Reading 10

The reading is:

Dovey, Jon, and Mandy Rose. “We’re Happy and We Know It: Documentary, Data, Montage.” Studies in Documentary Film 6.2 (2012): 159–173. You’ll find copies of at the University of West England eprint repository.

This essay is from the same journal issue as the very first reading from Aston and Gaudenzi. This journal appeared in 2012 and is one of the very first collections dealing specifically with interactive documentary. Dovey has done research in hypertext, games, cinema, video, and interactive documentary. Rose is a former film maker/producer who know works between academic projects around interactive documentary while also being a production consultant/producer of interactive documentaries in the United Kingdom.

Reading 09

Apologies for the lag. This is the reading to be done for the coming week (week 10). It is online only, and is Will Luer’s chapter in the Database Narrative Archive anthology. (This anthology has just been put on the reading list for a new interactive documentary course at MIT.) The chapter is readily available online, and is called “Plotting the Database“.

Luers, Will. “Plotting the Database.” Database | Narrative | Archive: Seven Interactive Essays on Digital Nonlinear Storytelling. Ed. Matt Soar and Monika Gagnon. N. p., 2013. Web.

Reading 08

This is an extract from:
Shields, David. Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. New York: Vintage, 2011. Print. (Extract, PDF.)

Shields is a creative nonfiction writer, and this is a fantastic book. Why are we reading this? Because it is all about what in film is called editing, and in Korsakow might be thought of as linking via keywords. What Shields thinks of as collage. Could have been written for this subject.

Readings Update

In that glow of refreshed vigour that is post chocolate-holiday-mid-semester-break-easter-pagan-festivals-of-renewal I thought it would be good to remind us all of where we are up to with readings. The readings are listed in simple numerical order, and we are now entering week 8 (of 12, so the semester is 75% done) and so there are 7 readings to date. Why 7? Because there was no reading set for week 1. All the readings are listed under the readings category (clever, eh?) and so by now you should have finished the Matt Soar and be ready for Bettina this week Frankham’s recent thesis. The next reading will be available later today, which is for next week.

Reading 07

This is an extract from a PhD that was completed in 2013 at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), basically it’s RMIT’s sister university. The PhD is by Bettina Frankham, and is about poetic approaches to documentary. Seth and I heard Bettina present at the Visible Evidence conference (its one of the major international conferences dedicated to documentary) in December 2012 in Canberra where she gave a great talk about lists and interactive documentary.

The citation is:
Frankham, Bettina Louise. “Complexity, Flux and Webs of Connection.” A Poetic Approach to Documentary : Discomfort of Form, Rhetorical Strategies and Aesthetic Experience. (2013): PhD Dissertation, University of Technology Sydney. (Extract, PDF.)

You can also get the whole PhD.

Reading 06

The next reading is hot off the press (the book came out about two months ago) and is by Korsakow research leader Matt Soar about Korsakow. The reference is:

Soar, Matt. “Making (with) the Korsakow System: Database Documentaries as Articulation and Assemblage.” New Documentary Ecologies Emerging Platforms, Practices and Discourses. Ed. Kate Nash, Craig Hight, and Catherine Summerhayes. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 154–73. Print. (Get the PDF.)

Reading 05

Yep, running late this week. This is a ‘high’ academic paper, which means a cinema studies paper written in the style beloved of cinema and cultural studies. Some complicated bits. However, it is useful because it is another essay that discusses how to classify something (in this case ‘essay’ films) – you can see that academics can spend plenty of time arguing about what things mean, my refrain this semester is, has been, will be, let’s think about what things do then worry about what they mean – and that she tends to argue that if you end up with a definition as complex and vague as you need for an essay film, then it just gets a bit much really. Why read it then? Well, note how we can think of the essay film as a particular sort of conversation between your material and your audience – this matters much more than whether it is film, voice, image, picture, text. As we learn the basics of Korsakow the next step, and the point of the rather rote learning we’re doing at the moment, is to make something more complex. So how can we think of the Korsakow project you will start shortly as an ‘essay’? And what sort of documentary is an essay, with its combination of the subjective, personal, reflective, and reflexive. Along with that particular list we can also begin to think about a Korsakow film as an essay, but not only an essay between the ‘film’ and the audience/user, but also as a conversation it can have amongst itself. As clips can now exist in different, multiple relationships, with each other we can think of this as being like a conversation that the parts of the film can have with itself, while simultaneously having some sort of conversation with your audience.

The reading is: Rascaroli, Laura. “The Essay Film: Problems, Definitions, Textual Commitments.” Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media 49.2 (2008): 24–47. (PDF).

Reading 04

The last readings (Bordwell and Thompson) was about narrative, documentary, non narrative and experimental film. The things we want to think about for Korsakow, and our Korsakow films, fall closer to non narrative and the experimental. One way to think about what then to “narrate” (in scare marks as it isn’t really narrative) and as a method to compose such works in Korsakow is through the idea of the list. So, this week’s readings, which I confess are on the academic scale at the upper end, begin from Ryan’s outline of narrative and story, where we can see that diaries and the like might not, for her, fit the definition. This definition, which is independent of any particular media (unlike Bordwell and Thompsons), also emphasises the role that the reader has, where the reader’s attribution of ‘intent’ (so understanding what ‘intent’ is is important) is the clincher.

From Ryan there is an extract from the computer game and platform studies scholar Ian Bogost. He is a materialist media scholar, who argues that to understand software, media, and so on it is not enough to pay attention to meaning but also to what the things are, and what they can do. A method he proposes to begin to do this is ‘ontography’, and in the extract he discusses how lists are not narrative, and what they might do. Listing, in some form, turns out to be a very practical way to approach making, and reading, Korsakow films.

Finally there is a supplementary reading from material media archeologist Wolfgang Ernst. This is heavy going (well, he is German), and like Bogost, Ernst argues that simply studying media from the point of view of what they mean (whether sociopolitically, as texts, or for audiences doesn’t much matter) very much misses what they are.

[Extract] Ryan, Marie-Laure. Avatars of Story. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006. (PDF)

[Extract] Bogost, Ian. Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing. Minneapolis: University Press of Minnesota, 2012. Print. (PDF)

Supplementary Reading (mega advanced)
[Extract] Ernst, Wolfgang. Digital Memory and the Archive (Electronic Mediations). Ed. Jussi Parikka. Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2012. Print. (PDF)

Reading 03

After some readings about interactive documentary and historical examples of the relationship of cinema and documentary to technology now we turn to basics. While reasonably long this is simple to read, and many of you will have read this already. It is from Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 2013. Print. (PDF here.)

I’ve put them all into the one document but they are an introduction to narrative, then an introduction to experimental film, and the last bit is about documentary, nonnarrative, and two nonnarrative documentary forms. We want to make more visible to ourselves what a narrative actually is, and then to think about what experimental practices can teach us to better see the role of multilinearity in general, and for our Korsakow films specifically.

Reading 02

The first reading was recent work that discusses what might be different about interactive documentary. We started here as we are working in the area of interactive documentary this semester, though we are more interested in multilinear networked making more specifically and broadly than interactive documentary per se. Interactive doco is what we will make, we will think about it quite a bit, but we’re making these doco’s as much because they let us quickly engage with other things than with just documentary…

So, the second reading. Let’s be explicit here, the subject lets us test ideas, and to explore new things. As was said in formally and informally, that includes the teaching staff. Here we bring in our current research and think, with you, about it. So, the second reading looks very interesting and is something I’ve mentioned in my own work regularly. It is the relation of Astruc’s concept of caméra-stylo and new technologies of making. Astruc wrote a long time ago, but the ideas seem to provide us with ways to think about what is happening now, while also reminding us that while a lot has changed dramatically, some deeper things have not.

Set Reading

Sørenssen, Bjørn. “Digital Video and Alexandre Astruc’s Caméra-Stylo: The New Avant-Garde in Documentary Realized?” Studies in Documentary Film 2.1 (2008): 47–59. EBSCOhost. Web. 19 Sept. 2013. (Get it while it’s hot.)

Supplementary Reading

Sobchack, Vivian. “Nostalgia for a Digital Object: Regrets on the Quickening of QuickTime.” Mille 34.Fall (1999).. (This one’s still warm from the oven too.)

This second reading is interesting because it explores in a positive way what and why video on a computer is, isn’t, could be, and so on. Nice way to approach video online precisely not as wannabe TV or cinema.

Reading 01

The first reading, which is a sort of scene setting moment, is Aston, Judith, and Sandra Gaudenzi. “Interactive Documentary: Setting the Field.” Studies in Documentary Film 6.2 (2012): 125–139. (You can find a copy of this in the shoe box.)

A supplementary reading is Hight, Craig. “The Field of Digital Documentary: A Challenge to Documentary Theorists.” Studies in Documentary Film 2.1 (2008): 3–7. (You can find a copy of this in the shoe box.)

Aston and Gaudenzi are two practice based researchers in the area of interactive documentary and two of the key people behind the very active and significant i-docs project. Hight is a near neighbour (New Zealand) who, with Kate Nash (formerly Tasmania, now with the i-docs crowd in Leeds), has been publishing work around interactive documentary locally.

Things to think about: what do the authors claim to be new, or different, about interactive documentary? What sorts or types of interactive documentary do they suggest currently exist? How are these different sorts described or defined? Do these differences appear to matter to makers? Audiences? Both? How?