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Institute Graduate Students Screen Documentary Film

November 2010

Institute on Disabilities at Temple University graduate student, Lindsey Martin and former Institute graduate student Julia Fuller, both students in the School of Communication and Theatre, have created documentary that was screened at the recent annual conference of the Association of University Centers for Excellence (AUCD).

PHOTO: Lindsey MartinThe documentary, titled Every Speed, was conceived during a Disability Studies course which filmmakers attended during the fall 2009 semester. It was first screened at the Society for Disability Studies Annual Conference held on the campus of Temple University in June, 2010. Lindsey Martin says that the audience at the AUCD conference screening was quite different. "We had some interesting questions at AUCD. It was nice to see how people in different disciplines reacted to the subject matter."

Here's how Lindsey and Julia describe their work:

Every Speed is an experimental short documentary that explores able-bodied and disabled perspectives on body movement, technology, and dependency. The underlying premise is that all humans are dependent on some form of technology to assist their movement through the world and that they are largely unaware of this dependency. "Every Speed" examines how technology differentiates and unites able-bodied and disabled people and how basic rights are often assumed based on socially constructed ideas of dependency and cost.

Every Speed questions how public and individual transportation is valued, in terms of cost and significance, how it shapes ideas of temporality, in terms of distance and waiting, and how it can be a communal or personal experience and even shape identity. These themes are explored through voice-over interviews with both able-bodied and disabled individuals and the technique of rotoscoping - tracing individual frames of video and creating an animated sequence - which is used to breakdown the concepts of symbiosis, dependency, and the effects of various technology on body movement. The imagery consists of several types of transportation and people on escalators, waiting for elevators, and riding bicycles.

PHOTO: Julia FullerIn the biking sequence, people are exercising, walking, and biking, along the river. In this case, the purpose of movement is not for transportation but for personal benefit and health, leisure, and socializing. The rotoscoped biker without his bike shows the movement of his body without its apparatus and leads the viewer to focus on how he interacts and moves in response to the walkers. The effect of the rotoscoping also leads the viewer to hone in on the micro movements of the walkers and to perceive a familiar scene in a new way.

Every Speed considers the design and accessibility of cities and transportation as well as the personal experience of movement. It analyzes ideas of dependence in relation to cultural assumptions and physical ability and how this idea affects meanings of movement for both able-bodied and disabled people.

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