Bypassing the supercrip trope in documentary representations of blind visual artists

Brylla, Catalin ORCID: (2018) Bypassing the supercrip trope in documentary representations of blind visual artists. Disability Studies Quarterly, 38 (3). ISSN 1041-5718

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Mainstream narratives depicting (totally) blind people who create visual art have repeatedly used the supercrip trope. For a seeing audience this trope highlights the screen character’s extraordinary skill and perseverance in creating aesthetic artefacts despite lacking – what is presumed to be – the essential sensory input. This type of representation fails to portray the diversity and complexity of individual character traits but conveniently place blindness at the story’s center; this turns the artistic process into a metonymized surface manifestation of ‘abnormality’ and ‘otherness’. My own documentary practice explores filmic strategies that bypass the supercrip trope through emphasizing the ‘everydayness’ of the artistic creation process. The aim is for a seeing audience to experience the creation process as an ordinary, everyday act – amongst many others – in which the blindness is neither foregrounded nor ‘backgrounded’. This is illustrated in relation to my documentary Terry (2017), a film that represents a blind artist’s painting process through narrative fragments and the depiction of improvisation and failure. These strategies evoke the multi-layered and heterarchical plurality of everydayness, which potentially reduces the formation of the supercrip trope. This methodology can be applied to a variety of disability contexts prone to perpetuating the supercrip stereotype.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.18061/dsq.v38i3.6485
Subjects: Film and television > Film theory
Film and television > Filmmaking
Media > Media history and theory
Film and television > Screen studies
Depositing User: Catalin Brylla
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2018 18:58
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:56


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