Paris Questing

Posted by Bradley L. Garrett on Wednesday Feb 2, 2011 Under Cultural Geography, Film, Geography, Infiltration, Infrastructure, Urban Exploration

As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow.
-A.C. Benson

Otter at Silent UK put together this really lovely video of our recent trip to Paris. Enjoy!

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I am pleased to announce a call for papers for the 2011 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) annual meeting, 31st August to 2nd September 2011, London, England.

Moving Geographies: Film and Video as Research Method

Organised by
Katherine Brickell (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Bradley L. Garrett (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Jessica Jacobs (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Sponsored by
Developing Areas Research Group
Participatory Geographies Research Group
Social and Cultural Geography Research Group
Women and Geography Study Group
_________________________________________

Geography’s relationship with film, like anthropology, began in earnest in the 1920s when J.B. Noel filmed the Royal Geographical Society-sponsored 1922 ascent of Everest – roughly the same time that anthropologist Robert Flaherty produced Nanook of the North in Canada. Yet while Flaherty’s study of Inuit culture spurred 80 years of anthropological film development into what we now know as the discipline of visual anthropology, the Everest footage was archived and geography instead turned its focus to cinematic analysis.

In recent years, however, partly helped by technological advances offering easier and more direct access to video and production software, geographers across the discipline are beginning to use audio-visual methods in greater numbers. Yet while it is claimed that the geographical analysis of film has ‘come of age’ (Aitken and Dixon 2006) the same cannot yet be said of geography’s theoretical engagement with their value as a research methodology.

This session is looking for contributions from geographers who use film and video as a research method in any capacity, and who are also beginning to critically theorise their contribution to this exciting field. We are interested in the use of video and film in any area of geography and for any reason, whether it is part of a participatory ethnography, a tool for data analysis or activism, or a reflexive exploration of new and creative methodologies. Abstracts that incorporate an interdisciplinary approach will also be welcomed.

Possible contributions to the session could include (but are not limited to):

*Relationships between text and film
*Audio-visual methods and data analysis/collection
*Activist and collaborative filmmaking
*Participatory filmmaking
*Ethnographies of place in film and video
*Psychogeographies and film and video
*Videographic publication
*Situating the geographical film

Selected papers are expected to include a screening of the audio-visual output (max 10 mins). We aim to accommodate longer pieces of work through an exhibitive screening (on a continuous loop) elsewhere at the RGS.

Please submit a title, abstract, and any links to your film/video work to me by January 15th 2011.

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Video and geography

Posted by Bradley L. Garrett on Tuesday Dec 7, 2010 Under Academia, Cultural Geography, Film, Visual Ethnography

I am pleased to announce the publication of my new article in the journal Progress in Human Geography on video and geography. Thank you to everyone who supported me in writing this article.

I would also like to announce that at next year’s Royal Geographical Society annual conference, I will be running a session with Dr. Katherine Brickell and Dr. Jessica Jacobs on this very topic. More details will be provided as they become available.

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I am a law only for my kind, I am no law for all.
-Nietzsche

Urban explorers are notorious for taking themselves too seriously, with our posed people shots and braggadocio over daring feats. I am probably more guilty of this than most. To be fair, that mentality is usually a reaction to “authorities” and the media treating the practice with little levity. When we do encounter authorities, we all know that getting them involved by showing them photos and talking about why what we are doing is harmless, and, in a best case scenario, getting them to laugh about it, is our best defence. Despite our appearance of machismo, most explorers are always game for a good laugh.

That is why I love the UE Kingz. You can’t watch this video and not crack a smile, despite the fact that they talk about taking bolt cutters to locks and tag up a drain in the video, blatantly breaching the UE “code of ethics”. And despite the antics depicted, the primary message of the video – the power of choice is, I think, an important one. While social and cultural constraints do exist, it is largely up to us to make life what we want it to be and the UE Kingz encourage us to take responsibility for that decison.  See, I told you I take this to seriously!

Cheers to the UE Kingz for bringing UrbEx a bit of festivity – we can all learn from them. Now get out there and go mad with a bolt cutter!

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