The Domestication of Disability Stereotypes through Film

Catalin Brylla

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper presents my current practice-as-research, which explores the cinematic representation of disability, domestic space and the everyday through documentary film.The portrayal of blindness in Western culture has largely constituted of stereotypical representations, branding blind people as either unfortunate, disabled, traumatised and deprived, or exotic, mysterious and supernatural (Barasch, 2001). This exclusive focus on the 'extraordinary' has come at the expense of omitting the 'ordinary'. Corbella and Acevedo (2010) state that “it is infrequent to find characters with visual impairment represented as people who do housework, go shopping, or travel; that is, coping with the everyday tasks that are common to all people”.Accordingly, the notions of 'ordinariness' and 'domestic life' prove valuable for representing blindness in ways that transgress stereotypical portrayals. My documentaries endeavour to map blind people's subjectivity through studying their everyday domestic practices, as well as domestic artefacts in which they invest emotion and feelings (Baudrillard, 2005). According to Miller (2010), attention to home life domesticates abstract theory (literally and figuratively) in order to produce genuine insights into how we ordinarily feel at home. Following this pragmatic approach, my documentary projects treat the domestic space of the characters as an embodiment of their subjectivity that translates into a metaphorical viewing experience for the audience. Consequently, the audio-visual treatment proposes a shift from ocularcentric ways of perception towards synaesthetic modes of experiencing the home and the everyday.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationN/A
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jan 2014
Event Domestic Imaginaries: Homes in Film, Literature and Popular Culture Symposium. - University of Nottingham.
Duration: 31 Jan 201431 Jan 2014


Conference Domestic Imaginaries: Homes in Film, Literature and Popular Culture Symposium.


  • disability
  • domestic
  • documentary


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