2016, Nov 14: Katerina Cizek talk on "Interactive Documentary Filmmaking"

Lai-Tze Fan edited this page Nov 14, 2016 · 10 revisions

November 14: Talk by Katerina Cizek

"Interactive Documentary Filmmaking" (Concordia University, Canada)

Description of talk

Opening Notes

  • going around the circle to introduce everyone: cinema host, William Robinson, Gina Hara, Tony Higuchi, Kalervo Sinervo, Andrea (film production), Ben Gattet
  • Cizek identifies as a documentarian, media- and platform-agnostic
    • just interested in what documentaries can do to engage in current issues and debates
    • project of note: Seeing is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights, and the News (2002)
      • on the use of tech to document human rights issues
      • a tool for human rights training
      • integration of using the camera to engage in NAKAMATA traditional activities--such as ritual sacrifice of chickens
      • footage from this documentary was used in a murder investigation through police

LF Q: what is the relationship that people and novice filmmakers in developing countries have to these technologies and to the sharing of video clips through documentaries or online or otherwise?
* I'm thinking about this question in relation to issues of access and digital divide, which shape our specific relationships to technological devices and cultures
* see the answer in the Question Period section below

  • Mobileyes: NYC project on theory and software on how HR people can co-witness through live stream technologies
    • themes of solidarity and alliance

Interventionist Research

  • worked with Challenge for Change for five years: addressing their issues in a digital age

  • from working with paramedics to at-risk patients such as homeless pregnant women

    • specifically: address issues of health services
    • changes in social work and policy affected provincial levels of government
  • project: NFB Filmmaker-in-Residence trailer


Highrise Project (Emmy winning)

- see more about the Highrise project

  • Out My Window documentary
  • 360-interactive project on highrises in 13 cities around the world
    • working with local photographers and journalists
  • 2006 project using flash: not an open system, but very accessible bc every computer had it
    • less elitist in issues
  • looked at the trailer; really get an idea of the spatial dimensions of the apartments and lives

LF Q: what technology did you use to document the 360 perspective of Out My Window?
- street-view camera from Holland that was adopted
- later adopted for an installation

  • worked with six residents in Toronto to provide perspective of what it was like to live there
  • had an event featuring these six residents, like a poetry slam with photos and for anyone interested in the nature of the city
    • bridges between residents and architects interested in renovating these spaces
    • resulted in One Million Tower

One Million Tower as a project to bridge them together

  • paired with WIRED and received immense global response

TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) contacted Cizek to do posters for the subway.
  • presentation Q: "How to condense 2000 years of history?""
    • reference to Tower of Babylon
    • old media, new media, storybook touch-doc
    • haptic interaction with the photographs from the New York Times basement archive and photograph archive (photos taken by Cizek)

Digital Lives

  • Cizek wanted to know about more than the six original residents

  • fourteen residents contacted to talk about their own and to find out about other residents' DIGITAL LIVES

  • final instalment of Highrise: HIGHRISE/Universe Within: Digital Lives in the Global Highrise

    • Web GL interest has diminished since; and if there is interest, there is no where to play with it
  • now working at MIT on co-creation studio: MIT Open Documentary Lab


Question Period

  • Kalervo asks about possibility of obsolescence for platforms and software for some of these project
    • Flash being the example that Cizek mentioned herself
  • A: these projects already owned by the NFB (National Film Board), and they're looking into it
  • Will asks: what does interactivity bring to documentary? And what do you lose (like pacing, artistic control)
  • A: too often people attach documentary to film, Cizek is not of that school
    * equates doc to the Internet, to democracy--and plenty to explore of its culture and language created for conversation
    * you can't necessarily do that with linear documentaries
  • LF: this is an issue of medium-specificity that I love!!!!! (see Katherine Hayles; see film studies on med spec)

  • my Q: what is the relationship that people and novice filmmakers in developing countries have to these technologies and to the sharing of video clips through documentaries or online or otherwise?

  • A: it becomes so common, in comparison to the hyperbole of tech phenomena (like mobile phone and having Internet in our pocket)
    * tech moves so quickly from being magical to transcending our human experience to being closer to god
    * ritual and deep appreciation with which tech is accepted in the community
    * could be framed in a colonial lens: are people in the West coming in and saving downtrodden people with these tech?
    * Mozilla working on interviews and access issues with first-time Internet users, mostly by mobile, leapfrogging desktop PCs
    * first entry-point into the web
    * Facebook trying to offer first entry-point through Facebook specifically, so that first-time web users have difficulty differentiating between Facebook and the web
    * we need to stay close to the front lines of the digital divide, which has changed so much even from 5-10 years ago
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