Tag Archives: education

Remix culture frames Remapping Europe

In Remapping Europe, we use re-mixing of media both as a tool as well as a cultural framework. The concept of ‘remix’ refers to a broad set of social and cultural practices consisting of the fragmentation, re-ordering, and re-contextualisation of both pre-existing and new content – whether text, sound or image.

url-3Perhaps as a result of the digital shift or perhaps simply as a sign of the times, creators today are working generally more inter-disciplinarily, less willing to define themselves by, or confine themselves to, a single discipline. Remapping Europe brings together film, video, live cinema, performance, media, remixed image and sound and reflects new audiences’ interests. The artists have different profiles complementing each other as media artists, performers, 3D animators, documentarians, musicians, DJs and VJs.

Remix culture frames Remapping Europe: de-constructing narrative(s), recreating new narrative(s) of representation, using D-I-Y forms of media production and appropriating mass media texts. It is a cultural operating system, in which existing audiovisual material and images are framed in a new context, juxtaposed and seen from a fresh perspective, revealing new visions on our past, present and future. Remix is also a tool that is accessible, reflects a multidimensional, rather than a linear interest, and encompasses everything from collaging to digital storytelling.

At its root, both Doc Next Network and Remapping Europe are intergenerational – looking at Europe as the intersection of generations rather than a division or gap between generations. The organisations on the ground have designed intergenerational activities for their communities and the project brought together the narration of the young creators with that of their parents and grandparents. It remixes and weaves the stories, contexts and perspectives of older generations through archival searching – confronting and interrogating them. A personal story becomes the centre of a more collective narrative. Because we are standing on the brink of the greatest generational shift that we have experienced in the western world, we must find intergenerational approaches and innovations – intergenerational knowledge sharing – rather than looking at projects, programmes or solutions that address ‘older’ people and others that address ‘youth’. The inclusiveness of our communities must also include generations.

url-4Many of these intersections raise questions and fuel debate, sometimes heated. Perhaps the most debated is the notion of the value of inter-experiential connections and knowledge – placing the voice of the expert alongside that of the ‘experienced’. The digital shift has played havoc with the comfortable hierarchies that we are accustomed to: between the writer and the reader; the teacher and the student; the amateur and the professional; the consumer and the producer; the institution and the individual. Accessibility of technology means that everyone can create and share their creation without any intermediaries – D-I-Y takes on a whole new meaning. However it is not just Do it Yourself – but it is also Do it With Others, or Do it Together. The subtitle of European Souvenirs, ‘Remixing media, crossing (shifting) borders’, also refers to these elements and intersections.

The increased opening-up of archives and collections to the public further enhances this potential – allowing people greater access to information and the ability to attribute their own meaning to it. Meaning becomes much more important that the information itself.

How do we make sense of it all though? How do we make our way through the masses of information and content? We do need increased media literacy – by the creators (the millions of them) and in the sifting and filtering ability of the audiences (millions more!). Given this caveat, it is our belief that the opportunities and benefits of open access far outstrip the challenges.

Remapping Europe is seeking a new generation of digital storytellers. Remix is both the conceptual starting point and the tool to remap Europe. The existing narrative of a single new image, photograph, recording, sound or story is ‘de-constructed’ from the individual perspective of the participant and a new imagery based on the original is then created. In his book, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, Lawrence Lessig (2008) ‘presents this as a desirable ideal and argues … that the health, progress, and wealth creation of a culture is fundamentally tied to this participatory remix process’.

As remix culture is becoming more acknowledged as an essential aspect of contemporary art and cultural practice, Remapping Europe – a Remix provides many opportunities to exchange, interact, to be involved and to ensure peer-to-peer learning. It goes far beyond the individual remix, the individual organisation, institution or community.

More about Remix Culture

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remix_culture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIY_culture
http://blogs.zemos98.org/abrelatas/2012/07/04/remix-culture-course/
http://www.europeansouvenirs.eu/why/
http://www.nfb.ca/film/rip_a_remix_manifesto/ (video)
http://blip.tv/good-copy-bad-copy/good-copy-bad-copy-full-feature-364089 (video)

This article contains texts from “Remapping Europe – a Remix: a case study in international and inter-institutional collaboration and networking” by Katherine Watson and Vivian Paulissen, to be published in “Migrating Heritage: Networks and Collaborations across European Museums, Libraries and Public Cultural Institutions” by Ashgate Publishing Ltd, Wey Court East, Union Road, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7PT, England.

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Daring to ask questions is crucial for networked societies.

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On behalf of Doc Next Network, Felipe G. Gil of ZEMOS98 spoke at the 24TH European Foundation Centre Annual General Assembly and Conference on 30 May in Copenhagen. The presentation was meant as a trigger to evoke debate amongst some of the leading foundations in Europe on questions we are facing as a network in our ambition to strive for social justice via inclusive public opinion, expanded education and free culture. So, the presentation was an honest –  brave! –  exercise in transparency about our challenges, doubts and opportunities.

Of course we are developing answers as we work! But we know that in asking the right questions to ourselves, we can really work on some great solutions. Does that sound ambitious enough? See the integral presentation here and leave us a comment if you have more questions, answers or just suggestions! Continue reading

BFI’s Doc Next Media Lab open for entries.

3b2efb2f-76a2-4df7-b347-6c310f6380bdt2_940_226_ScaleAged 21 to 25? Have experience making films? Read on…

BFI is looking for 10 filmmakers to become a part of our Doc Next Media Lab. As part of the Lab you’ll receive a £750 bursary, technical film training from professionals, tutoring on different documentary styles, methods and ideas, and the chance to develop and hone your art into something special. Continue reading

Remapping Europe Atelier Seville

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Within Remapping Europe, a Remix project, we organize international Ateliers in Warsaw, Istanbul, Seville and London. An Atelier is a safe place for young people with migrant backgrounds to reflect on the existing imagery in Europe and to contribute to this imagery with their own remix-ed media works.
Artistic remix performances (scheduled for 2013 and 2013) are connected to the process, the participants and the outcomes of the ateliers. Continue reading

Expanded Education – The English Edition

Somewhere between a fork and a spin-off, the notebook Expanded Education – The English Edition compiles a series of materials that revolve around the notion of expanded education and are related to the book that Doc Next Network hub partner ZEMOS98 published on the subject.

Click to download

Click to download

Education has always been one of the core themes of the ZEMOS98 project. Not just any old education, but the kind of education that is inseparably bound up with communication and that connects to and networks with other concepts such as audio-visuals, art and experimentation. Education as an element of on-going personal growth, that is not limited to one particular stage of life. Education as play, a way of unravelling the media theatre. Education as an open source operating system that turns us into critical citizens. Education as a game played by all individuals, from all eras. Education as a utopia for a culture-sharing society. When we talk about expanded education, we are not talking about a new concept or something that has just popped out of the blue. Continue reading

Download report ‘Learning To See’.

How is the function of film/photography changing and their working methods?
How to use the visual tools in a conscious, critical and thoughtful manner? 
How to follow the technological change wisely for the sake of promoting social change? 
How to apply pictures in social and cultural projects?

Questions like the above made us organise a Visual Seminar – an opportunity to meet for persons working with pictures, practices of looking and the contemporary culture in the broad sense: practitioners (animators/educators, authors) and theoreticians (anthropologists, sociologists, researchers) operating within the field of visual culture. Continue reading

Insights Into the “Interactive Documentary” Realm: An Introduction

I’m Paulina Tervo. I have been invited to write for the blog in the next few weeks around the topic of Interactive Documentary. Firstly, I would like to introduce myself and tell you a bit about my background. I work as a documentary filmmaker and interactive producer at Write This Down Productions. I was based in London until recently but in April 2012 I relocated to Istanbul with my husband and business partner Serdar Ferit (who I co-own Write This Down with). Not long after we arrived, we met Gokce Su Yogurtcuoglu, and got acquainted with MODE Istanbul and with Doc Next Network. Fast-forward 8 months and we are sharing an office and planning many interesting collaborations together. Su asked me to contribute to this blog, knowing that I am very passionate about this subject matter.

I was introduced to interactive documentaries in 2009 while I was a participant on EsoDoc. The idea of combining the power of the internet with documentary storytelling really excited me. I have always been more of a short documentary maker and I find that short stories can be very powerful. I wanted to experiment and see if I could take storytelling a step further and engage the audience in contributing to the story, giving them tools to make their own decisions about how they experience the story as well as build in ways in which they can get involved in making change.

As a result, in 2010 I started to develop a film idea into an interactive documentary (The Awra Amba Experience). Through this project, I have been exposed to a new world and learned a lot of things about gaming, web design, coding, interactivity and social media. Starting an interactive documentary project has been nothing less of enriching both professionally and personally. But more about my project later!

In this post, I want to briefly introduce interactive docs, including what’s currently going, and what some of the challenges are. Next week I will review a few of the web tools that are being developed for filmmakers wishing to make interactive documentaries. In my third and final post, I will go into the project I mention above in more detail.

In preparation for this post, I have been talking to my colleague Matthieu Lietart, from Not So Crazy! Productions in Belgium, whose book ‘Web Docs – A survival guide for online filmmakers’ is essential for anyone wishing to navigate their way around the web doc jungle. Matthieu says: “What is fascinating is that our audience can interact with our content and with one another creating communities or even social movements. The tools are there, so let’s see what we can produce to make social change happen!”

I highly recommend the book both as an entry point for beginners as well as a important reference tool to more seasoned media makers.

The genre of interactive documentary is very young. The first mention of it was in 2002 in France. It has since taken off particularly in France, where public institutions, such as the CNC award grants to interactive documentaries and where broadcasters and publishers including Arte, France 24 and lemonde.fr commission web documentaries.

Canada is another country where many innovative projects take flight. The National Film Board of Canada stands out as an early innovator in the genre, with projects such as Highrise, Waterlife and Bear 71 to their name.

In the UK, some broadcasters like Channel 4 and the BBC have been experimenting with interactive programming for a while, whilst organisations such as Power to the Pixel and Crossover have led the revolution on training and project development. Sheffield Doc Fest and the Pixel Market offer some of the best international pitching opportunities for interactive projects, attracting some of the biggest names in the industry. On the academic side, iDocs has been forging links between academia and practitioners, with their annual symposium in Bristol.

Over in America, technological innovation has emerged through organisations such as the Mozilla Foundation, who have for instance developed an open source web tool ‘Popcorn maker’, which I will review in my next post. On the funding front, Tribeca Film Institute is currently one of the only financiers of international interactive documentary productions (where no broadcast film is needed alongside the web component) through their annual New Media Fund.

On the festival circuit IDFA Doc Lab has been the pioneer of showcasing interactive documentaries ever since 2007. Next year, Tribeca Storyscapes begins a new transmedia program to showcase work that explores new forms of storytelling, highlighting innovation across a variety of platforms.

Workshops, labs and hackathons where filmmakers meet coders, web designers, game designers, app designers etc. are getting increasingly popular around the world. Labs and hackathons are great not only for networking but in fostering a culture of creative collaboration. If you are interested in this, I advise you to check out for example what POV and the Mozilla Foundation are doing: POV Hackathon and Living Docs.

There are many fantastic interactive projects out there and not enough space to mention them all. But here is a small selection of my favourites:

Out My Window by director Kat Cizek, NFB

The Johnny Cash Project by Chris Milk

At Home by the NFB

Gaza Sderot by Upian

We Feel Fine by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar

It is an exciting time to be a media maker. We have access to data and stories like never before. Yet, all of this presents a challenge for us. Suddenly, we are expected to take on a host of new roles. You can no longer just be a director but you have to constantly develop yourself to move with the times. You may also have to become a story architect, a web producer, and a community manager – all of these require a whole set of new skills.

Matthieu talks about another challenge filmmakers face:

“One of the biggest problems for many filmmakers is that there is no clear business model in the webdoc industry. Large experiments have so far only been possible thanks to help from film funds like the CNC in France or NFB in Canada, or broadcasters like Arte, France5 and VPRO. Yet, there are also many smaller webdocs that have been created using very innovative financial strategies. Today’s webdockers have to be open-minded and look for new partners and create new funding strategies. But remember that others made it and there are lessons to be learned from that…”

Some people say that web docs are a passing phase. Whatever the future may be, it is clear that the documentary genre is being reinvented. The internet offers us a chance to take the documentary out of its box and gives us new tools to tell stories. I think it’s time to put our egos aside, and put the user first. It’s time to open our minds to new kinds of collaboration across industries, and across continents. The revolution has started and there is no stopping it.

What to pay attention to when developing projects

1. Cross-over! Talk to and learn from people in other industries. It is important to forge partnerships and build a good team of experts in their respective fields.

2. Story is always the most important, technology should come second.

3. Use what the web has to offer and then you can create a truly interactive project – also think outside the box on how to engage the audience in offline events.

4. Find partnerships for distribution – link your story with existing stories, build relationships with online publishers and brands to get your story out there to a wide audience.

5. Small is beautiful – vast complex projects just confuse the audience. Sometimes it is the simplest projects that are most effective.

6. Put the user first – always think from a user’s perspective; how is their experience and what will they do when they first come to your site? Create different entry points to your story.

7. You will need to be multi-skilled and a great manager – you need to stay on top of the entire project all the time (this is not an easy task!)

8. Have fun! Experiment, try new things, don’t be afraid. Nobody has a formula as to what interactive documentaries are – be part of inventing it!

 

New Doc Next Theme: Interactive Storytelling.

Introducing a new Doc Next Network featured Theme for December and January: INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING.

At a time when interactivity is redefining the documentary landscape, Doc Next Network, as a movement committed to reimagining the notion of “documentary”, tackles the link between digital interactive technologies and documentary making by zooming in on interactive storytelling practices.

Promoting documentary as tool for communication as well as documentation, and forming a link between traditional media and the constantly developing world of free culture, Doc Next Network investigates interactive storytelling as a new model of exchange between young creators, providing them an alternative space to be inter-active, inter-participatory, and inter-dependent. 

Essentially, the interactive multimedia capability of the Internet provides documentarians with a unique medium to create non-linear and multi-linear forms of narrative that combine photography, text, audio, video, animation and infographics. Beyond that, with the development of new authoring tools, with HTML5 and open video possibilities, media makers are getting enabled to create a wider range of experiences and personal ways for the networked audience to tap into the narrative sphere of a documentary, giving them an active role in the negotiation of ‘reality’.

With the Do-it-with-Others (DiwO) approach deeply ingrained in our network, we believe these practices help the new generation of media makers create meaningful, socially engaged stories in a participatory framework by introducing new ways of interaction, conversation and sharing of ideas between and among their different communities, allowing them to compare the realities of different worlds and ultimately to present in novice ways alternative perspectives on contemporary Europe and beyond.

Social justice through free culture and expanded (media) education.” This is what we seek to promote and accomplish through our work as Doc Next Network. We welcome, investigate and help construct new approaches, methods and tools of storytelling to do just that.

The theme of Interactive Storytelling will run until mid January 2013.

ZEMOS98 PUBLICATION ABOUT EXPANDED EDUCATION.

In 2009 the ZEMOS98 Festival (partner in Doc Next Network) investigated the alternatives for formal education and other ways of expressing knowledge. 

This process, in which activists, educators and people from the cultural and social innovation sector participated, took place in the context of the international workshop ‘Educación Expandida’ (Expanded Education). That results were collected and documented on www.educacionexpandida.org, and have served as a starting point for a publication.


 

The book ‘Expanded Education’ –subtitle: education can happen anytime and anywhere- holds proposals for informal education, social activism and research in participatory processes. Expanded education is a concept that has been aknowledged by institutions and groups from various fields. To ZEMOS98, the greatest achievement isn’t the publication of the book itself, but continuation of the investigative process that began in 2009: ZEMOS98 wants to contribute to the development of expanded education by investing in anti-authoritarian and non-directional projects and methodologies.


Read more about the book here: http://publicaciones.zemos98.org/educacion-expandida-el-libro (download in PDF available)

Institutions changing for the better.

This post Innovation and institutional change for the reinvention of democratic practices (Imagining Europe) is written by Juan Freire and was originally posted on nomada.blogs.com.

imagining_europe_jfreire_1I participated recently in the event Imagining Europe organized by the European Cultural Foundation in Amsterdam. Specifically I was part of the roundtable and debate Reclaiming Public Space – Democratic Practices Reinvented? where we tried to put “[d]emocracy in Europe under the microscope” (here a resume of the activities of the day).

Farid Tabarki (founder and director of Studio Zeitgeist in Amsterdam)  was the moderator of the debate involving Peter Vermeersch (lecturer, poet, G1000 Belgium), Tiffany Jenkins (sociologist and cultural commentator, UK) and myself to explore alternative models for democratic practice in Europe. My intervention was focused in “Innovation and institutional change” trying to present ideas about these two questions:

  • How do the alternative models [organizations and processes based in bottom-up and networked dynamics] connect and / or collide with traditional political and cultural expression?
  • How can new initiatives develop sustainable and long-term ways of participation without losing their innovating character?

The following images (the set in Flickr; see credits below) and notes is a mostly visual resume of my ideas, that I prepared after a conversation with Farid Tabarki (that inspired and provided me with clever ideas):

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The new models of organizations and processes based in bottom-up and networked dynamics should be consideredexperimental. The only way to innovate and learn how to make effective the new practices and structures is to make them real and explore their possibilities. This means also that we need to allow failures as the only way to get real innovation. From my point of view, we should look especially to experiments occurring in two fields. Traditionaleducation is suffering a long-lasting crisis but many alternative models based in learning by doing and collaboration are emerging. Also, education is overpassing its traditional limits to be part of the agenda of culture, science or business; thelab is the new concept of space for experimentation, prototyping and learning.

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Political activism is other area of intense experimentation. Citizens are using technology and public spaces to organize themselves to discuss and make politics, sometimes in conflict with the traditional politics (represented by institutions and political parties), sometimes opening new opportunities for dialogue. The novelty here is the large scale and diversity of the citizen-driven actions taking place from 2010 worldwide (from Arab revolutions to #15M or the Occupy movements or to activism occurring in Israel or Chile to put only a few examples). These civic movements need spaces for communication, deliberation and collaboration and in this sense are reclaiming the re-appropiation of the public space by citizens.

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Alternative models could be not understood without the role of the Internet. They are not only digital phenomena; most of them are eminently analogical processes. However the Internet is a key element at least from 3 points of view. First as an infrastructure that allows the new network organizations and processes to be effective at a large scale.

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Second, the Internet has been the driver of the re-emergence of new practices and values, a new digital culture based in ideas as openness, peers, commons or collaboration and the rethinking of intellectual property.

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However the Internet is also a risk for these emerging phenomena because it is also a powerful tool for the power to try to control citizens, especially, but not only, in non-democratic countries. This is the other side of the impact of the digital; the balance between the pros and cons is not decided and will depend of the active roles of the different stakeholders.

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The new scenario changes the roles and outcomes of the different social collectives. In one side, probably a new class of excluded is emerging that it is very different from the traditional ones. The mid-class professionals usually working for big corporations and institutions are in many cases unable to understand and participate in the new models and as a consequence act as “stoppers” trying to keep their world as usual.

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Networked organizations are open and flexible but leadership continues to be necessary. A new kind of leaders emerge with skills different to the leaders of the past. They need to communicate using new media and empowering social networks. They have to develop empathy with the different stakeholders. Finally most of their work is behind the scenes making things happen and, in this sense, promoting collaboration and team work. New leaders are obviously women and men but in many aspects their skills and values are much more close to those that traditionally were assigned to women.

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New models are working well at the small scale in the sense that we are getting many learnings and insights from these political experiences. However they attained large scale only during short periods as reactions to extreme situations (as dictatorships in the Arab revolutions) or as sophisticated demonstrations in democracies; but they have no transformed the political system. In contrast in the last decades digital processes have been able to attain large scales (i.e. Wikipedia or the free software communities) transforming for example the production and distribution of knowledge. The main question for the future is how to scale up political processes and organizations. We need dialogue between the traditional representative democracy and the new deliberative and participatory politics. Now in most cases they are operating in different channels and the conflicts continue to be manageable because of the scale, but with increasing complexity new consensus, organizations and institutions are needed and they could only emerge as hybrids of the remix of the old and new ones.

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An agenda for transformation needs to identify why, how and what is changing for the better, and to look for a common ground where the new and old processes and institutions could collaborate.

Credits of the images:

  1. Science Gallery (Dublin), workshop in collaboration with Medialab Prado (June 2012)
  2. http://nosoloilustracion.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/cronica-de-un-cambio-anunciado-15m-15o-spanishrevolution/
  3. http://www.cheswick.com/ches/map/gallery/index.html
  4. http://www.psfk.com/2008/12/digital-culture-snub.html
  5. http://censorshipinamerica.com/2011/10/20/china-defends-internet-censorship-against-us-trade-query/
  6. http://vlb.typepad.com/commentary/2006/03/realtime_produc_1.html
  7. http://cryptome.org/info/ows-19/ows-19.htm
  8. http://flowerwatch.net/2010/02/08/how-natures-complexity-is-simple-and-natures-simplicity-is-complex/
  9. http://www.masshumanists.org/changing-for-the-better.htm