Filmic geographies: audio-visual, embodied-material

Ernwein, Marion (2022). Filmic geographies: audio-visual, embodied-material. Social & Cultural Geography, 23(6) pp. 779–796.



Although conventionally described as a ‘visual’ method, film-making is also increasingly used within research on embodiment. However, much remains to be said about the ability of filmic methods to enhance researchers’ capacity to think and research through the body. Drawing on my experience of making four research films, in this paper, I attempt to advance this agenda in three steps. First, I introduce anthropological work on the filming body to shed light on the technologically-mediated encounters that enfold around a camera and discuss how they might inform geographical thinking. Second, I describe the corporeally-mediated object ecologies that take shape within the filming setting and highlight how a camera might make objects ‘speak’. Finally, I discuss the affective dimension of screening research films to research participants and the contribution of such intense events to the articulation of collective matters of concerns. Through these three themes, I make the case for understanding knowledge production as located not merely in encounters with filmed audio-visual content, but also in the embodied-material encounters of bodies and objects around the filming and screening apparatus. I finally discuss the implications of these reflections for conceptualising the ‘body’ within embodied methods in social and cultural geography.

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