A critical look at the use of video evidence in the U.S. judicial system

by Sandra Ristovska

From cell phones to police body cameras, todayʼs courts increasingly use video evidence. Yet U.S. courts lack clear measures on how video can be used and presented as evidence in court in ways that reduce biases in judgment. My project, Through the Lens of the Law, examines the use of video as evidence in state and federal court trials in criminal, immigration, and ‘American Indianʼ law (1990-2020). It argues that when the law assumes that seeing is intuitive, it risks replicating, and indeed justifying, a wider politics of exclusion based on markers of identity and belonging. Funded by a Mellon/ACLS Fellowship, it is conducted in remote residence at the American Bar Associationʼs Scientific Evidence Committee (2021/2022).

This work was made possible through the B2 Creative Residency Program. Learn more here.

About the Artists

Sandra Ristovska

Sandra Ristovska studies the interplay between images and human rights, particularly in institutional and legal contexts. A 2021 Mellon/ACLS Scholars & Society Fellow, she is the author of Seeing Human Rights: Video Activism as a Proxy Profession (The MIT Press, 2021) and co-editor of Visual Imagery and Human Rights Practice (Palgrave, 2018). She has also produced, directed, filmed, or consulted on several documentary films. As a result of her commitment to multimodal forms of scholarship, she is a founding member and a past co-director of the Collective for Advancing Multimodal Research Arts (CAMRA) at the University of Pennsylvania.

Darija Medić

Darija Medić is a digital practitioner, artist, and a PhD student in Intermedia Art, Writing, and Performance at CU Boulder. Her work focuses on media/tech policy, art education, and curation. She has worked as a researcher and producer at DiploFoundation, creating links between critical digital art and policy, including the curation and production of the international exhibition Inside Internet Corridors for the Internet Governance Forum in the United Nations in Geneva in 2017. A past project manager at Napon – Institute of Flexible Cultures and Technologies, she has served as an associate researcher at kuda.org since 2019.

Rory Fitzgerald Bledsoe

Rory Fitzgerald Bledsoe is a PhD student in Media Studies with background in law and art. They have won numerous awards for their art work including: 30 Under 30 Emerging Artist in 2014 (Greater Boston Area); 2017 Best Art Show Selection for From URL To IRL (Boston Art Review); the City of Boston Fay Chandler Emerging Artist Award in 2018; and an Artist-in-Residency at Flux Factory in 2019. They also founded and directed an experimental domestic gallery Space One Two One (SOTO) from 2017 to 2019, which focused on showing work by historically underrepresented artists.