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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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Chapter 4 Networked Audio-Visual Culture and New Digital Publics


Networked Audio-Visual Technologies

With the development and rise of networked communications technologies, artists are presented with multiple digital platforms with which to produce and present their works. In order to critically evaluate the various media forms that a social issue–driven documentary may take, this chapter begins with an overview of the development of digital and online technologies and new digital publics. I describe digital publics as publics that are primarily formed and cultivated through digitally networked platforms, and that primarily exist online. The chapter then focuses on how these online technologies spark new forms of visibility and expressions for minority and indigenous documentary media producers.

As online moving image capabilities continue to improve in resolution, uploading and streaming capacities, filmmakers and distributors have taken advantage of this additional viewing platform. They have also utilized the Internet for marketing their films and expanding audience engagement. The digital structure of audio-visual information that allows for nonlinear, fragmented viewing experiences continues to inspire new forms of moving image making, such as interactive storytelling and interactive documentaries. Interactivity takes on different forms. Sometimes viewers, now participant or user, are asked to make choices regarding the temporality and narrativity of set content. This set content forms the database from which participants access and engage with the work. At other times, users can contribute to the documentary content with new material transforming the experience and the database. This interactive mode of documentary ←101 | 102→is an emerging and dynamic...

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