Abstract

Abstract:

In recent years, the concept of the border has undergone profound transformations and become central to a broad debate investigating the complexity of its political and social practices. The centrality of the border topic in public debate has contributed to the development of something akin to a “frontier cinema” or, better, a propensity for “filming at the border.” This essay investigates political borders as media environments and seeks to develop the idea of the “border mediascape” as a new framework at the crossroads of multiple disciplines. A documentary film shot on the island of Lampedusa during the so-called European migrant crisis, the award-winning and critically acclaimed Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea, 2016) by Gianfranco Rosi, is used as a case study to reflect on the functioning of technological devices placed along borders and, thus, on the geopolitics of environmental media. The original take this documentary offers on the media devices that operate along national borders—as well as on the environmental, social, and political effects of those technologies—is an aspect that has gone unnoticed by critics. Watching this film through the eyes of media and border studies provides the opportunity to conceive contemporary national borders as a form of geopolitical asymmetry implanted in media technology.

pdf

Share