SSMF 2022: “Pause”

Pandemic Pause

Projects in this panel attend to the impact that pause/ing has on different bodies, communities, and spaces. From stories of living with disability during a pandemic and practices of pause by disabled people to understanding pause as a disruption, this panel brings in perspectives on pause/ing as a political action, a necessary condition and a deliberate attention to slowing down.

Moderated by Rabani Garg, University of Pennsylvania
Saturday, March 26, 1:30 PM — 2:45 PM Eastern

Disability and the Pandemic: A Community Media Project

Kelly C. George
Immaculata University

Disability and the Pandemic is a collaboration with community media and disability advocates in the Greater Philadelphia area to collect and publish stories of living with disability during a pandemic. Between January and June 2021, we collected 16 interviews from participants. Some lost friends or loved ones. Others experienced illness, homelessness, unemployment, or the loss of vital services. All described rich stories of coping, community, family, and finding meaning. Our community media partners worked with these interviews to publish 9 articles, most by writers who self-identify as disabled. Audio clips, photos, and full transcripts are available at the linked website.

Kelly C. George, Ph.D. has worked with disability advocacy and cultural organizations since 2005, using interviews, focus groups, and ethnographic research to better understand the experiences of people with disabilities in terms of outreach, cultural practice, and public history. She is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Immaculata University.

Shifting into Slowness

Sonaksha Iyengar

What does it mean to shift your art practice from one fuelled by the demands of fast paced social media platforms, to one that makes space for a pause? What does it mean to suddenly see the rest of the world discussing a pause, when disabled people have been practising, experiencing and sharing it for many decades now? What are the ways slowness and care intertwine with each other? Through their illustrative work in the last few years, Sonaksha has been sitting with and visually exploring these questions and messages. Their illustrations use a combination of texture, typography, soft and vivid hues and diverse genders and body-minds to create a world grounded in slowness, gentleness and community care.

Sonaksha Iyengar is a fat, queer, chronically ill and disabled illustrator, graphic recorder and book designer. They use art to participate in building social justice movements, and work with organizations defending human rights and the environment. They are currently dreaming and drawing about disability justice, care, fat liberation and queerness while living in Bangalore, India where they are often found in the aisles of bookstores, or eating paint. You can find some of their work on or on @sonaksha on Instagram and @sonakshaiyengar on Twitter.

Front Line

Gino Canella
Emerson College

Front Line is an 8-minute documentary that profiles the historic nursing strike at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. At the center of the strike is the concern about staffing, specifically the high nurse-to-patient ratio that nurses argue makes it difficult to provide adequate care for patients. According to the Massachusetts Nurses Association, the union representing the nurses, negotiations with Tenet Healthcare—the Dallas-based, investor-owned healthcare corporation that owns St. Vincent—have failed to address the staffing issue. This documentary examines the strike from the perspectives of nurses.

Gino Canella, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of journalism at Emerson College and an independent filmmaker. His research and creative works examine how activists use media production and distribution to interrupt social, political, and journalistic discourses about race and labor and build progressive solidarity.

I’m the Boss

E. Gabriel Dattatreyan
Goldsmiths, University of London

Pranavesh Subramanian

I’m the Boss is a short film that documents groups of young men who pass their time making TikTok and Reels videos in Delhi, the capital city of India. The film, which moves between an observational realist mode and the hyper-performed TikTok videos of the young men the film documents, offers a reading of gender performance in Delhi’s TikTok hotspots – places in Delhi that have become visible and desirable as a result of on-location shoots by influencers.

Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, NYU. He co-edits, with Patricia Alvarez Astacio and Arjun Shankar, the Multimodal Section of the American Anthropologist, is a member of the Goldsmiths University Press Editorial Board, and a member of the Film Committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute. For almost a decade Gabriel has utilized collaborative, multimodal, and speculative approaches to research how media consumption, production, and circulation shape understandings of migration, gender, race, and urban space.