Towards a migratory film aesthetic : the interviewer's bodily discomfort as aesthetic key moment

Frimberger, Katja (2015) Towards a migratory film aesthetic : the interviewer's bodily discomfort as aesthetic key moment. In: Open Embodiments, 2015-04-15 - 2015-05-18, University of Arizona.

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The following paper has developed out of my work as postdoctoral researcher on a research project called ‘Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State’, a project that is – broadly speaking - concerned with the various ethical, methodological and aesthetic implications that result from researching in multilingual contexts, especially when bodies and languages are politically, psychologically and pedagogically 'under pressure'. My first job as postdoc located in what is called the Creative Arts and Translating Cultures Hub of the Researching Multilingually Project, involved the production of an 11 min., short promotional film. The film, entitled Speaking your language, was produced as a promotional, public engagement tool for the research project’s public launch event in May 2014 in Glasgow, UK. My focus for this paper is on my feeling of bodily discomfort as the interviewer for this film, at the moment when I asked interviewees to switch from speaking in English to speaking in their chosen, spoken language. The sensation of bodily discomfort was caused by my inability to interact in my conversation partners’ chosen languages. Here, I explore the ethical and artistic consequences that resulted from this experience of being linguistically out of control and feeling ‘uncomfortable’ during film interview. The effects of my linguistic incompetence (as Phipps 2013 calls it) on the actual making of the Speaking your language film, is theoretically framed by Mieke Bal’s (2007) Migratory Aesthetic and Sara Ahmed’s notion of Hearing-as-Touch (2000).