Archive for the ‘practice’ Category

Matters of Concern and Interactive Documentary

Matters of Concern and Interactive Documenary is a working paper of mine that is the beginnings of a project to think about new materialism in the context of interactive documentary. It is coming from a desire to ‘think’ the materiality of interactive/multilinear practices/things, as well as what might become a poetics of engaging with the world (nonfiction/doco) that is not story or narrative based. (Stories seem to be an enormous correlationist conceit on our behalf…)

By the way, ‘matters of concern’ is from Latour.

Graduate Class in Toronto

I’ve been invited by the inestimable Seth Feldman (York) to work with his graduate students one morning before this year’s 2015 Visible Evidence conference in Toronto. The aim (I think) was to use my work as the basis for it. <vanity warning> So I’m asking everyone to read:</vanity warning>

Dovey, Jon, and Mandy Rose. “We’re Happy and We Know It: Documentary, Data, Montage.” Studies in Documentary Film 6.2 (2012): 159–173.

Miles, Adrian. “Materialism and Interactive Documentary: Sketch Notes.” Studies in Documentary Film 8.3 (2014): 205–220.

Miles, Adrian. “Matters of Concern and Interactive Documentary: A Methodological Aside”. Unpublished manuscript.

Miles, Adrian. “Interactive Documentary and Affective Ecologies.” New Documentary Ecologies Emerging Platforms, Practices and Discourses. Ed. Kate Nash, Craig Hight, and Catherine Summerhayes. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 67–82.

And to look at one of Jonathan Harris’ The Whale Hunt, We Feel Fine (with Sep Kamvar), and Cowbird.


The writing schedule and word count says it is time to stop drafting and to begin editing. The logic of the thinking, and the gaps and theoretical lapses that are there mean I need to keep writing. At the moment I don’t have a way out of what is an impasse.

This morning I wake in panic. It is all opinion, not research. There aren’t really references. I don’t build on others work. Sham, vacuous, pretentious (perhaps the most damning?).

Call for Works

Academic Labours

Recently I have learnt that I do not enjoy editing someone else’s bad writing. I find it hard work (but deep down enjoyable) to edit my own writing, regardless of its state. It is also a pleasure to edit someone else’s good writing. But bad writing, trying to turn it into good? Horrible labour. You know it will never be much good. You also harbour the realisation that they will not really notice the work (and it is a lot, hours upon hours) since the work is so poorly written to begin with it would appear they have no real ability to judge merit or otherwise of the written. My lesson? I will not do this again.

Good Read

It’s Not Journalism

Thought for the student’s struggling with my ways: Don’t confuse documentary with journalism. Journalism tends to insist on objectivity (which is trivial to critique) and explanation. Documentary is not obligated to either.


Extracted from a brief today email.

but yes. there is a crisis that I think speculative realism, particularly it’s ecotheoretical arm, is making very plain. Talking about things and treating talk = meaning = what it means, then as a field there is little, to no, agency for the humanities out in the ‘real’ world. 

Knowledge Claims and Research

In Creative Arts Research (CAR), which should not be about how artist’s do research (everyone does research, including my eight year old daughter into her Smiggle purchases), but about how creative practice becomes academic research, that is research recognised as research within universities. There are a couple of things to get your head around here.

The debate is not whether art is research, or not, or whether I can write ‘differently’ or not (you can), but whether and how it constitutes academic research. Academic research is instrumentalised knowledge that contributes to an identifiable academic community of practice (yes, that is tautological, as all academic fields are, the field does define itself). The question or problem then becomes one of how to instrumentalise what I am claiming as knowledge in my creative practice or artefact. It is instrumentalised knowledge because, in the context of CAR, knowledge needs to be extracted/contextualised/made explicit from the implicitness of material thinking and making so that its specific knowledge claims can be recognised and used by others. This lets CAR then move from an argument or discussion about aesthetic merit of the work (which is not and can’t be an academic research claim in itself) to one about knowledge claims. Research knowledge claims need to be evidenced, contestable, and to be propositional (they make claims about something else, not just themselves) to be a research knowledge claim. Art does not need to do any of these things to be art (in can do these things, but it doesn’t have to), whereas academic research has to do each of these three things, every time, to be research.

The problem of how knowledge becomes visible so that it can be used by others in academic contexts is a different problem than whether or not something contains knowledge.

cfp: Computing the City

Call For Papers – Special Issue for the Fibreculture Journal – Computing the City

From the website:

Issue Editors: Armin Beverungen and Florian Sprenger
abstract deadline: 20 April, 2015
article deadline: 1 July, 2015
publication aimed for: early 2016

Ubiquitous computing is often referred to as a prime example not only of a new mode of computing, but of a new paradigm of mediation itself. The ‘smart city’ is promoted as its primary site of materialisation: the integration of computational systems with architectural design turns inefficient urban settings into smart cities that manifest as the penultimate value-extraction machines. This themed issue focuses specifically on the pre-history of ubiquitous computing, its status as media infrastructure, its complicity with logistics, as well as its contingent histories and virtual futures. The approach to smart urban environments taken here questions the accustomed self-descriptions of a mediated society as completely new infrastructure of living and dwelling. Town planning has, since the early 20th century, relied on ecological concepts of environmental transformations. By drawing a line from these early urban development plans to todays digital infrastructures, it becomes evident that the current condition of smart cities has to be understood as part of a transition of environments from natural habitats to objects of planning, management and control.