Today's political, technological, and aesthetic landscapes are rife with landmines. In this embattled milieu, leftist filmmakers and conservatives struggle for control of the national imaginary. Amid unprecedented mergers and consolidations, political conservatives have launched major attacks against the National Endowment for the Arts, the Public Broadcasting System, state arts councils, and other sponsors of oppositional programming. Meanwhile, developing technologies like satellites and the Internet have not only altered and globalized communication but also offer untapped possibilities for reconstructing democracies. All of these events signal a radical transformation in how we will view the world in the decades to come.In States of Emergency, Patricia R. Zimmermann describes the shifting terrains socially engaged documentary artists and experimental filmmakers encounter in the aftermath of these changes. Public space has been chiseled away and politically conscious documentaries forced to go underground. Viewing an array of subjects (including the wars in Bosnia, Chiapas, and the Persian Gulf; Japanese internment during World War II; homelessness; race; and reproductive rights) through technologies ranging from high-end video, camcorders, cable access, digital imaging systems, and media piracy, Zimmermann creates an explosive montage of colliding ideas and events. In combative terms, she charts the intricately layered relationships between independent documentary, power, money, and culture, and also analyzes how media artists use new technologies and radical media practices to undermine cuts in support and conservative backlash.States of Emergency anchors documentary into asocial and historical context that shows the complex connections among audiences, filmmakers, funders, and subjects in the fascinating and fraught milieu in which they coexist. Zimmermann passionately and convincingly argues that the survival of democracies and public spaces is inextricably fueled by the robust endurance of documentary and other insurgent forms of communication.