Hannah and Kim are HDR candidates in the School of Media and Communication, members of the non/fictionLab, and collaborators on the Docuverse project.
Voicing the Alone: polyvocality and cartography in the expanded field of documentary
“Can we cohabitate with you? Is there a way for all of us to survive together while none of our contradictory claims, interests and passions can be eliminated?” (Bruno Latour)
The concept of voice has long been discussed in documentary, with its equations to authorship, participation, form and style. However, the traditional linear documentary form often produces a voice that is fixed, singular and causal, thereby restricting a broader cartography of a topic.
With a movement towards more experimental, interdisciplinary, non-linear and participatory forms, other conceptions of voice are better enacted. This polyvocality allows multiple inflections of themes, ideas and stories as well as the translation of voices that might be conflicting, confusing, quiet or dissenting. It also allows for a rethinking of our social relations through Latour’s idea of cohabitation.
Drawing on my own reflective practice as a researcher and filmmaker, and my current interdisciplinary work The Alone Project, I will examine how other voices might coexist through various approaches to form and participation.
This practice allows the multiple inflections on the theme of aloneness, from the euphemistic to the dysphemistic, from the positive associations to the feared. It also explores aloneness and how it relates to how we live in the world, together or not, the difficulties of communication, the attempts at connection, the performance of the self and relationships to people and things.
In this presentation, I will discuss how a polyvocal approach to documentary matters through its engagement with multiplicity and rethinking of the relation between self and other.
Negotiating Mess: A Multilinear Approach to Aesthetic Noticing for Interactive Documentary
Restlessness, palm trees, grey buildings, suburban landscapes, blue sky backdrop, pinkness, traffic jammed highway, six months of winter. As I walk to University I am simultaneously noticing, thinking, walking, breathing, and listening. My practice uses listing as an approach to make interactive documentaries that attempt to negotiate the messiness of the everyday. Mess considered as, from the Oxford dictionary, a situation or person “that is confused and full of problems.” The world is messy because it is full of coexisting confusions and problems that are impossible to understand or solve. If linear documentaries corral footage into a story, with a beginning, middle, and end, do multilinear documentaries bring us closer to negotiating the rhythms of mess?
John Law, Ross Gibson, and Lev Manovich from the contexts of social science, arts practice and new media respectively, variously describe the world as messy. Law describes the world as “slippery, indistinct, elusive, complex, diffuse, messy, textured, vague, unspecific, confused, disordered, emotional, painful, [and] pleasurable”. Gibson suggests “complexity defines everyday experience evermore emphatically in our globalizing economies”. Manovich considers the world as “an endless and unstructured collection of images, texts and other data records”. A multilinear approach to interactive documentary appears to engage with the messiness of the world. As Gibson notes interactive works “matter because they give us a chance to sense directly how complexity works”.
Using the Korsakow authoring software I have developed a multilinear approach to documentary which takes noticing and listing as methods to allow multiple, simultaneous relationships between interconnected video parts. For this talk I will use an interactive documentary I have made to discuss how my approach to multilinearity may give us a sense of complexity. I will provide a way to make interactive documentaries that comes close to engaging with the messiness of experience.
We are encouraging people to come along, give feedback, and listen in on some work that is happening in the field of expanded documentary within the non/fictionLab.
These talks will be taking place in the Honours Lab in Building 9, at RMIT.
Building 9, level 2, room 6.
Thursday 28th of July