Upcoming Conference on Trauma Narratives in India

Will be presenting a paper at a very interesting conference happening in Kerala which looks at trauma narratives in the Indian subcontinent. Dates are 5th and 6th September 2013 and I think registration is possible on the days of the event. More information here: St. Thomas College, Kozhencherry

The abstract of the paper I will be presenting:

The Complicit Camera: Ethics of Attending to Survivors and Trauma Narratives

This paper seeks to look at the ethical issues inherent in the space of representation with regard to trauma narratives specifically looking at witness testimonies that speak or are trying to speak about an event/events on camera. Using Jacques Lacan’s understanding of trauma as the “missed encounter” I look at the documentary “Inshallah Kashmir”, that explores the situation in Kashmir, to question and investigate the traumatic effects of gaps, ruptures, silences that putting a camera by an outsider, with power, in such a field produces within representation. If trauma, according to Lacan, inhabits the field of the unrepresentable and the unspeakable then what are we as spectators, as the other, being allowed to see, what are we being allowed to hear and what is it that becomes inaccessible? How does the filmmaker then, standing in a position of power, through his own voice and control over visual representation, use the difficulties inherent in the speaking of trauma to render his own interpretation of the event as the only true interpretation, an interpretation that then produces the conditions that keep the status quo rendering the frame itself complicit in the perpetuation of violence? I will also do this by exploring the insider/outsider binary through a reading of 5 Broken Cameras, a documentary based on footage shot by a resident of Bil`in which saw a Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation. Looking for an ethical way of addressing of trauma in visual practice I use Judith Butler’s work on images of Abu Ghraib and the idea of circulation, of images, as resisting official narratives to read images/sounds/music that exist elsewhere, made by witnesses impacted on by the violence, and which circulate as testimonies, as evidence, as readings of the events that make up Kashmir. These will be explored as an attempt to come as close to retelling trauma as is possible through the use of different kinds of visual and sound practices.

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