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Third Digital Documentary

A Theory and Practice of Transmedia Arts Activism, Critical Design and Ethics

Anita Wen-Shin Chang

This book offers a theory and methodology of transmedia arts activism within the technocultural and sociopolitical landscape of expanded documentary production, distribution, reception and participation. Through a detailed analysis of the author’s transmedia project on indigenous and minority language endangerment and revival that consists of the feature-length documentary Tongues of Heaven and the companion web application Root Tongue: Sharing Stories of Language Identity and Revival, she reveals the layers and depths of a critical arts practice when confronted with complex sociopolitical issues while working with multiple communities across territorial/national boundaries. In the context of the growing field of transmedia documentaries, the author discusses the potentials and benefits of a critical design practice and production ethics that can transform this field to pilot new collaborations in documentary and digital media platforms towards a third digital documentary.
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I would like extend my deepest gratitude to my creative team, whose friendship, inspiration and support made this book, and the creative production of the Tongues of Heaven documentary and Root Tongue web application possible in the first place: An-Chi Chen and family, Shin-Lan Yu and family, Yan-Fen Lan and family, Merata Mita, Malia Nobrega, Leivallyn Kainoa Kaupu and family, Hau‘oli Waiau and family, Amy P. Lee, Apay Ai-Yu Tang, Yu-Chao Huang, Sean Elwood, Michella Rivera-Gravage, Otherwise Co., Terry Hwang, Irene Faye Duller, Jessica Yazbek, Marisa Wilson, Wali Hassan Jafferi, Biagio Azzarelli, Shalini Agrawal, Michael Wong, Chevy Lum, Alex Wang and Julie Ann Yuen. I also cannot overemphasize the importance of the critical dialogue I have had with my students over the years who have shaped this artistic and scholarly research, and so I thank my students at National Dong Hwa University for sharing their minds and hearts and whose experiences serve as the springboard for this study and the transmedia documentary project. I am also grateful to my media studies students at the University of San Francisco, who provided invaluable feedback during our usability testing for Root Tongue.

A key aspect of the work’s success is the important community support I received in Taiwan, the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawai‘i. I am especially grateful to Ho Chie Tsai, James Y. Shih, Jenny and James Hong, Shin-Fei Wu, Carol Ou, Paul T. Tran and Anna Wu; Laura Welcher and Cameron Eng at the...

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