Keynote Presenter: Dr. Tom Boellstorff, University of California Irvine
Description: What possibilities do virtual worlds hold for film as a mode of education? To explore this question I will discuss Our Digital Selves: My Avatar is Me, a documentary by Bernhard Drax. This film chronicles my research on disability and virtual worlds, but the filmmaker was given creative control: my collaborator (Donna Z. Davis) and I appear in the film and helped guide its themes, but made no decisions regarding the film’s final content. The filmmaker’s extensive work included meeting interlocutors in the physical world that the researchers met only online, as well as crafting a narrative about disability and virtual embodiment that comments on rather than replicates the scholarly narrative. I will discuss specific techniques like “virtual reenactment” and “virtual staging” that Drax used in making Our Digital Selves, and reflect on how what I term “paraethnographic film”—film created through a triple collaboration between community members, ethnographers, and filmmakers—holds great potential for virtual education.
BE SURE TO WATCH Our Digital Selves: My Avatar is Me (Bernhard Drax / Draxtor Despres, 2018).
Accessibility: Voice & Transcriptionist