Angela Aguayo reports on “We Tell: Fifty Years of Participatory Community Media,” a touring retrospective of documentary media projects coprogrammed by Louis Massiah and Patricia R. Zimmermann, with archival assistance from the XFR Collective, and featuring forty projects produced by thirty-six nonprofit community organizations and cultural centers. “We Tell” dives into more than fifty years of media as developed by embattled communities with a shared political vision and a focus on advocacy and addressing problems more often excluded from larger public concern. In her review of the exhibition, Aguayo argues that participatory community media presents a critique of representational politics within the larger documentary field and offers a corrective to the tourism tendencies of contemporary documentary-production culture by foregrounding collaborative authorship and collective agency.
Documentary Resistance: The Stories of “We Tell” as Collective Political Agency
Angela J. Aguayo is an associate professor of Cinema and Digital Culture at Southern Illinois University. She is a scholar-media maker whose practice reflects an interdisciplinary approach to documentary, media studies, rhetoric, and critical cultural theory. Her most recent book Documentary Resistance: Social Change and Participatory Media (Oxford University Press, 2019) is focused on agency, collective identification and participatory cultures. She is a director of multiple documentary shorts utilized in community engagement campaigns, screened at various festivals and museums around the world.
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Angela J. Aguayo; Documentary Resistance: The Stories of “We Tell” as Collective Political Agency. Film Quarterly 1 June 2020; 73 (4): 82–88. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.73.4.82
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