Ok, I know I should try to be a little objective about i-Docs… but actually I really think it was a fantastic day!!!
The room was full, people seemed to be very happy to be there (numerous people came to us to say how happy they were that such an event could finally happen), we had both speakers and audience coming from all over the world… and we managed to mix a variety of worlds (academic, producers, broadcaster and artists) around a same topic. Not bad really!
I suspect I could give a summary of the day… but you know what? I was so involved organizing, chairing panels and making sure that things went smoothly that I find it difficult to step in the shoes of the reporter/blogger. If you want to know more about the presentations do check out tweets with the #idocs2011 code – or check the following blog entries:
i-See: five i-Docs to explore by John Wyver at Illuminations
Linear thoughts from i-Docs by Alex Butterworth for Illuminations
What I can tell you are the thoughts that are in my mind now that I am back in London – and the excitement of the day is less in the forefront of my emotions:
1. YES we were right to think with Judith Aston that this is the right momentum to gather together people interested in idocs. The enthusiasm and number of delegates on Friday stands as a proof.
2. YES in the last 2 years there has been an explosion of idocs: it might be the result of the famous convergence (finally happening), of TVs loosing their young audiences, of interactive producers wanting to experience with new genres and of some cultural institutions, like Canadian NFB, pushing the genre with ambitious and fully funded projects… whatever is the reason: idocs are now here to stay and expand.
3. YES idocs do spread in so many directions and territories (art, anthropology, journalism, factual video, participative media, games… you name it…) that it is difficult to define where the borders are between an idocs and an interactive project that has some factual elements. But does is matter? Why should we pin down a fluid expression of reality that is just at its infancy? People like me, Arnau Gifreu, Siobhan o’Flynn and Andre Valentim Almeida (+ so many others that I do not know of yet!) are trying hard to give definitions for the genre, but this is because it is our job – we either teach or are doing our PhDs- or both! So: welcome taxonomies and possible definitions of the field for the observers of the field… but really: what matters is to keep experimenting with new ways of using interactive media while speaking about reality! The discussion should not be “is interactive documentary better of linear doc”, nor ” is this project interactive gaming or interactive documentary”… but rather “how is our vision and understanding of our world changing through the use of new media?”, “how do we shape our reality when we use new media to portray it?”.
4. Once we move away from the need of defining idocs and finding a sub-genres (as I actually do in my PhD!) we can start concentrating on issues that are vital to id0cs producers:
> should we user test idocs and how?
> financial matters: who are the players, where is the money, crowd funding, self-distribution versus broadcaster etc…
> legal matters: copyright in participative docs, creative commons etc…
> ethics: who is responsible in collab docs, logics of moderation etc…
Those could well be nice workshop topics for next year’s i-Docs….
5. The amount of examples of idocs that we have seen at i-Docs is impressive, and to those we have to add all the ones we have not talked about… it is virtually impossible to keep track! What would be nice is to do a Global Portal about idocs, a place where we could collaboratively blog and archive what is going on. This was discussed on Saturday’s morning session and we will probably come back to you all soon with a few propositions. Watch this space…
I think this is it for now… I’ll add more when my ideas are clearer…
I welcome anybody that was at the conference to leave a message… it would be great to hear your voice!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011