Hypervisible Media and Restorative Filmmaking

The communication revolution that started at the turn of the 21st century redefined the nature of interaction. We now engage with information, other people, and our own identities through a lens of limitless access. There’s no denying that parts of our lives are easier with Facebook Live and email notifications that come straight to our phones. But because media is a technological manifestation of culture, its abundance is also an inundation of harmful political systems. I believe this is impacting our emotional development and mental health practices.

As a Master’s student, I want to study hypervisible media’s interaction with capitalist and patriarchal systems. With a deeper understanding of these structures, I can market restorative filmmaking as a necessary and lucrative form of art therapy for the future of our international digital landscape. Combined with my film production experience, this knowledge will help me counteract, and even prevent, the psychological damage that comes with inundated media.

Living in a for-profit world enforces the idea that people and products are predominately of value if they are producing. Combined with harmful definitions of social capital, this interaction disenfranchises communities based on identities like race, gender, sexuality and economic class. Capitalism and Patriarchy have been interacting since far before smartphones, but the extent to which we actively engage with them is increasing exponentially.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, newsletters and blog posts are filled with what the media world calls “content.” The “Which Disney princess are you?!” Buzzfeed quiz on your newsfeed gains social and economic value from the amount of likes and shares it receives. At face value, this seems harmless because it’s just a short, fun game tapping into your nostalgia. However, my awareness of our shifting emotional development stems from this ‘like economy’ applying to traumatic world events as well. We’re engaging with Buzzfeed quizzes in the same way as the Syrian refugee crisis and police brutality.

This normalization of violence is an international issue because the internet expanded the concept of community. Our peers are no longer just the people in our neighborhoods and the workplace, but also the people with whom we share thoughts and ideas online. This interconnectivity is creating a new perspective on world identity and guarantees innovative problem solving - meaning we have the greatest social impact opportunity since the creation of the television. We’re still in the developmental stages of this media boom, and we are defining what it can mean to our lives. I believe investing in restorative filmmaking can intertwine the future of media with mental recuperation.

Art therapy is an active psychotherapeutic practice for reconciling emotional conflicts and increased self-awareness. As a practicing artist myself, I’ve experienced its benefits through my own work. The art making process helps me deconstruct and understand my external struggles in order to represent them through another medium. Though typically associated with producing visual art, I believe we can achieve the same affects with interactive film – film with the purpose of deconstructing emotional trauma.

I’m proposing an investigation of political art as a practice. I’ll combine advocacy with expression through an understanding of social systems and our continuously forming media world. With an eventual goal of starting my own creative studio, I want to set this formative foundation in my work.