From Third Cinema to Media Justice

Break the Binary

Building on the provocation of Third Cinema, the idea that one could decolonize cinema through a set of practices, Third World Majority uses digital media and prompts me to ask how one could decolonize digital media? One possibility is to consider the socio-economic apparatus of cinema that is analyzed by Gitano and Solanas, and to transpose this to analyze the socio-economic structures that digital media require. While Gitano and Solanas point to the US dominance of cinema through Hollywood, the Third World Majority describe the even more concentrated control of the media by a few corporations. 

Additionally, the meaning of decolonization is very different for a contemporary LGBTQ and people of color politic inspired by women of color feminism. Jacqui Alexander, Grace Hong and Mohanty...

Yet to follow the call from the "Guiding Questions" essay that opens this Scalar book, I want to look to the media productions made by youth in Third World Majority workshops. The video QPOC presents a view of decolonization, centered in queer, trans, indigenous, immigrant and people of color's experiences, which begins by using a visual analogy between gender binaries and digital binary code. They state "I break the binary... I am two-spirit... I am goddess." In this short video, the authors claim that "colonization is not over" and see the ongoing process of neocolonialism in migration controls. In her book "Undoing Border Imperialism", published in 2013, Harsha Walia articulates a vision of Border Imperialism that links colonialism to border controls, and decolonization to freedom of movement. Yet the youth who produced this video articulated a similar argument, and extended it to the binary logic of the digital. The implied argument is that neocolonialism creates binaries between the colonizers, embodied in the IMF, WTO, World Bank, the governments that make up those bodies, police and immigration controls, and that these binaries are expressed in racial, gender and sexual norms. As digital media is made up of binary code, which is made visible on screen, and the authors state that they break these binaries, there seems to be a rejection of the digital, or an implication that decolonization can be accomplished by "breaking" the digital codes that enclose our lives. Yet, these youth use digital media to make and distribute this argument. As such, their implied argument seems to shift from simply breaking the socio-economic structures that create and distribute digital media, to one of infiltration, of using digital media towards decolonial ends. This shift can be understood as a reflection of an ontological and epistemological shift away from the idea of a single center of power and a single event of revolution, towards a more decentralized model, embodied in everyday practices, and demonstrated with the workshop form, based on a network of political actors, that the Third World Majority uses. 



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