Flickering Landscapes Conference - The Image of Migration: Landscapes and People

Thursday, March 28, 2019 4:30 p.m. to Saturday, March 30 at 9:30 p.m.

Flickering Landscapes Conference - The Image of Migration: Landscapes and People

March 28-30, 2019

The Gallery at Center for Emerging Media: 500 Bentley St, Orlando, FL 32801

The public is invited to attend this conference and all events associated with it free of charge. The conference brings together scholars and filmmakers to address how moving images depict the relationship between human migration and place. Our definition of migration encompasses any movement of peoples, including migration within nations or across national boundaries. The variety of the spaces migrants move across demands that we define place in the broadest terms possible: land, and sea, and the built environment. For more details visit our website: flickeringlandsc.cah.ucf.edu/. Registration is free and is requested to help us plan for seating and refreshments. 

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Major Events include:

Shifting Terrain: Images of Migration and Detention Gallery Opening

The Gallery at Center for Emerging Media: 500 Bentley St, Orlando, FL 32801

Thursday, March 28, 6:30-7:30 pm

Shifting Terrain: Images of Migration and Detention, an art exhibition curated by Keri Watson (University of Central Florida), brings together work by contemporary artists who address the contemporary global refugee experience. PhoneHome, curated by Dorita Hannah, Joanne Kinniburgh, and Shauna Janssen, features I-Phone videos made by artists and correspondents from Iran, Kurdistan, Russia, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK that are viewed through miniature refugee cabins. The intermedial installation critiques architecture’s complicity in detaining “alien” bodies while recognizing the smartphone’s role in resisting detention. Vukasin Nedeljkovic’s haunting photographs were taken while he awaited asylum in a Direct Provision Centre in Ireland from April 2007 to November 2009. Part of the Asylum Archive, a multidisciplinary, collaborative, and interactive documentary project, his work critically engages with issues of exile, displacement, trauma, and memory. Jave Yoshimoto’s delicate and intricate laser cut reliefs, which work to counteract and deconstruct over-mediatized and sensationalized images of refugees, were created from images he made while volunteering on Lesvos Island in December of 2016. Hiwa K’s film Pre-Image (Blind as the Mother Tongue), which was created for documenta 14 Athens (2017), is a performative recreation of a journey taken by the artist when he fled Iraqi Kurdistan and reached Europe by foot in the 1990s. A symbolically-loaded, visual and aural “call-and-response,” the film complicates notions of history, memory, language, and clashing cultures.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS / CORRESPONDENTS: Drone Footage of Homs: RT (Russia) Chauka, Tell Us The Time: Behrouz Boochani (Kurdistan/Iran) & A Sarvestani (Iran/Netherlands) Ayaz: Syrian Boy Sings Lament in Iraq Refugee Camp: Rescue4Children (Kurdistan/Iraq) Vigil: Tracey Moffatt (Australia/USA) Revolting: Lindsay Seers (UK) tea time EUROPE: Giorgos Zamboulakis and The Experimental Theatre of Thrace (Greece): Island Icarus (“you peeled our skin off”): D Hannah, Sean Coyle & Chris Jackson (NZ/Australia)

Jave Yoshimoto is an internally-exhibited and award-winning artist of multi-cultural background. Born in Japan to Chinese parents, he immigrated to United States at a young age and received his BA from the University of California Santa Barbara, his Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Painting and Drawing and MA in Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his MFA in Painting at Syracuse University. Currently, Yoshimoto is on the faculty at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. In this artist talk, Yoshimoto will discuss his experiences volunteering on Lesvos Island in Greece in December of 2016. As he says, "What I’ve discovered thus far is that the refugees are from all around the world, rather than only being from Syria as depicted in the media. I have also come to discover that the news coverage on the topic is often sensationalized, and even sometimes re-enacted for the sake of reporting. The stories of the local villagers and the volunteers seem often forgotten or ignored, and the refugees are used in narratives that sometimes are simply not true. More importantly, I wish to capture the humanitarian tale amongst this crisis, hoping that in turn, my viewers can be inspired to assist refugees or anyone who has suffered a great loss due to manmade or natural disasters."

Vukasin Nedeljkovic is a multidisciplinary artist whose project Asylum Archive was made in collaboration with asylum seekers, artists, academics, civil society activists, and immigration lawyers, while he was housed in a Direct Provision Centre in Ireland from April 2007 to November 2009. Vukasin Nedeljkovic holds a Masters in Visual Arts Practice at Dunlaoghaire Institute of Arts, Design and Technology. He is a PhD candidate at Dublin Institute of Technology. He exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Asylum Archive is a platform open for dialogue and discussion inclusive to individuals who have experienced a sense of sociological/geographical ‘displacement’, social trauma and violence. It is an act of solidarity to bring a different perspective on the life of people who came to Ireland to seek protection. Asylum Archive’s objective is to collaborate with asylum seekers, artists, academics and activists, amongst others, with a view to creating an interactive documentary cross-platform online resource, critically foregrounding accounts of exile, displacement, trauma and memory.

Hiwa K. To remember, sometimes you need other archaeological tools says the voice over in Hiwa K’s Pre-Image (Blind as the Mother Tongue). The video depicts the artist walking across fields, wastelands, estates, going from Turkey to Athens and then to Rome, a path that mirrors his own journey as a child, when he fled Iraqi Kurdistan and reached Europe by foot. His “Pre-images” are fragments of a path whose final destination is uncertain.

Keynote Speaker Dorita Hannah

The Bridge at The Gallery at Center for Emerging Media: 500 Bentley St, Orlando, FL 32801

Thursday, March 28, 7:30-9:00 pm

Dorita Hannah (University of Auckland, New Zealand) is an artist, architect, curator, and trans-disciplinary practitioner/scholar who focuses on architectural performativity and performance design. The author of numerous books including Performance Design (2008), Active Light: Issues of Light in Contemporary Theatre (2015), and Event-Space: Theatre Architecture and the Historical Avant-Garde (2018), Hannah's work investigates the dynamics and fabrications of democratic space and how our contemporary cultural environments interact with lived experiences. Hannah will discuss her recent installation PhoneHome, which is comprised of videos that play on mobile phone screens housed in miniature refugee cabins. Made in collaboration with nine international refugees and featured at the Chile Architecture & Urbanism Biennial (2017), PhoneHome engages with the pervasive geo-cultural, geo-mythical, and geo-political issues of our time and film and architecture’s role in housing those without home or homeland.

Keynote Speaker Chris Lippard: "Film as Refuge: Alternative Aesthetics in Contemporary Migration Films"

The Bridge at The Gallery at Center for Emerging Media: 500 Bentley St, Orlando, FL 32801

Friday, March 29, 9:00-10:30 am

Chris Lippard: In the face of increasingly dangerous paths of migration in today’s transnational world, film has frequently been seen as having the potential to break down borders, eliciting sympathy and understanding for migrants—an extension of traditional views of the humanizing capacities and functions of the Arts and Humanities more generally. Consequently, perhaps, realist approaches to depicting the journeys and arrivals of migrants are the norm in cinema, while melodramas highlight the trials and trauma of the migrant experience, especially as it affects families—epitomized by El Norte and Sin Nombre. Several recent films have attempted alternative aesthetics, including the high budget Human Flow (2017) and The Last of Us (2016). In the first, Ai Weiwei attempts to link a sentimental personal commitment with technical flourishes epitomized by drone shots that depict the magnitude of migration whilst detailing the landscape. More powerfully, Tunisian experimental director, Ala Eddine Slim’s The Last of Us defamiliarizes the migrant experience by suddenly diverting his narrative from a realist trajectory through the introduction of an improbable, perhaps magical, landscape and events within it that metaphorize the migrant experience and can provoke, I contend, new thinking about the problem. A second filmic approach for questioning migration is provided by those films that emphasize destination over journey. Referring back to Anthony Mann and John Alton’s Border Incident (1949), this presentation will assess alternative notions of the landscape of work in such depictions of the struggles of migrant labor in Sleep Dealer (Alex Rivera, 2007) and reenactment documentary Bisbee ’17 (Robert Greene, 2017).

Chris Lippard holds a Ph.D. in Film, Literature, and Culture from the University of Southern California and is Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Utah. His research interests include transnational cinematic identities and aesthetics. He has published work on Abbas Kiarostami, Derek Jarman, F. W. Murnau, Jorge Sanjinés, Michael Moore, and the Sundance Film Festival. He is a past chair of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Middle Eastern Caucus and is co-editor of The Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema (2010).

Film Screening: Abrazos (2014. Dir. Luis Argueta. Documentary. Minnesota / Guatemala. 44 mins) and Memorias del Migrante (2018. Dir. Argenis Hurtado Moreno. Documentary. U.S. 15 mins)

The Bridge at The Gallery at Center for Emerging Media: 500 Bentley St, Orlando, FL 32801

Friday, March 29, 3:30-5:00 pm

ABRAZOS tells the transformational journey of a group of U.S. citizen children who travel from Minnesota to Guatemala to meet their grandparents for the first time. After being separated for nearly two decades, these families are able to share stories, strengthen traditions and begin to reconstruct their cultural identity. There are 4.5 million US Citizen Children living with at least one undocumented parent. This is the story of 14 of them.

MEMORIAS DEL MIGRANTE shows the remnants of migrant crossings scattered throughout the Sonoran Desert. Among the remains are photographs. Without a written record or an oral history, these prints leave their finders to speculate about the stories behind the smiles and somber expressions frozen on glossy paper. The film draws on interviews with women who have crossed borders to fill-in stories from the found photographs that provide insight into the lives they left behind in Mexico, their border crossing experiences, and a glimpse at their lives in the United States. The film combats the narrative of criminality that pursues migrants in the Trump era. Finally, the project is a reconciliation of the researcher and his Mexican heritage - connecting himself to his homeland through a marriage of oral history and photographs.

Keynote speaker Luis Argueta: "Transformational Immigrant Stories: Changing Minds, One Heart At A Time"

The Bridge at The Gallery at Center for Emerging Media: 500 Bentley St, Orlando, FL 32801

Friday, March 29, 7:00-9:00 pm

Luis Argueta is a film director and producer, who has been telling transnational immigrant stories since 1977. His work spans features, documentaries, shorts and episodic TV. He has also worked as commercial director, lecturer and teacher in the United States, Europe and throughout the Americas. Born and raised in Guatemala, Argueta is a US Citizen and has been a resident of New York since 1977. His feature film The Silence of Neto (1994), the coming of age story of a 12 year-old boy in 1954 Cold War-Guatemala, is the first Guatemalan film internationally recognized and the first Guatemalan production ever to be submitted to the Academy Awards. The Guardian listed Mr. Argueta as one of Guatemala’s National Living Icons, alongside Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and Singer/Songwriter Ricardo Arjona. Luis Argueta is the first and only filmmaker to be awarded Guatemala’s Orden del Quetzal in the degree of Grand Officer and is the recipient of the 2019 Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award.

Mr. Argueta will be joined in a discussion of his work by a distinguished panel of scholars, including Esteban Loustaunau (Modern & Classical Languages & Cultures, Assumption College) Lauren Shaw (Spanish, Elmira College) and Jared List (Modern Languages, Doane University), all of whom helped produce the recent edited volume, Telling Migrant Stories: Latin American Diaspora in Documentary Film (University Press of Florida, 2019).

Film Screening: Después de María: Las 2 orillas [After María: The Two Shores] (2018. Dir. Sonia Fritz. Documentary. Orlando and Puerto Rico. 65 mins) and Gifts from Babylon (Dirs. Bas Ackermann, Emiel Martens & Babucarr Manka. Drama. The Gambia. 10 mins)

The Bridge at The Gallery at Center for Emerging Media: 500 Bentley St, Orlando, FL 32801

Saturday, March 30, 9:30 am - 12:00 noon 

A Q&A with Sonia Fritz will follow the screening of Después de María: Las 2 orillas [After María: The Two Shores]

A Q&A with Emiel Martens will follow the screening of Gifts from Babylon 

DESPUÉS DE MARÍA: LAS 2 ORILLAS [AFTER MARÍA: THE TWO SHORES] describes how communities and families in Puerto Rico and in the Puerto Rican diaspora in Orlando, Florida dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane María. The film focuses on two angles: how community leaders empowered their communities to deal with the disaster, and how families who migrated to the US have helped in the reconstruction of Puerto Rico.

Sonia Fritz is a filmmaker born and raised in Mexico into a German-Mexican family. She is currently professor of literature and cinema studies, including filmmaking, at the University of El Sagrado Corazón in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Besides her duties as a professor, she makes documentary films and feature films. She began her filmmaking career in her home city, Mexico, D.F., when she was an undergraduate student at the Universidad Autónoma Nacional. In 2000, Fritz received her MFA in visual arts from the Vermont College of Norwich University. Early in her career, in 1986, she won the Ariel prize (Mexico’s equivalent of an Oscar) for best documentary for De banda, vidas y sones (Of Bands, Lives, and Other Sounds). Her longtime interests in children, women, and immigration are especially timely today.

GIFTS FROM BABYLON is a 10-minute short film showing the return of an African migrant after having lived illegally in Babylon for five years. Babylon is the name that is often used in West Africa when referring to Europe, the idealized destination of many young West Africans when taking the so-called backway, the dangerous and illegal journey to Europe across deserts and high seas. The main character is Amadou, a 28-year old Gambian who took the backway when he was in his early twenties. Back then, he stole money from local gang leader Jimmy to cross the desert by truck and ended up in a smuggler’s boat to Europe. Now, five years later he returns to his home country, to reunite with his family and friends. After a harsh life of hustling on the streets of Italy and the Netherlands, Amadou comes back to the Gambia as a changed man – a bluffing man his family and friends can’t get along with. On top of that, the debts he left behind have not been forgotten by local gang leader Jimmy. While suffering from intense flashbacks of his Babylon life in Europe, and experiencing the poverty and insecurity of African ghetto life all over again, he wonders what has become of him. Although the current refugee crisis has generated public attention and policy action, the scope, nature and development of illegal Africa-EU migration are still poorly understood. Moreover, the personal impacts of migration are often overlooked, while the issue of return-migration remains understudied. This all particularly applies to The Gambia, where a disproportionately high number of youngsters take the backway, the journey through deserts and high seas illegal immigrants undertake to reach Europe (usually via Libya and Italy), and where return-migration has recently become more attractive with the restoration of democracy under the new president. Gifts from Babylon aims to become a catalyst for understanding, awareness and dialogue about the complex (and often misunderstood) issue of migration and return-migration among (West) Africans and Gambians in particular.

Emiel Martens is a media lecturer, researcher, consultant, and producer. Emiel joined the Department of Media Studies of the University of Amsterdam as a lecturer and researcher in 2004, where he is now working as Assistant Professor in Film and Visual Culture. In 2016, he also joined the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) to become a team member of the research project 'Worlds of Imagination' (ERC Consolidator Grant), a comparative study of film tourism in non-western societies. His research interests span the fields of Postcolonial (Media) Studies, Media Geography, Popular Geopolitics, Migration and Diversity Studies, Creative Industries, Film (and) Tourism and Alternative Media, with a particular focus on the history, theory and praxis of the (Anglophone) Caribbean film and visual culture.

Film Screening: Food Chains (2014. Dir. Sanjay Rawal. Documentary. U.S. 10 mins)

The Bridge at The Gallery at Center for Emerging Media: 500 Bentley St, Orlando, FL 32801

Saturday, March 30, 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm 

A Q&A with Food Chains producer Smriti Keshari will follow the screening of Food Chains

FOOD CHAINS is an exposé about an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers who battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States. The narrative of the film focuses on an intrepid and highly lauded group of tomato pickers from Southern Florida – the Coalition of Immokalee Workers or CIW – who are revolutionizing farm labor. Their story is one of hope and promise for the triumph of morality over corporate greed – to ensure a dignified life for farm workers and a more humane, transparent food chain. Farmworkers, the foundation of our fresh food industry, are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved – all within the borders of the United States. Food Chains reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food and supermarkets. Fast food is big, but supermarkets are bigger – earning $4 trillion globally. They have tremendous power over the agricultural system. Over the past 3 decades they have drained revenue from their supply chain leaving farmworkers in poverty and forced to work under subhuman conditions. Yet many take no responsibility for this. Food Chains premiered at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival and screened subsequently at the Tribeca Film Festival and Guadalajara Film Festival. Food Chains will be released nationwide November 21st. The film’s Executive Producers include Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser.

Smriti Keshari is a personable film producer, shooter and storyteller with a focus on drawing conclusions within complex systems and connecting dots on the plain of human behavior. She has a roster of highly notable projects, all of which have explored lands, stories or issues not heavily reported. She has a keen eye for choosing narratives that offer underrepresented perspectives and inspire social action. She has produced several short documentaries as well as a recently acquired television series, Surfing 28 States: India. She has also contributed to ESPN original content (ESPN Films, X Games, E:60) and has had her photography showcased in numerous publications.

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The Center for Humanities and Digital Research, The Nicholson School of Communications and Media, and the Texts and Technology Doctoral Program at the University of Central Florida
The Office of Research, The College of Graduate Studies, CREATE (Center for Research and Education in Arts, Technology and Entertainment), The Department of English, The Department of History, The College of Arts and Humanities, FIEA (Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy), The Center for Humanities and Digital Research, The Nicholson School of Communications and Media, The Puerto Rico Research Hub, and The Texts and Technology Doctoral Program at the University of Central Florida


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Center for Emerging Media

This event occurs on multiple dates/times. This event takes place at this location on this date.

Event runs on multiple dates (select event date for details)

Date Location
March 28, 2019, 4:30 p.m. Center for Emerging Media
March 29, 2019, 4:30 p.m. Center for Emerging Media
March 30, 2019, 4:30 p.m. Center for Emerging Media
March 31, 2019, 4:30 p.m. Center for Emerging Media



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