Digital Documentary Practices – Topical paradigm shifts and the potential of emerging configurations | 24./25.04.2020

This workshop is a kick-off to further develop the research network 'The Documentary and the Digital', focusing on interactive documentaries. Based on the hypothesis that these offer new forms of engagement at the intersection of fields such as digital journalism, serious games and VR, we will explore transdisciplinary approaches to the potential of emerging practices to negotiate complex issues.

Datum: 24./25.04.2020

Uhrzeit: Am 24.4.2020: 13-18 Uhr; am 25.4.2020: 9-18 Uhr

Veranstaltungstitel: Digital Documentary Practices – Topical paradigm shifts and the potential of emerging configurations

Veranstaltungstyp: Workshop/Kick-Off der von da an regelmäßig stattfindenden Netzwerktreffen

Veranstalterkategorie: BMBF

Veranstalter: PD Dr. Anna Wiehl

Ort: Universität Bayreuth

Mehr zur Veranstaltung:

After more than two decades of digital documentary practices, one thing has become clear: 'New media documentaries' – whatever they may be like – need not necessarily not only look but also feel fundamentally different from linear documentaries, as Gaudenzi (2014, p. 283) notes. Intersections with digital journalism, theatre, serious games, social media activism, interventionist media making, citizen sciences and artistic research become more and more influential.

In her review of I-Docs: The Evolving Practices of Interactive Documentary, Zimmermann enumerates what 'doing documentary' stands for at the present moment:

The "i" (in i-docs) represents a vortex of ideas spanning "information", "interactive", "immersive", "intention", "innovation", and "indeterminacy". This process flips the traditional vertical structures of media production into horizontal, iterative, never finished modes that reify the user as a participant and co-creator.

(Zimmermann quoted in Aston and Odorico 2018, p. 65)

Though this quote gets at the heart of interactive documentary practices – namely the diversity and multiplicity of actual phenomena – it incites following-up questions, among others:

  • What is the epistemological status of 'information' convened by interactive documentary configurations?  What has become of documentary's 'truth claim' in times of fake news and 'war on information'?
  • What does 'the Interactive' imply in terms of structural participation, content creation and concepts such as documentary voice (Nichols 1983)? What role does polyphony play in this context (Aston and Odorico 2018)?
  • Does immersion – especially in the field of VR documentary – really entail greater empathy (Milk 2015)? What about the hype and/or hope around non-fiction VR (Rose 2016)?
  • What is the intention of documentary configurations? Is it maybe not rather the process of 'doing documentary' and the performance of interventionist media making than the artistic outcome that has moved into the center of attraction?
  • Does technological innovation automatically bring artistic invention? Do we need to develop new modes and modalities of interactive storytelling or is rather time to remember some of the takes on the documentary mission from documentary pioneers?
  • And finally: is it possibly in documentary's indeterminacy that its greatest potential lies?

Contributions from both theory and practice are welcomed. Please send abstracts (300 words) and short bios (150 words) to documentarydigital@gmail.com till 28.02.2020.

The workshop, sponsored by the BMBF, is a kick-off to build the research network The documentary and the digital (Das Dokumentarische im Digitalen – DiD), focusing on the widening spectrum of interactive documentary practices. It sets out to develop a transdisciplinary methodological instrument to analyze the potential of emerging practices to negotiate complex issues and to stimulate participation in topical discourses.