[lit-ideas] Re: Research Down Under

  • From: "Judith Evans" <judithevans1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2007 00:47:18 +0100

QUT is bound by Australian research ethics rules.  I'd say the video may
well have
broken them (even though the QUT committee passed it), i.e., fully informed
consent was not, I think, obtained.

Incidentally (or not...) following the row and as a result of the publicity,
project's title, 'Laughing At The Disabled', has been changed to 'Laughing
The Disabled'.  (So that's all right then.)

DR> > "Professor X your thesis student wants to make a movie that puts
> mentally disabled people in situations that a reasonable person would
> call demeaning.  Why should we allow this?"

> "The project explores tensions in the area that lies on the border
> between what is taboo and what is funny.  Like all good art, it takes
> risks but the intent is to imitate Borat's strategy

I hold no brief for 'Borat' but would point out one major difference.  If
Cohen wanted to expose attitudes to disabled people he would not do it by
in a disabled person to meet bigotry.

Also as Robert said

>only, for example, to visit Joe's Bar, which is just
>around the corner, and eavesdrop. Art has no special priviledge when
>it comes to demeaning, mocking, ridiculing, and embarrassing the
>mentally disabled. Many of them live their lives being seen as The
>Other, and thereby as fair game for the jibes of fools. Examing their
>reactions to this would seem to be the province of psychology, not art

I'd add that were the disabilities physical and were 'full informed consent'
obtained I'd still be uneasy about sending in a student with fairly severe
cerebral palsy (but who could walk, albeit very unsteadily) to run the gamut
of jibes about drink and drugs, video the results, show it to others.
And I'd worry about power imbalances affecting
the consent (see the Australian rules).

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