Jacob Geuder | Catching Ephemerality: One Decade of Digital Video Activism from Brazil

Feb 9, 2022, 12:00 pm1:20 pm
Hybrid (219 Burr Hall & Zoom)



Event Description

The ubiquity of smartphones and social media in the early 2010s triggered an explosion of video production worldwide. Videos capturing police violence against protesters taking to the streets as well as smartphone recordings of police killing black teenagers in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas multiplied. The local appropriation of the globalized technologies for video making became the subject of Jacob Geuder's research on video activism, which he studied in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Cape Town, South Africa. In his central case, Brazil video activist collectives emerged rapidly during the 2013 protest wave of the Jornadas de Junho, making Rio one of the global hubs for video activism amongst cities such as Cairo, Hong Kong, and Istanbul. Almost ten years after the Jornadas de Junho protests swept over Rio de Janeiro, there are pressing questions that his current project of the Urban Video Archives aims to address in collaboration with academics and activists. Video activism has shifted how marginalized peoples and communities are seen in a media landscape that often renders them invisible. These tectonic shifts have been studied from various angles, including social movements and media studies. However, a number of key questions about the video activist movement remain unanswered: How have digital videos capturing protests and police violence transformed urban politics? How will the expansive growth of video activism and its audiovisual products be preserved for present and future use? How can academic research integrate inclusive, bottom-up digital media to understand the politics of (in)visibility?

JACOB GEUDER (Ph.D. University of Basel, Switzerland) works as urban sociologist with a focus on the right to the city, digital media, and social movements. In his PhD, “Visualizing Urban Struggles: Video Activism as Utopian Practice”, he examined video activism as a form of bottom-up city making in Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro. In his comparative, ethnographic study he analyzed the practices of recording videos of protests and police violence through participant observation, audiovisual analysis, and narrative interviews. The research shows how media activists appropriate global technologies in cities in the Global South. Currently, Jacob Geuder is building the Urban Video Archives as a digital platform to preserve, share and prepare grassroots video productions.

MARIAN THORPE, PLAS Postdoctoral Fellow

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