Professor Donatella Della Ratta Publishes Essay on Filming in Syria

Communications Professor Donatella Della Ratta has recently published an article in the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication titled “The Unbearable Lightness of the Image: Unfinished Thoughts on Filming in Contemporary Syria.”

In this essay, Prof. Della Ratta reflects on the aesthetic, political and material implications of filming as a continuous life activity since the beginning of the 2011 uprising in Syria. She argues that the blurry, shaky and pixelated aesthetics of Syrian user-generated videos serve to construct an ethical discourse (Ranciére 2009a; 2013) to address the genesis and the goal of the images produced and to shape a political commitment to the evidence-image (Didi-Huberman 2008). However, while the unstable visuals of the handheld camera powerfully reconnect, both at a symbolic and aesthetic level, to the truthfulness of the moment of crisis in which they are generated, they fail to produce a clearer understanding of the situation and a counter-hegemonic narrative. In this article, Prof. Della Ratta explores how new technologies have impacted this process of bearing witness and documenting events in real time, and how they have shaped a new understanding of the image as a networked, multiple object connected with the living archive of history, in a permanent dialogue with the seemingly endless flow of data nurtured by the web 2.0.

Professor Donatella Della Ratta has a background in Media Studies with a specialization in Arabic-speaking media. She has authored three monographs on Arab media and curated chapters on Syrian media and politics in several collective books. She is a contributor to Italian and international media outlets such as Al Jazeera English, Hyperallergic, Internazionale, and Il Manifesto. She has professional experience as a journalist, TV author and producer, and managed the Arabic speaking community of the international NGO Creative Commons for five years (2008-2013).  She has curated several art exhibitions and film programs on Syria, and she is a co-founder and board member of the web aggregator on creative resistance SyriaUntold.

Read the article “The Unbearable Lightness of the Image: Unfinished Thoughts on Filming in Contemporary Syria.”