Basing in the Journeys of the Self by Catherine Russell, this paper is about a creative work that has been discussed in class: Sadie Benning's video diaries. Using the critical aspect that Russell has in her text, the video diaries are evaluated to justify auto ethnographical aspects that are utilized in the Sadie Benning's works.
SUMMARY of the key theoretical text points
The theoretical key pints are what Catherine Russell was out to achieve by doing the "Auto ethnography: Journeys of the Self". She critically curved words in the scope of auto ethnography to depict the following various perspectives in the area of choice.
A Sense of self stuck in understanding and surveillance. Russell is backed by Walter Benjamin to justify that personalized experience and observation play paramount roles in auto ethnography (Ho, 12). For example Benjamin argues that "Theory the philosophy and intellectual life as inseparable from his own experience of modernity and his identity as a German Jew." Here Benjamin does permeate his script in the form of experience as opposed to quintessence. He perceived his own life as an composition of public reality This if sensed keenly, Susan Back-moss argues that "no individual could live a resolved life in a social world that was neither."
Autobiography and ethnography are two disciplines that both are Commitment to the actual. She says that the inscription diplomacy of the auto ethnography is contemporary ethnic autobiographies that share of the doldrums of Meta discourse. "The sense of drawing consideration to their linguistic and the fictive nature of using the narrator as an inscribed figure within the text whose manipulation calls attention to authority arrangement(Wolcott, 232)," as Fisher expands.
Dramatization of subjectivity; Russell says that it is "no longer essential to have a revealing of the essential self but a representation of self as a performance." This according to her is because "The history subjacent is made obsolete by rendering it destabilized and incoherent." This is a position of "discursive anxiety and articulations." It is in the text depicted that, auto ethnography is the most likely to be the truck and the strategy that shall be used for exigent of obligatory outward appearances of individuality. It is too used for exploring the discursive potential of inauthentic subjectivities.
Ethnography as structure of self-fashioning; Russell argues that the ethnographer represents himself as the as a "fiction that does inscribe the doublings within the ethnographic text": "It fashion and individual with the authority to represent and to interpret and even to believe though with ironical aspects the truth that surround the discrepant world". The other aspect includes the oxymoronic label of auto ethnography. This is announcing of the full go kaput of the colonialist teachings of the ethnography and the critical gusto for it's variety of forms that do situate it as a kind "ideal form of ant documentary".
The richness and diversity of the autobiographical filmmaking: This is represented by the possible triple transformation of the narrator, the seer, and the seen voices.
Auto ethnography as a form of identity, which is part of avant-garde filmmaking, and maker who plays the role of the "collagist and the editor." It discloses this as the surrealist legacy of the form as well as the role that is played by concurrence and insincerity. Origin and thematic concerns are as well shown in the text. Catherine Russell explained that the autobiography emanates from perplexing background. The "culture of the film, and the video makers whose personal histories unfold within a specific public surrounding," the markers whose "ethnicity cast their history as an allegory for a community of the culture that cannot be essentialized." This is a mode of filmmaking that is full of displacement, and immigration as well as the exile and the Trans nationality themes. Here, the leanings of auto ethnography are shown.
The other points in the text include the amalgamation of documentary straightforwardness with the aspect of storytelling and show; the particular resonant images do echo across distance and time hence giving room for the mixing of the truth in the documentary with other corrupt aspects such as the telling of stories and performances. More so, the Autobiographical filming and the creation video are based on the testimonial affirmation. This is because there is no necessity of validating information beyond the viewer's faith in the influence of the text. This due to the fact that, the authoritarian subjects do offer themselves for inspection just as the anthropological examples.
Journeys of the filmmakers; the journeys that the filmmakers undertake are both temporary and geographic and they sometimes tend to move towards the epic proportions. For instance, the diary form does involve the movement from hooting and the editing duration. The traveling aspect is part of the synergy with the filmmaker confronting him or herself as the tourist and ethnographer, in addition to being exile and an immigrant. This kind of the film- makers are not a representative of the extraordinary personal diversity and auto ethnographical forms of the films. These do instead cover a range of techniques and the strategies that are set to merge self-representations and cultural critiques.
Auto ethnography as the avant-garde film form; Rusell argues that "Subjectivity cannot be denoted in so simple ways in the film such as the write form of "I" but it is split between times." This means that the appearance of the filmmaker in the diary film is taken to refer to another cinematographer or a tripod that is a denotation of the empty and technologies gaze. In addition, the splitting of prejudice between the filmed bodies and seeing is used o give more emphasis. It is argued that the ethnographic subjectivity, which is a self that does comprehend itself as culturally constituted, is in basis composition split along the autobiographical mode.
The Idea that I am most interested
In this undertaking, I am mostly interested with the idea that Russell depicts of a Sense of self-stuck in understanding and surveillance. This is the scope of using individual experience and observation to in auto ethnography just as Walter Benjamin did with his writing in the form of his experience as opposed to essence. It is argued those theoretical precepts and the philosophical grounds that do surround an individual's intellectual life are paramount in the auto ethnography because they are inseparable from someone's own experience of modernity and identity.
This is a perspective that is major in Auto ethnography and is revolves around the perceiving one's life as a metaphor that is set for social reality. This after a keen evaluation, it is justified that no individual is able to live a resolved and an affirmative existence in a world that it is social which neither existed. This meant to say that, the filmmakers ought to live in the real existing world of auto ethnography making and taking of part. The fact that I am concerned with here is that, ethnography should be committed top the actual and avoid fictional leanings.
How this helps me to think of another thing: film, video, book, or writing. Because, I am made aware of the reality that is expected tin a film or another piece of work, I am able to evaluate any piece of writing, filming or even to justify whether it is based on the actual happenings or just fiction (Hammersley & Atkinson, 44). I am able to evaluate the involvement of the filmmakers and their roles and participation in the process. Through the precepts from the skill I go from this, I am able to critical pick out clich‚s from a articles text and apply it to the real and actual situations. For example, in a film situation, I am able to gauge the cast and the character to get a clarified picture of the performances and exclude the third tripod bystanders who are picked by the camera as they gaze at the technology of filming and auto ethnography. This is a very critical skill to me and its significance to my ability and analytical skills, mind unfolding, and open-mindedness is a critical.
Analysis of Sadie Benning's video diaries
Sadie Benning in his work done in 1980s depicts a lot of individual experience and observation. Through Fisher price, children video is availed to the market and except for the extreme close ups the pixels of the digital image were readily visible. This did provide a very highly meditated from of ethnography filming which was characterized by experience of the filming crew. The pixel vision was restricted to the a certain level of close up detail and it is a medium that is deemed to be inherently reflexive and in a greater way, appropriate to the experimental ethnography.
The tapes that are done by Benning do as well depict that individuality is not only inscribe in history, but they are as well in the technologies of portrayal. She does many of her tapes in the bedroom and she portrays herself and various messages as secret to viewers. She tapes full part in the shooting of the films, which makes it reasonable and realistic as far as what Catherine Russell advocated for in actual participation is concerned. Russell argued that there is a variation in role-play as fiction and actual presence, which Benning here does depict in most of her tapes. This is very practical as far as auto ethnography is concerned.
Benning tapes are characterized of the first person narration, which is used to refer to the truthfulness of her tapes and filming. The undertaking and her involvement to varying magnitudes makes her to be taken as observing subjectivity in greater magnitude. As auto ethnography is concerned, Benning tapes are able to produce the subjectivity that does evade authenticity, just as Catherine Russell argues in her article. Traditional undertakings are out dated and tapes that are avoiding the authenticity are what Russell advocated for, and which Benning tapes stuck. Benning argues against queerness by saying that "to perform queerness is constant misidentification; to constantly find oneself in sites where meaning does not properly line up." She instead advocated for modernity just as per what Russell did in her article.
Benning too takes care of the identity of the filmmaker. She in her tapes embraces video as a medium that is linked to consumer culture. She works within the avant-garde codes, what Russell did advocate. Benning does as well represent the journeys that Russell advocated in auto ethnography filmmaking. She takes journeys in her bedroom studio laboratory. She used found footage that refers back to her as the ethnographic reference in her tapes. Bennings fragmentation of her body into the sphere of image in pixel vision makes her textual and this brings up the effects that are quite removed from the basic verbal of "I" and the video maker name. This is in line with what Russell advocated. The Benning tapes are associated to all aspects that Russell advocates for and they are true for not only postcolonial identification but they too are relevant to queer and the relative hybrid subjectivities that are out to represent himself or herself through the process of articulating gaze.
In summary, Catherine Russell contribution to auto ethnography is significant and practical in a greater magnitude. She does advocate for a better approach to the situation far from the authentic and traditional approaches that did advocate for queer and hybrid subjectivity. Russell dudes this broadly to ensure that the traditional separation of subjectivity with time and participation is realized. Benning in her tapes she is able to follow to the latter what Russell was advocating for and ensure that all that she produced tapes that were timely and have greater ability to reach out to the audience effectively.
Through Benning's adherence to Ruseels outlined principles in auto ethnography, she was able to produce tapes that were influential and reached out to the audience affectively. Some of her tapes well noted included 'it wasn't love" which she did and dedicate to all the bad girls everywhere and "We didn't need Hollywood: We were Hollywood" which is more concerned with the play of adult games. It is therefore practical to make a conclusion that, Benning's tapes were adhering to what Catherine Russell was advocating for in auto ethnography and due to this, she was able to convey the message to her audiences effectively.