Cleaning the Glass
by Brett Kashmere
Exploding the cine-essay into a desktop documentary, Cleaning the Glass considers how the relationship between sports, politics, race, and media has changed over the past half-decade. Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest of police violence prior to an August 2016 NFL exhibition game between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers – registered through his refusal to stand for the playing of the national anthem – sparked a torrent of media attention, debate, criticism, pushback, emulation, and adaptation that continues to ripple throughout the current NFL season, the larger football community, and the sports world beyond. Much of the ensuing conversation has centered upon whether it’s appropriate for athletes to take positions on, to give voice to, social concerns. It seems to me that what’s at stake in Kaepernick’s action, aside from its immediate focusing on issues of racial injustice, is the right to free speech in the NFL (and professional sports more broadly), and its regulation. Who has voice, what are the forms that it takes, and how is it mediated? Here, the computer screen serves as a site for the staging of research and thinking through media.
Brett Kashmere is a filmmaker and writer living in Oakland, California. Combining archival research with materialist aesthetics and hybrid forms, his work explores the intersection of history and (counter-) memory, sports, and popular culture. Kashmere is currently a PhD student in Film + Digital Media at University of California, Santa Cruz. He is also the founding editor of INCITE: Journal of Experimental Media.