18/05/2022 – GTD Colloquium- Refugees and Migrants (In)Visibility: The Case of the Balkans

The recent “migrant wave” in Europe (2015) has reiterated at least a two-sided perspective on the representational power of images. Images of migrants and/or refugees were a) either instrumentalized in depicting a threat to the nation-state (Sassken, 1992) or were used in an iconographic sense to frame the suffering of the victim, or b) were used – more seldomly – as a proof for reports of mistreatment and violation of human rights of migrants (i.e., Border Violence Monitoring Network). My talk aims to provide a “countervisual” approach to the migrant image (Nail, 2019) in the Balkans by emphasizing the importance of images made of them, but also of the images made by them. The aim is to explore the practice of sharing memories of migrants in the form of fragmented or personal images and videos uploaded to private Facebook groups not only as a way of providing a different narrative of “the migrant crisis” to that of mainstream media, but also to underline those practices as important in providing legal evidence of violence towards them. The talk will explore the potentials of personal migrant memories (images and videos) not only in eliciting affective responses from “the civics” (Azoulay, 2008), but more importantly, as legal evidence for the dehumanization and human rights violations.

Boris Ružić, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Cultural Studies, University of Rijeka, Croatia. He teaches four courses engaged with film studies and visual culture. His interests lie at the intersection of politics of emancipation, (amateur) moving image, migrations, and digital technologies. In addition to publishing scientific articles in books and journals, he has co-authored a book regarding film and media analysis. Coordinates three international projects in the domains of humanities, film and visual culture, and memory studies.

The talk will be given in the Spiegelzaal at 15.30 on 18th May.