"American technological artist Jonathan Harris is well-known for combining a love for computer science, storytelling and statistics to experiment and create beautiful projects that reflect on human society – think back to We Feel Fine, The Whale Hunt, and Balloons of Bhutan, to name just a few. In the last year alone, he launched an inspiring community for storytellers called Cowbird, whose mission is to document the human experience."
The director of "I Love Your Work" tells the philosophy and approach to reality that drive his work.
Interesting point of view on the interactive documentary from the artist who expanded the webdoc horizon (5':58")
"Sheffield has diversified its proposition this year to reply to the growing complexity of the field… so it has expanded and spread throughout several days. As a result the Crossover Summit is not “the day” anymore, but just one of the many interactive propositions of the week"
by Sandra Gaudenzi
Finally some news from one of the most popular showcases of the year -and a bit of clarity on the chaotic tweets flow for those who are not physically on site
Abi Wright shares her notes from the recent discussion hosted by ONA-NYC and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in May.
"The future of documentaries is less about finding new ways to tell the story but using the tools that exist to tell great stories. That’s the conclusion of the Future of Documentary Storytelling panel that was hosted by ONA-NYC and the duPont AwardsMay 30, 2013 (...) They advised storytellers to understand audience engagement, the range of digital technologies that can be adapted to tell non-fiction stories and the importance of a narrative regardless of its platform."
"The interest in non-fiction digital narratives is growing everywhere but in the case of Barcelona, at least until this week, there hasn’t been so much activity packed into such little time. On the one hand an informal meeting of creators and, on the other, a workshop dedicated to interactive documentaries within the DocsBarcelona festival have made it clear that there is a lot of interest in exploring this field."
A report on recent initiatives that have turned the spotlight on the webdoc in Spain.
"We have a theory that web-native stories will be especially good for bridging inspiration and action. That is: if you get really good at web-native storytelling, you will be able to more effectively mobilize an audience to go fix the world.
This seed of an idea brought us into partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute, with support from Ford Foundation, to produce a week long “Storytelling Innovation Lab.”
Not film but "web-native" storytelling... times are changing.
"There are many ways to express new ideas that can hopefully inspire others to challenge the traditional norms: published works, a landmark invention, a polarizing figure.
Well, we're not sure if this presentation by two of Zeega's founders, Jesse Shapins and James Burns, will go down as a milestone in transmedia, but their Web Documentary Manifesto… let's just say it was one of the more entertaining moments of the day.
"Following her attention-getting debut documentary Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo,Jessica Oreck has recently set her lens on reindeer herders with the doc Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys (which played at this year's Tribeca Film Festival).
But along with that Oreck also created The Aatsinki Season, an online companion to the film that was developed during a P.O.V. hackathon.
This episodic online doc takes us deeper into the lives and stories of the characters we find in Oreck's film.
Here Oreck and Mike Knowlton, co-founder of Murmur, the company behind the interactive design and programming of the site, talk about the project. So "cowboy up" as Knowlton puts it, and check out this video."
Seven minutes presentation to explain the genesis of The Aatsinki Season. Shame about its brevity.
"I have just returned from delivering a workshop on i-docs at the Freiburger Film Forum, alongside Florian Thalhofer, inventor of the Korsakow system.
It was great to see Florian again and our respective talks sparked a lively discussion between us on the evolution of interactive documentaries. As two of the pioneers in the field – Florian having invented Korsakow over fifteen years ago and me having completed my PhD thesis on interactive multimedia in 2003 – we both had a lot to say on the current state of play with i-docs and on the possibility of a ‘linear turn’.
I provide here the key points that we discussed, as a provocation for further discussion and debate."
by Judith Aston for i-Docs
The linear storytelling has once again become a dominant model at the expense of alternative and experimental forms?
The recent works as Alma or Operation Ajax betray in some ways the innovations introduced by experimentation or act for one of many possible ways?
A reflection that I believe will find answers just in the march of time...
"Documentaries are constantly evolving and adapted to technology across many platforms. The interactive documentary can take many forms and sits across a multitude of platforms. It is only limited by the creator. Many of the documentaries below may sit across more than one platform, I have titled them under the heading which they would be more commonly known as."
"It all depends on my audience, of course. They are not sitting there in the flickering dark listening quietly like in a movie theater. They interact with me and have a habbit of interrupting my story with a comment or two – and usually a funny one. It breaks up my rhythm, and I have to be aware of what they are saying in order to continue my story. I need to use it to keep my momentum."
Flash thoughts concerning interactivity, storytelling and platform from StoryPlanet Blog
"Interactive documentaries come in many different forms, some of their textual structures adhering rather closely to long established narrative traditions; others, explicitly taking the form of mini-narratives that the user can move among and link;
and still others offering rich if disaggregated possibilities to the motivated participant, who can connect the dots into a narrative experience.
Some projects (Alma: A Tale of Violence [Miquel Dewever-Plana & Isabelle Fougère, 2012] is a strong case; Bear 71 [Jeremy Mendes & Leanne Allison, 2012], a weaker one) are essentially retellings of past events and lead inexorably to certain fixed conclusions, despite the fact that users may navigate multiple the routes to that end state. These forms share qualities of the traditional narrative (a definite story arc based on past events, a narrator), even as they encourage excurses and wandering.
Others (Planet Galata – A Bridge in Istanbul [Florian Thalhofer & Berke Bas, 2010] and Question Bridge: Black Males [Johnson, Thomas, Smith and Sinclair, 2012]) require the user to wander and navigate at their own pace, exploring the spaces, characters and issues that they find interesting.
The makers have made choices about what to include and offer structures to help shape and lend coherence to the user experience, but there is no preordained conclusion or story arc other than that conjured up by the user."
A new and interesting analysis of William Uricchio starting with the big question of what constitutes the narrative up to the "ways to rethink the place of imagination in the domain of the non-fictional".
In our last episode, I talked about how transmedia storytelling projects and technologies (such as second screen apps) seem to be getting traction in Hollywood, and the need for Experience Designers to effectively build the stuff that actually goes...
A very interesting analysis on the Experience Design.
"L’interactivité, elle, trouve dans le principe commun à Pékin sans transition et au Printemps d’après une façon de s’exprimer, de rendre à l’utilisateur sa part de réelle d’interaction dans l’interface, c’est-à-dire la singularité que son action pourra modifier dans le cours mouvant de la narration.
Ces deux œuvres partagent d’ailleurs un souci présent dans Alma : celui, presque maniaque, de bannir le clic de la souris.
Le clic, trop mécanique dans nombre d’œuvres, devient-il peu à peu le symbole d’une interactivité factice ?"
Excellent insight of Nicolas Bole for Le Blog Documentaire.
"[we discovered] that apps can help journalists see, explore, and report on the world in new and exciting ways. So while we did find one app that is a great example of how to do storytelling in the 21st century; many of the other apps we loved were tools designed for everyone, not just journalists. They all work great 'out of the box' but our challenge to photojournalists everywhere is to 'hijack' these tools; remix the technology to enhance your own storytelling and to make your media more social."
Apps which also help the documentary filmmaker cousins.
"While most of our attention was turned to the impending doom of Wall Street in 2008,Caspar Sonnen was out creating the IDFA DocLab which would help clear a path for incredible works like Bear 71, Alma and A Journal of Insomnia, which lead the way to a higher profile for the exhibition of interactive documentary. Here Sonnen looks at this expanding genre."