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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 5 Documentary and Online Transmediality Toward a Third Digital Documentary

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Vision

Keeping in mind the forms and nature of participation and community that various networked audio-visual platforms activate, and the potentials and limitations discussed in the previous chapter, this chapter considers the potential interventions via digital terrains that are available and feasible through the case study of the online platform Root Tongue: Sharing Stories of Language Revival and Identity (Figure 5.1).1 Theories on third cinema methodology, critical design, digital networks, information infrastructure, dialogical aesthetics, community, publics, online cultural representations and digital ontology serve as critical frameworks for addressing the production challenges of the Tongues of Heaven/Root Tongue transmedia project, leading to the emergence of a third digital documentary. This chapter discusses how these theoretical frameworks inform, and are subsequently energized by, the project’s aspiration to mediate across space, time, localities and languages to extend engagement on socio-cultural and political issues concerning language endangerment and revitalization via acts of spectatorship, commentary, discussion, creative production and activism.

This Root Tongue web-based application, launched in June 2018 and operational on any computing device with Internet connectivity, presents ←135 | 136→an interactive version of the Tongues of Heaven documentary in order to facilitate exposure of and engagement with the complex issues of language endangerment. The Root Tongue web application does this by serving as a site for dialogue and participation in the effort to consider and/or revive endangered languages. It is designed to generate participation at specific moments within various scenes of the documentary, whereby dialogue is...

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