Language in and out of context

This is a two minute clip of two high school students speaking about their experience with language. I selected this clip to address Collier’s notion of cultural identity in context. Collier argues that “Good research images contain complexity, they record associations and relationships, they are often unremarkable and take time to read” (3). In selection of this clip the intent was to communicate associations and relationships and therefore provide cultural and historical contexts for these young women. Both women discuss their experiences with bilingualism at school, at home, and with family members. My interest is in how much the audience can ascertain about the stories of these young women. How much of what is surmised is given by the students in the interview? How much is revealed by the camera lens?
I began the video in the middle of the conversation with the first student Maria. The hope here was to uncover what a viewer could deduce from what was being said without having the initial question. The camera lens informs the viewer that these are students, as they are filmed in a library, and a classroom respectively. The purpose of the initial research project was to uncover the relationship between mobile phone use and academic achievement. One secondary goal was to discover the connections between the mobile and transnational identity formation. Belinda the Chinese speaker informs the audience that her language is decreasing as she is unable to speak it as often, while¬† Maria talks of her determination to learn and speak Spanish. I cropped the video in order to remove as much of myself from the image as possible and to showcase Maria’s mobile phone. The mobile phone is featured at the end of Maria’s video to highlight the relationship between it and her language use. There is no mobile in Belinda’s video as she says she does not utilize it often other than to speak with her parents.
It seems that through the editing process the meaning and context can be altered. This raises questions for me about Collier’s concept of drawing conclusions from the entirety of the visual. The researcher through video production can alter and therefor frame/reframe the visual. Isn’t this necessary in order to have a complete product? How much does editing impact what the camera sees?