IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film: Volume 4 – Issue 1
Editor: Dr Celia Lam
Published: July 31, 2017
The IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film (IJMCF) is associated with IAFOR’s annual MediAsia and EuroMedia conferences. IJMCF is committed to publishing peer-reviewed scholarship that explores the relationship between society, film and media – including new and digital media – as well as giving a voice to scholars whose work explores hitherto unexamined aspects of contemporary media and visual culture.
This fourth issue of the IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film features contributions from the four corners of the globe, representing multiple nationalities. The aim of the journal is to gather interdisciplinary and international perspectives on global and local mediascapes, as well as communication practices that flow within and between national boundaries. The articles in this issue address the concept of alternative narratives, each exploring the forms, functions and effects of non-mainstream stories in contemporary media, film, politics and culture.
The issue starts its exploration of alternative cultures through the latest in the IJMCF series of interviews with the filmmaking community. Charlie Targett-Adams’ film PLACEBO: ALT. RUSSIA(2016) uncovers the alternative cultures of Russia’s artistic communities through the eyes of Placebo band member Stefan Olsdal. It is 2014, and while the world’s attention is focused on Crimea, Placebo embarks on a ten-city tour of Russia to celebrate the band’s twentieth anniversary. Targett-Adams and his crew are along for the ride. The film documents powerful concerts played to crowds of hundreds, and presents these alongside the stories of local craftsmen and women, artists and musicians. It is as much a celebration of the band’s milestone as it is an artistic journey into the cultural fabric of contemporary Russia. It is a film that enables viewers, in the words of Targett-Adams, to “see a different side to Russia”.
The first article of this issue, “More than ‘Collaborative Rubber Stamps’: Cross-Community Storytelling in Transitional Northern Ireland”, explores the role of alternative media in fostering cross-community development in Northern Ireland. Through an examination of grassroots projects that challenge the official narratives of the conflicts of the late twentieth century, the article demonstrates the power of alternative stories for communities that need to at once record and reconcile the past. The second article continues an exploration of the potential of alternative media platforms to foster counter-publics. “Conversational storytelling in community context: Examining talk on transgender radio” locates ‘conversational storytelling’ in community radio program TRANS*Positions, outlining how the participants construct identities within and without the transgender community through interaction between hosts, guests and callers.
“Media Portrayal of Street Violence against Egyptian Women” argues for changes in media representation of violence against women in Egypt, as a means to improve the status and image of women in society. Within that effort, alternative media adopted by non-government organisations, such as HarassMap, offer a means for citizens, victims and their supporters to provide up to date information and to document violence that is often ignored, or misrepresented, in the mainstream press. Next, the article “The real Nasty Side of War”: exploring the embodied experience of American soldiers on the frontline in Iraq through their YouTube videos” explores soldiers’ representations of conflict in war zones through self-filmed videos. Drawing upon existant images of war in order to construct their own representations of war-time experiences, these videos reveal the contradictory position inhabited by soldiers between the realities of combat, media representations, and political rheoretic.
Finally, two articles offer alternative perspectives on the study of filmmakers Kenji Mizoguchi in Japan and Tsai Ming Liang in Taiwan. “From Osaka to the Gion: Vernacular Modernism in Kenji Mizoguchi’s Osaka Elegy (1936) and Sisters of the Gion (1936)” approaches Mizoguchi’s films from the theoretical perspective of Miriam Hansen’s (2000) notion of ‘vernacular modernism’, arguing that the micro-communities represented in the films and the context of the Japanese film industry are best understood through a culturally specific analysis of film. Through analysis of two Mizoguchi films, the article highlights the influence of modernity on the traditions and social organisation of Japanese society. This tension, it argues, is located between the melodrama of narrative and performance, and the detailed mise en scène constructed by the director. In “Tsai Ming Liang’s Alternative Narratives of Working-Class Life in Taiwan”, the representation of working class experiences offer an alternative perspective on a respected filmmaker’s body of work. The article argues that his depiction of working class narratives and stylistic approaches enables audiences to develop affective responses to working class life.
The IJMCF Editorial Board owes a debt of gratitude to our external peer reviewers, notably Dr Elizabeth Burrows (Griffith University), Dr Bertha Chin (Swinbure University of Technology, Sarawak), Ryszard Dabek (University of Sydney), Sarah Feinstein (University of Manchester), Dr Susan Hopkins (University Southern Queensland), Dr Zoran Lee Pecic (Roskilde University), Dr Simon Philpott (Newcastle University), and Dr Renee Middlemost (University of Wollongong). We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to the IAFOR Publications Desk, our authors and dedicated readership.
Dr Celia Lam
IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film