Spring 2020

How do emerging media change the way we tell non-fiction stories? What kind of challenges do new media forms and practices pose to traditional documentary practice and established principles of narrative logic? Going beyond narrative, what are the potentials and limitations of using interactive and non-linear forms to negotiate between reality on the one hand and representation, and interpretation on the other? This practice-based course addresses such questions and explores documentary practice in emergent media technologies such as interactive web-based interfaces, locative media, GPS-adapted systems, VR/AR/XR and mobile applications. Over the course of the semester, students develop and complete a series of conceptual exercises and a final project using a variety of proprietary and open-source tools and technologies. Combining screenings, discussions, readings and production assignments, the course focuses on issues regarding representation, sequencing, and non-linearity. Students work with text, graphics, stills, sound, and video, and experiment with linear and hypertextual navigation interfaces as well as popular social media and mapping tools. Students may either develop an existing project or generate a new proposal in class, ideally using previously acquired media (video, audio, photography).  


The course’s main goal is to help students discover new ways of thinking about and making documentary works by responding to emerging media practices and technologies. We will focus on building aesthetic, conceptual, and technical skills in the field of expanded documentary, and develop a formal and critical vocabulary for discussing and critiquing emerging documentary practices. Finally, this course should be understood as an experimental playground and its success depends on collective enthusiasms and active engagement.