Browsing Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. Issue 15: I-Docs as Intervention: The Poetics and Politics of Polyphony by Issue Date
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- ItemExercising radical democracy: the crisis of representation and interactive documentary as an agent of change(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2018) Husak, AmirThe utopian promise of the digital era and the seemingly open, democratic power of the Internet have raised the hopes of activists and documentarians alike. The immediacy, reciprocity and accessibility of the emergent communication technologies appeared to be particularly suitable for media projects that aspire to mobilise for action, engage communities, and challenge the existing power structures in order to have direct influence on policy making. Over the last ten years, a whole new crop of documentary projects involving new modalities and unorthodox ways of knowledge production came into existence. Interestingly, the rise of this particular form coincided with the global economic crisis and a number of social and political upheavals of epochal proportions. Documentary representation, like all other forms of cultural expression, was not immune to those shifts. This article looks at the ensuing crisis of representation as linked to contemporary documentary practice, and examines some of the ways the new, web-based forms of documentary use polyvocality to engage their audience, build communities, and mobilise in struggles for social change. It features several examples and draws on the existing documentary theory, as well as the implicit, yet rarely invoked, links to the so-called “relational art”.
- ItemI-docs as intervention: the poetics and politics of polyphony(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2018) Aston, Judith; Odorico, StefanoThe idea for this special issue of Alphaville originated at the i-Docs 2018 Symposium, held in March 2018 in Bristol, UK, where we jointly convened a discussion on the potential engagement of the interactive documentary (i-doc) form with Mikhail Bakthin’s expanded concept of polyphony. As part of this, we presented a series of provocations with a view to generating a new theoretical framework for i-docs.1 These provocations were inspired by all aspects of Bakthin’s polyphony, from both a theoretical and a practical point of view.
- ItemPolyphony in practice: an interview with Sharon Daniel(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2018) Daniel, Sharon; Aston, Judith; Odorico, StefanoMedia artist Sharon Daniel has been involved with the i-Docs community since its inception—having presented her online documentaries and works in progress at all five i-Docs symposia that have taken place since 2011. We consider her to be a central and inspirational figure within this community, for whom the concepts of polyphony and heteroglossia are key to her ongoing practice. Here we build on her own previous references to these terms, in order to explore with her in more depth how polyphony and heteroglossia play out through her work. We also ask how and why she sees this approach to “cultural democracy” as an ever-moreurgent form of activism and intervention.
- ItemEnacting polyphony: an interview with Florian Thalhofer(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2018) Thalhofeer, Florian; Aston, Judith; Odorico, StefanoFlorian Thalhofer is a documentary filmmaker and the inventor of Korsakow, a software to create a new form of film and a principle to create a new kind of story. Florian’s system allows video makers to create nonlinear and interactive films and to tell stories through a number of links generated by keywords. Thalhofer’s Korsakow films include Planet Galata and The Other Fun Stuff. Starting from a SNU (Smallest Narrative Units, as he calls them) his film are polyphonic representations of our world. Florian gave a keynote at the first i-Docs Symposium in 2011, and has been an active and deeply committed member of the i-Docs community ever since.
- ItemBeyond “toolness”: Korsakow documentary as a methodology for plurivocal interventions in complexity(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2018) Wiehl, AnnaThe hypothesis underlying this article is that new documentary practices potentially enable new forms of mediation allowing all interactors to experience complexity and deal with contingency in a world of polyvocality through multilayered configurations. An exploration of the Korsakow documentary Racing Home (Marianne McMahon and Phil Hoffman, 2014) brings into focus the epistemological and ontological status of these assemblages. A central issue is the question of how significantly specific modes of editing in Korsakow affect the overall experience for both the authoring instances and for the user-interactor: not only the authorship is shared between the interrelated agents, but also the heterogeneity of materials from various sources adds to the complexity of the assemblages. Central research questions include the role that polyvocality and algorithmic editing play in Korsakow, its specific embracement of contingency and its probing of nonlinear narratives. The answers provided through the analysis of the case study lead to the conclusion that Korsakow is more than just a tool to promote a special purpose and/or a platform to distribute material. Rather, Korsakow is best seen as a methodology to approach complex matters and provide multiple affective and cognitive ways to respond to them.
- ItemWhen Movies Were Theater: Architecture, Exhibition, and the Evolution of American Film, by William Paul(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2018) Corrigan, Tober; Mulvey, James
- ItemExperimental polyphony: on the media ecological research of intermediate bodies(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2018) Fetzner, Daniel; Dornberg, MartinOur media-artistic performances and installations, INTERCORPOREAL SPLITS (2010-2013), BUZZ (2014-2015), WASTELAND (2015-2016), as well as our new collaboration with Bruno Latour, DE\GLOBALIZE (2018-2020), are not just about polyphony. Here, however, we rediscover them under this heading, thus giving them a new twist, while mapping out issues, mechanisms and functional modes of the polyphonic.
- ItemAbbas Kiarostami and Film-Philosophy, by Mathew Abbott(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2018) Houck, Kelly; Mulvey, James
- ItemThe poetics and politics of polyphony: towards a research method for interactive documentary(2018) Aston, Judith; Odorico, StefanoThis article stems from a panel we jointly convened at the i-Docs 2018 Symposium, where we presented a series of provocations with a view to generating a new theoretical framework for i-docs. These provocations were inspired by all aspects of Mikhail Bakthin’s concept of polyphony, from both a theoretical and a practical point of view. This article presents these provocations and reflects further on them. A number of key issues are documented, expanded and commented upon, as a potential framework for further research, including multiplicity, the chronotope, dialogism and interaction. We propose that these lead to new ways of approaching complexity. With the aim of using juxtaposition, nonlinearity and layering to break down binaries, the article demonstrates how complexity can be embraced and, crucially, how the simplicity within it can be revealed. In other words, a key proposition here is that we should accept and celebrate complexity as the natural order of things, without needing to deny simplicity. By investigating several theoretical aspects of Bakthin’s wider idea of polyphony, this article identifies some areas for potential development and offers input for further research, particularly in relation to the concepts of heteroglossia, carnival and aesthetics
- ItemAuthoring Hal Ashby: The Myth of the New Hollywood Auteur, by Aaron Hunter(2018) Godfrey, Nicholas; Mulvey, James
- ItemRediscovering “wonder” through i-docs: reflections on “immersive” viewing in the context of contemporary digital/visual practices(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2018) Favero, PaoloFrom the invention of geometrical perspective onwards images have, in a Western context, been characterised by a specific politics and epistemological ambition. Solidified by the invention of the camera, “our” images have separated the observer from the observed, the mind from the body, allowing for what has been considered a “neutral” observation. “New images” (i.e. images produced with emerging digital visual technologies) are today posing a challenge to such conventions. Relational, material, haptic and immersive by nature,such images go hand in hand with new image-making practices characterised by nonlinearity, interactivity, participativity and immersivity. The present article explores this emerging terrain in the context of the documentary form. Moving back and forth in space and time, hence comparing image-making practices that belong to different cultures and epochs, the article engages with the key political and epistemological challenges of the documentary image in the contemporary digital habitats.
- Item“Looking Out”: The 2018 Association for Art History’s Annual Conference(2018) McIver, Gillian; Abbatescianni, Davide
- ItemThe Shore Line as polyphony in practice: a case study(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2018) Miller, ElizabethThe Shore Line (2017) is a collaborative interactive documentary that features over forty individuals from nine countries who are confronting the threats of unsustainable development and extreme weather along our global coasts. In addition to video profiles the site features dynamic maps, visualisations, and soundscapes. In this case study, producer and director Elizabeth Miller discusses how the polyphonic attributes of i-docs are ideal for classrooms and how she designed the site with educators in mind. She defines polyphony as the creative engagement of voices, authors and forms towards a common objective and shares the strategies and challenges of engaging her target audience—teachers invested in sustainability.
- ItemThirty speculations toward a polyphonic model for new media documentary(Film and Screen Media, University College Cork, 2018) Zimmerman, Patricia R.
- ItemFeminist Film Theory and Pretty Woman, by Mari Ruti(2018) Guilluy, Alice; Mulvey, James