A Valuable Life: Reterritorializing Genetic Disability in Australia & the Documentary 18q
In her defining discussion of risk in reference to the emergence and increasing proliferation of genetic screening technologies Tremain draws upon the work of a number of writers including Ewald (1991), Dean (1999, 175-197) and Hacking (1999) in furthering her argument "that the constitution of prenatal impairment, by and through these practices and procedures, is a widening form of modern government that increasingly limits the field of possible conduct in response to pregnancy" (2006). Rather than confronting these notions "head-on", 18q - a valuable life, the first substantial filmic work exploring a rare chromosomal condition occurring on the 18th chromosome, seeks to present the lived experiences of people born with multiple disabilities. The acknowledged risks are seated (un?)comfortably with the until now, unrealised potentiality of persons born with genetic difference as moments of joy, triumph and sorrow are captured on film. The notion of risk, using Deleuze and Guattari's(1983) sting of the wasp and beauty of the orchid as metaphor, is analysed on two levels. The risks involved in the production of an autobiographical documentary film dealing with those deemed vulnerable are explored whilst the risk of an imagined future is postulated whereby prenatal diagnostic technologies and modern government policy succeeds in further narrowing Tremain's responses to, or in Deleuze and Guattari's context, alternate lines of flight (1987), resulting in the eventual eradication of persons born with genetic difference.
To Be Advised
Film and Television