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Documenting Complexity

What societal role do documentary makers strive for, and how do they employ new recording and presentation technologies like Virtual Reality, 360-degree cameras and drones? In this project, we conduct action research: we co-produce a documentary about the open city. We research changing working methods in how documentary makers represent complex societal issues.

What societal role do documentary makers strive for, and how do they employ new recording and presentation technologies like Virtual Reality, 360-degree cameras and drones? In this project, we conduct action research: we co-produce a documentary about the open city. We research changing working methods in how documentary makers represent complex societal issues.

Foto: Sergio Souza

This project researches how documentary makers employ technology to capture and respond to societal challenges within cities and empower citizens to act. Documentary makers, particularly those with artistic and activist motivations, are crucial creative actors when researching societal complexity. Since the invention of cinema in the 1880s, filmmakers raise questions around reality, truth and representation. These questions have become even more pressing given society’s complexity and new technologies allowing recording of the world in highly specific ways: Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR), 360°- cameras, drones, action-cams, and 24/7 live-streams.

We ask how documentary makers strategically employ technology to capture the perceived complexity within cities and empower citizens to act on the basis of these creative productions. That is, what is the role of technological innovation within the production processes of contemporary documentary, and how exactly does the use of such new means affect issues around representation, immersion, authorship and advocacy?

This project is financed by NWO Smart Culture - Kunst en Cultuur

Project Partners

Groningen University, Hogeschool Utrecht, Beeld en Geluid, WORM, VersPers, MU Eindhoven