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Vicki Mayer: “Where ‘Home’ Is: Film Production Economies and the Privatization of Space”
Thursday, February 6, 2014 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm EST
Vicki Mayer is Professor of Communication at Tulane University. She has published widely on media production and producers. She is Editor of the journal Television & New Media, and she directs the digital humanities projects MediaNOLA and New Orleans Historical.
This talk will give an overview of her current research into the impacts of regional policies for film production on ordinary people’s understandings of time, space and place. This is a talk less about the economic impacts of the policies than on the social and subjective experiences of people who live in cities driven by media production economies. In particular, she will highlight the impacts of location-based film production on the ways residents in New Orleans, Louisiana, move through public space. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the state has sponsored aggressive incentives policies that have transformed the region into the third largest film economy in the United States. Using GIS mapping software and personal photography, Mayer explores the ways this publicly financed economy privatizes public space by making the local into locations, by commodifying local culture, and by increasing the stratification of wealth in the post-Katrina landscape. These images provide a textured look at the way political economies can be visualized not only geographically but also as part of the ordinary experience of everyday life in a city still and always posited as “recovering.” At the end of this talk, she presents an alternative way of mediating spatial experiences and histories through a digital humanities project that she has directed since 2008.