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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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TAGS

collaborative storytellingdigital storytellingdocumentary experimentsdocumentary filmmakingdocumentary formdocumentary practice • documentary research • documentary series • emerging techniques • emerging technologiesfilmmakinghybrid forms • immersive storytelling • interactive 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
24 JUNE 2015

i-Docs: website of this emerging interactive documentary form

"You will find a number of definitions and points-of-view on what constitutes an interactive documentary. At this point in the development of this fast-moving field we feel that it is important to have an expansive definition that can embrace the many different kinds of work that are emerging. The i-Docs site includes coverage of projects that you may find elsewhere described as web-docs, transmedia documentaries, serious games, cross-platform docs, locative docs, docu-games, pervasive media. For us any project that starts with an intention to document the 'real' and that does so by using digital interactive technology can be considered an i-doc. What unites all these projects is this intersection between digital interactive technology and documentary practice. Where these two things come together, the audience become active agents within documentary – making the work unfold through their interaction and often contributing content. If documentary is about telling stories about our shared world; we are interested in what happens as the audience get more closely involved in this way. At the heart of i-Docs is the question; what opportunities emerge as documentary becomes something that is co-created?"

(Digital Cultures Research Centre at University of the West of England)

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2011 • active agents • active audienceBristolco-creator-ship • cross-platform docs • design for the screen • Digital Cultures Research Centre • digital storytelling • docu-games • docufiction • document the real • documentary formdocumentary practicedocumentary truthhybrid formshypermediai-Doc • i-Docs project • interactive digital narrativesinteractive documentaryinteractive multimediainteractive storytelling • Jon Dovey • Judith Aston • locative docs • online multimedia • our shared world • pervasive media • Sandra Gaudenzi • serious gamestheir stories • transmedia documentaries • University of the West of England • UWE Bristol • web-based documentary • web-docs

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 MAY 2012

Open Space: non-profit artist-run centre in Victoria, British Columbia

"Founded in September 1972, Open Space is non–profit artist–run centre located in Victoria, British Columbia. For over thirty years, Open Space has supported professional artists who utilize hybrid and experimental approaches to media, art, music, and performance. As an exhibition and performance centre, Open Space reflects the wide diversity of contemporary art practices in Victoria, across Canada, and beyond. Our commitment to contemporary artists is an inclusive situation, embracing work by artists of different disciplines, media, generations, cultures, and communities.

Open Space supports experimental artistic practices in all contemporary arts disciplines, acting as a laboratory for engaging art, artists, and audiences."

(Open Space Arts Society Vision Statement, 2010)

Fig.1 "Video as a Cultural Metaphor" Artist: Chris Creighton–Kelly, Date: March 9 and 10, 1979.

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19721979art • artist-run • artists • artists of different disciplines • British ColumbiaCanada • Chris Creighton-Kelly • communitiescontemporary art practicescontemporary artists • contemporary arts disciplines • cultural metaphorculturesdiversity • engaging art • engaging artistsengaging audiencesexhibition centre • experimental approaches • experimental artistic practices • generations • hybrid formsinclusiveinstallation artmediamusicnon-profitopen space • Open Space Arts Society • performance • performance centre • professional artistsvideovideo art • video as a cultural metaphor • visual arts organisations

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 APRIL 2012

Pictures Under Glass: sacrificing tactile richness

"As it happens, designing Future Interfaces For The Future used to be my line of work. I had the opportunity to design with real working prototypes, not green screens and After Effects, so there certainly are some interactions in the video which I'm a little skeptical of, given that I've actually tried them and the animators presumably haven't. But that's not my problem with the video.

My problem is the opposite, really – this vision, from an interaction perspective, is not visionary. It's a timid increment from the status quo, and the status quo, from an interaction perspective, is actually rather terrible. ...

I'm going to talk about that neglected third factor, human capabilities. What people can do. Because if a tool isn't designed to be used by a person, it can't be a very good tool, right? ...

Do you see what everyone is interacting with? The central component of this Interactive Future? It's there in every photo! That's right! – HANDS. And that's great! I think hands are fantastic! Hands do two things. They are two utterly amazing things, and you rely on them every moment of the day, and most Future Interaction Concepts completely ignore both of them. Hands feel things, and hands manipulate things.

Go ahead and pick up a book. Open it up to some page. Notice how you know where you are in the book by the distribution of weight in each hand, and the thickness of the page stacks between your fingers. Turn a page, and notice how you would know if you grabbed two pages together, by how they would slip apart when you rub them against each other.

Go ahead and pick up a glass of water. Take a sip. Notice how you know how much water is left, by how the weight shifts in response to you tipping it.

Almost every object in the world offers this sort of feedback. It's so taken for granted that we're usually not even aware of it. Take a moment to pick up the objects around you. Use them as you normally would, and sense their tactile response – their texture, pliability, temperature; their distribution of weight; their edges, curves, and ridges; how they respond in your hand as you use them.

There's a reason that our fingertips have some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the body. This is how we experience the world close–up. This is how our tools talk to us. The sense of touch is essential to everything that humans have called 'work' for millions of years.

Now, take out your favorite Magical And Revolutionary Technology Device. Use it for a bit. What did you feel? Did it feel glassy? Did it have no connection whatsoever with the task you were performing?

I call this technology Pictures Under Glass. Pictures Under Glass sacrifice all the tactile richness of working with our hands, offering instead a hokey visual facade."

(Bret Victor, 8 November 2011)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 MAY 2011

Monkey Magazine: a new publishing vernacular?

"In the future, as depicted in the 2002 film Minority Report, our periodicals will create interactive, hybrid reading/viewing experiences–with built–in sound and motion–based commercials rather than static advertisements, incorporating news footage with pages that dissolve and re–form to reflect breaking stories. Despite minute gestures in that direction, such as the Amazon Kindle and G24, The Guardian's PDF newspaper that's updated throughout the day, that vision of media–if there's really a market for it–is a long way off. ...

Nevertheless, something ... is now available weekly from Dennis Publishing, the company that gave the world The Week, Maxim and several other British 'lad magazines' as well as launched their American spin–offs. Monkey is proportioned like a glossy, has an interface that mimics the turning of pages and even has a magazine–like layout: margins, a basic two–column grid, images combined with text and print–like pacing. The difference is that Monkey's text sparkles (literally, if not figuratively), dances and slides onto the page. Many of the photos will turn into movies or slideshows (some rather naughty) when clicked, and on some spreads users can shuffle page elements, substituting one image for another. The format also changes to serve its content. A small mini–magazine with short reviews is digitally 'stitched' into the 'middle' of each issue. Additionally, most advertisements come alive, thanks either to Flash, streaming video or some combination, showing previews of movies or commercials for products framed by the equivalent of a full–page ad.

To be sure, Monkey does nothing that isn't done on other websites, and it has formal predecessors for its page interface–the arty This Is a Magazine, for one, and the webified versions of print glossies from Zinio for another. But unlike the wider web–which has evolved its own vocabulary and conventions for storytelling–and other web magazine predecessors–for which the turn–the–page interface seems a formal conceit–Monkey truly blends old and new media design conventions in a way that is both appalling and appealing."

(Jandos Rothstein, 29 January 2008)

Fig.1 Monkey Magazine, 2011. Dennis Publishing, Issue 183, pp.8,9.

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Adobe FlashAIGAAmazon Kindleanimated presentationcelebritycontent formconventions • Dennis Publishing • design aestheticsdesign conventionsdesign for the screendesign vocabulary • digitally stitched • e-zine • experience design • ezine • formal conceit • G24 • hybridhybrid experiencehybrid forms • lads mag • magazinemagazine layout • Maxim (magazine) • mens magazine • mini-magazine • Minority Report • Monkey Magazine • motion-based commercials • multimedianaughtynew medianews footagenewspaper • page interface • page metaphorpaginationpastiche • PDF newspaper • pin-upprediction • print glossies • print-like • publishingreading experience • screen dissolve • sexslide showstorytellingstreaming videoThe Guardian • The Week (magazine) • This Is a Magazine • triviaturn-the-page interfacevernacularviewing experiencevisual communicationvisual languagevisual vernacularweb designweb magazineweb vernacularwebified • webzine • Zinio (magazine)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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