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24 MARCH 2017

MIT Open Documentary Lab: documentary is a project rather than a genre bound to a particular medium

"Drawing on MIT's legacy of media innovation and its deep commitment to open and accessible information, the MIT Open Documentary Lab brings storytellers, technologists, and scholars together to explore new documentary forms with a particular focus on collaborative, interactive, and immersive storytelling. The Lab understands documentary as a project rather than as a genre bound to a particular medium: documentary offers ways of exploring, representing, and critically engaging the world. It explores the potentials of emerging technologies and techniques to enhance the documentary project by including new voices, telling new stories and reaching new publics. ...

If we are indeed witnessing the emergence of a new form of representation, what can we broker from past moments of change to facilitate our move into the future? How can we evaluate this new work – what descriptive terminology and frameworks for assessment are most useful? What trends can we discern? What are the implications for style, authorship and the craft of filmmaking of these collaboratively sourced and edited moving images? And how can we work with our funding agencies, exhibition venues, and archival systems to give these new and often challenging practices a place in our cultural register?"

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collaborative storytellingdigital storytellingdocumentary experimentsdocumentary filmmakingdocumentary formdocumentary practice • documentary research • documentary series • emerging techniques • emerging technologiesfilmmakinghybrid formsimmersive storytellinginteractive documentary • interactive factual • interactive storytelling • media innovation • media maker • MIT Open Documentary Lab • new documentary forms • new publics • new stories • new voices • open and accessible information • reality-based storytelling • storytelling forms • the documentary subject • transmedia meta-documentary

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 JULY 2016

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom?

"Individual freedom is the dream of our age. It's what our leaders promise to give us, it defines how we think of ourselves and, repeatedly, we have gone to war to impose freedom around the world. But if you step back and look at what freedom actually means for us today, it's a strange and limited kind of freedom.

Politicians promised to liberate us from the old dead hand of bureaucracy, but they have created an evermore controlling system of social management, driven by targets and numbers. Governments committed to freedom of choice have presided over a rise in inequality and a dramatic collapse in social mobility. And abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempt to enforce freedom has led to bloody mayhem and the rise of an authoritarian anti-democratic Islamism. This, in turn, has helped inspire terrorist attacks in Britain. In response, the Government has dismantled long-standing laws designed to protect our freedom.

The Trap is a series of three films by Bafta-winning producer Adam Curtis that explains the origins of our contemporary, narrow idea of freedom. It shows how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today's idea of freedom. This model was derived from ideas and techniques developed by nuclear strategists during the Cold War to control the behavior of the Soviet enemy."

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2007 • A Beautiful Mind (2001) • Adam CurtisAfghanistan • anti-democratic • authoritarianismBBC Two • bloody mayhem • cold war • contemporary idea of freedom • controlling system • deterministic logicdocumentary seriesexplicit objectivesfreedom of choicegame theory • goal-oriented agenda • government policygrand political dreamhuman behaviourindividual freedomindividualismIraqIslamism • John Nash • limited kind of freedom • mathematical modelmetricisation • narrow idea of freedom • neoliberalism • nuclear strategists • operational criteriaoversimplificationpersonal freedom • point of equilibrium • rational self-interest • Ronald David Laing • self-monitoring • simplistic model • social inequality • social management • social mobility • Soviet Union • state control • systems theory • target-oriented agenda • targets and numbers • the dream of our age

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
12 JUNE 2011

David Lynch's Interview Project Probes American Dreams

"In Interview Project's mini–documentaries, filmmakers Austin Lynch and Jason S. sidle up to strangers and ask them piercing questions like 'What were your dreams as a child?' and 'When did you first experience death?'

For the 121–part online series, which launches Monday, the pair logged 20,000 miles criss–crossing the United States over a 70–day stretch, searching for random people to question about American life.

In a filmed introduction to Interview Project, producer David Lynch (Austin's father) says: 'There was no plan, really. The (filmmaking) team found people as they were driving along the roads, going into bars, different locations…. There they were. The people told their stories.'

A new three–to–five minute Interview episode will debut every three days for a year.

(30 May 30 2009)

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actuality • American dreamAmerican life • Austin Lynch • David Lynchdocumentarydocumentary seriesinterview • Interview Project • Jason S • mini-documentaries • mini-portraits • personal narrativepersonal significanceportraitshort documentaryshort subjects • shortfilm • social historysocial realitystrangerstheir stories • vox pop

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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