Visualizing Disappearance: Critical Inquiry and the Documentary Form

When and Where

Thursday, February 10, 2022 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm


Brett Story


As the writer and critic John Berger posits, “the relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” In this presentation, Dr. Brett Story will explore the relationship between rigorous research methods, visual culture, and creative practice, arguing for a nonfiction cinema that mobilizes critical aesthetics to interrogate the social world. With specific reference to the fieldwork and methodologies that informed her 2016 feature length documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, and her 2019 book Prison Land, as well as discussion of current and future projects, Dr. Story makes the case for spatial inquiry and radical filmmaking as complimentary methods for demystifying structures of power and challenging conventions of common sense.

Brett Story is a geographer and award-winning non-fiction filmmaker. Her films have screened at True/False, Oberhausen, Hot Docs, the Viennale, and Dok Leipzig, among other international festivals. Her second feature-length film, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016) was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and was a nominee for Best Canadian Feature Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards. Her interests across the fields of documentary and critical theory are expansive, and include experimental cinema and essay films, politics and aesthetics, racial capitalism and Marxist political economy, and visual geography. Brett holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto and is the author of a book titled Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America from the University of Minnesota Press. She was a 2016 Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow and is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow.

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