Comics online: Detention and white space in a guard's story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Copyright © 2016 The Johns Hopkins University Press and the University of Calgary.This paper explores the intersections between online comics, biopolitics, and the experimental form in "At Work Inside Our Detention Centres: A Guard's Story," published by The Global Mail. It begins by noting the domestic Australian context in which the comic is published and the risks taken by the anonymous narrator in sharing the experience with the story's creators. The analysis argues that the narrative intervenes in public debate by bringing to light encounters between guards and detainees who are mostly excluded from recognition in the broader mediascape. The essay suggests that in this way, the narrative draws attention to "states of exception" that repress knowledge about the plight and rights of refugees and asylum seekers by depicting some of the traumas experienced by detainees and their guards. By undertaking a detailed examination of the mechanics of "A Guard's Story," including the use of white space and scrolling, the essay demonstrates the productive capacity of comics to explore and provoke questions about aesthetics and the representation of biopolitics and human rights, particularly in the digital domain. Specifically, I argue that the complex use of white space instantiates a multidirectional relationship between the reader and the characters of the text and that the reader must actively interpret the use of space as it evokes multiple physical and psychic spaces that disrupt a simple reading of the work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-357
Number of pages21
JournalARIEL
Volume47
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

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