2015 African Literature Association First Book Award
2013 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
African Video Movies and Global Desires is the first full-length scholarly study of Ghana’s commercial video industry, an industry that has produced thousands of movies over the last twenty years and has grown into an influential source of cultural production. Produced and consumed under circumstances of dire shortage and scarcity, African video movies narrate the desires and anxieties created by Africa’s incorporation into the global cultural economy.
Drawing on archival and ethnographic research conducted in Ghana over a ten-year period, as well as close readings of a number of individual movies, this book brings the insights of historical context as well as literary and film analysis to bear on a range of movies and the industry as a whole. Garritano makes a significant contribution to the examination of gender norms and the ideologies these movies produce.
African Video Movies and Global Desires is a historically and theoretically informed cultural history of an African visual genre that will only continue to grow in size and influence.
The traditional model of video news reporting has always had two separate roles: reporting and videography. For years, however, small-market news outlets have relied on “one-man bands”—individual reporters who shoot and edit their own video—for stories and footage. Lately, as the journalism landscape has evolved, this controversial practice has grown more and more popular. With the use of video constantly expanding, many large-market TV stations, networks, and newspaper Web sites are relying on one person to carry out a job formerly executed by two. News outlets now call these contributors VJs, digital journalists, backpack journalists, or mobile journalists. But no matter what they are called, there’s no denying the growing significance of solo videojournalists to the media landscape.
Going Solo: Doing Videojournalism in the 21st Century details the controversy, history, and rise of this news genre, but its main objective is to show aspiring videojournalists how to learn the craft. While other textbooks depict the conventional reporter-and-videographer model, Going Solo innovates by teaching readers how to successfully juggle the skills traditionally required of two different people.
Award-winning journalist G. Stuart Smith begins by describing how and why the media’s use of solo videojournalists is growing, then delves into the controversy over whether one person can cover a story as well as two. He illuminates how, together, the downsizing of the media, downturn in the economy, and growth of video on the Web have led to the rise of the solo videojournalist model. Going Solo profiles TV stations and newspaper Web operations across the country that are using the model and offers helpful advice from VJs in the field. The book presents useful guidelines on how to multitask as a reporter-videographer: conducting interviews, shooting cover video, and writing and editing a good video story. Readers will also learn how to produce non-narrated stories and market themselves in a competitive field.
Smith, who started his career as a “one-man band,” insightfully covers an area of journalism that, despite its growing market demand, has received little academic attention. Going Solo: Doing Videojournalism in the 21st Century is useful for students learning the basics and those already in the field who need to upgrade their skills. By presenting industry know-how and valuable tips, this unique guidebook can help any enterprising videojournalist create a niche for him- or herself in the increasingly fragmented news media market.
Over the past decade, the video camera has become a commonplace household technology. With falling prices on compact and easy-to-use cameras, as well as mobile phones and digital still cameras with video recording capabilities, access to moving image production technology is becoming virtually universal. Home Truths? represents one of the few academic research studies exploring this everyday, popular use of video production technology, looking particularly at how families use and engage with the technology and how it fits into the routines of everyday life.
The authors draw on interviews, observations, and the participants' videos themselves, seeking to paint a comprehensive picture of the role of video making in their everyday lives. While readers gain a sense of the individual characters involved in the project and the complexities and diversities of their lives, the analysis also raises a range of broader issues about the nature of learning and creativity, subjectivity and representation, and the "domestication" of technology---issues that are of interest to many in the fields of sociology and media/cultural studies.
David Buckingham is Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, and Director of the Institute's Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media.
Rebekah Willett is Lecturer at the Institute of Education, University of London, where she teaches in Media, Culture and Communication.
Maria Pini previously worked as Lecturer in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College, London University, and is now a researcher on the Camcorder Cultures project at the Institute of Education.
Technologies of the Imagination: New Media in Everyday Life
digitalculturebooks is an imprint of the University of Michigan Press and the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library dedicated to publishing innovative and accessible work exploring new media and their impact on society, culture, and scholarly communication. Visit the website at www.digitalculture.org.
In Indigenous Media in Mexico, Erica Cusi Wortham explores the use of video among indigenous peoples in Mexico as an important component of their social and political activism. Funded by the federal government as part of its "pluriculturalist" policy of the 1990s, video indígena programs became social processes through which indigenous communities in Oaxaca and Chiapas engendered alternative public spheres and aligned themselves with local and regional autonomy movements.
Drawing on her in-depth ethnographic research among indigenous mediamakers in Mexico, Wortham traces their shifting relationship with Mexican cultural agencies; situates their work within a broader, hemispheric network of indigenous media producers; and complicates the notion of a unified, homogeneous indigenous identity. Her analysis of projects from community-based media initiatives in Oaxaca to the transnational Chiapas Media Project highlights variations in cultural identity and autonomy based on specific histories of marginalization, accommodation, and resistance.
In an age of digital technology and renewed anxiety about media piracy, Inherent Vice revisits the recent analog past with an eye-opening exploration of the aesthetic and legal innovations of home video. Analog videotape was introduced to consumers as a blank format, essentially as a bootleg technology, for recording television without permission. The studios initially resisted VCRs and began legal action to oppose their marketing. In turn, U.S. courts controversially reinterpreted copyright law to protect users’ right to record, while content owners eventually developed ways to exploit the video market. Lucas Hilderbrand shows how videotape and fair use offer essential lessons relevant to contemporary progressive media policy.
Videotape not only radically changed how audiences accessed the content they wanted and loved but also altered how they watched it. Hilderbrand develops an aesthetic theory of analog video, an “aesthetics of access” most boldly embodied by bootleg videos. He contends that the medium specificity of videotape becomes most apparent through repeated duplication, wear, and technical failure; video’s visible and audible degeneration signals its uses for legal transgressions and illicit pleasures. Bringing formal and cultural analysis into dialogue with industrial history and case law, Hilderbrand examines four decades of often overlooked histories of video recording, including the first network news archive, the underground circulation of Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, a feminist tape-sharing network, and the phenomenally popular website YouTube. This book reveals the creative uses of videotape that have made essential content more accessible and expanded our understanding of copyright law. It is a politically provocative, unabashedly nostalgic ode to analog.
Nigerian video films—dramatic features shot on video and sold as cassettes—are being produced at the rate of nearly one a day, making them the major contemporary art form in Nigeria. The history of African film offers no precedent for such a huge, popularly based industry.
The contributors to this volume, who include film and television directors, an anthropologist, and scholars of film studies and literature, take a variety of approaches to this flourishing popular art. Topics include aesthetic forms and distribution; the configurations of various ethnic audiences; the new media environment dominated by cassette technology; the video's materialism in a period of economic collapse; transformation of the traditional Yoruba traveling theater; individualism and the moral crisis in Igbo society; Hausa cultural values; the negotiation of gender roles, and the genre of Christian videos.
Defines, examines, and elevates home video to its rightful place.
From its recording of family events to its influence on filmmaking, home video defies easy categorization and demands serious consideration. In There's No Place Like Home Video, James Moran takes on this neglected aspect of popular culture. Moran offers a cultural history of amateur home video, exploring its technological and ideological predecessors, the development of event videography, and home video's symbiotic relationship with television and film. He also investigates the broader field of video, taking on the question of medium specificity: the attempt to define its unique identity, to capture what constitutes its pure practice.
In Moran's discussion of video, he argues that previous scholars have not sufficiently dealt with its nature as hybrid, varied, and mutable. He argues that such a medium shouldn't be conceived as pure in and of itself; it is neither autonomous from other media nor entirely dependent on any other, but instead has a chameleonlike interface with films, television, computers, telephones, and even architecture. Rather than look for a grand narrative to define its specificity, Moran places video and home video at the intersections of multiple forms of communication.
James M. Moran is adjunct professor of visual and media arts at Emerson College in Los Angeles.
African cinema in the 1960s originated mainly from Francophone countries. It resembled the art cinema of contemporary Europe and relied on support from the French film industry and the French state. Beginning in 1969 the biennial Festival panafricain du cinéma et de la télévision de Ouagadougou (FESPACO), held in Burkina Faso, became the major showcase for these films. But since the early 1990s, a new phenomenon has come to dominate the African cinema world: mass-marketed films shot on less expensive video cameras. These “Nollywood” films, so named because many originate in southern Nigeria, are a thriving industry dominating the world of African cinema.
Viewing African Cinema in the Twenty-first Century is the first book to bring together a set of essays offering a comparison of these two main African cinema modes.
Contributors: Ralph A. Austen and Mahir Şaul, Jonathan Haynes, Onookome Okome, Birgit Meyer, Abdalla Uba Adamu, Matthias Krings, Vincent Bouchard, Laura Fair, Jane Bryce, Peter Rist, Stefan Sereda, Lindsey Green-Simms, and Cornelius Moore
Evolving rapidly from the movie screen to the television screen to the computer screen, video culture has blossomed from its origins as an obscure spin-off of the 1960s Anglo-American media culture into one of the leading art forms of the late twentieth century. And as such, video culture has grown from being the dominion of small but dedicated cult followings to becoming a near mainstream cinematic interest. The World Is Watching: Video as Multinational Aesthetics, 1968–1995 explores the origins and implications of this powerful visual medium which crosses national, cultural, and political boundaries to present provocative tales of the highest quality. Dennis Redmond’s probing study is rooted in close readings of three stylish and highly successful video efforts—The Prisoner (1967), The Decalogue (1988), and Neon Genesis: Evangelion (1995).
Irish director and star Patrick McGoohan’s classic science fiction vision, The Prisoner, established many of the basic conventions of video for such elements as shot selection, set design, scripting, scoring, and editing techniques. In The Prisoner, a government agent has resigned his position only to be immediately abducted and confined to an isolated town. Thus imprisoned, the agent faces the sinister and surreal efforts of his captors to break him and learn the secret cause of his resignation. Saturated with Cold War allegory, this seventeen-part series was groundbreaking in its exploration of new types of global content, ranging from gender and ethnic identity to the politics of information. Part futuristic thriller, part James Bond parody, the cult series remains hugely popular among partisans of science fiction, and has had an indelible influence on its mainstream descendants.
Set in a Polish housing complex, each episode of The Decalogue examines one of the ten commandments. The provocative series synthesized elements of the Eastern European auteur film with the consumerism of its Western European counterparts, establishing the new genre of Eurovideo. Paying special attention to director Krzysztof Kieslowski's micropolitics of gender, as well as his innovations in scripting, lighting, and framing, Redmond locates The Decalogue within the broader context of Polish filmmaking and as a harbinger of the subsequent Velvet Revolutions of Eastern Europe. Now available on DVD for English-speaking audiences, The Decalogue remains a stunning specimen of video artistry.
Aided by transcripts that are far superior to the flawed English dubbing in some video versions, Redmond’s analysis of Hideaki Anno’s acclaimed television series Neon Genesis: Evangelion explores the increasingly popular narrative form of anime. This animated series is set in the post-apocalyptic future, where young pilots in robotic battle suits combat alien invaders. In discussing this twenty-six part epic undertaking, Redmond identifies the impact of the Godzilla narratives, videogame culture, the Japanese mecha, the Hong Kong action thriller and the American sci-fi blockbuster on the formation of a uniquely East Asian identity and aesthetic sensibility. Anime is proving itself to be exceedingly apt and able at crossing national borders and is now enjoying mass popularity among global audiences, thus making it an ideal subject for Redmond’s telling assessment of the impact of video culture worldwide.