude is an annotated version of the Great Barrington Trust Policy, which I felt important to include not only because of its current topicality, but because it is implicated in conversations of politics, visuality, citizenship, surveillance, policing, and most importantly (to my project), community building. The final interlude, a letter to my sister, concludes my thesis on a note of creating new relationships with old friends through newer modes of thinking about seeing, knowing, and believing.

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