PhDs in the non/fictionLab are holding their Docuverse: A Symposium for Expanded Documentary Practices on February 12. 1 to 5pm, Building 9, Level 2, Room 10. Featuring John Hughes and Jess Linington.
My PhD student Hannah Brasier has uploaded “Negotiating Mess: Towards a Multilinear Engagement with Complexity in Interactive Documentary” to academia.edu.
From a current research proposal of mine:
This project aims to create a new framework to theorise and understand interactive documentary by using theories from critical digital humanities. This framework will expand our conception of interactive documentary into a new field of ‘computational nonfiction’. This study aims to be the first that combines critical digital humanities and documentary, and will inaugurate computational nonfiction as a new context for the consideration of digital nonfiction. The outcomes and benefits of this project include scholarly publications and presentations, international research collaborations, project website, scholarly monograph, research training, and the development of ongoing research partnerships.
It’s an odd genre which is the academy’s version of a startup’s pitch. As best I can tell, like many such pitches, the game is to get the capital, and then, well, things often change.
While writing this funding application I refound my 2003 very good list of things to do to make a successful conference. I am proud of melbourneDAC, it was a kick ass conference.
Franziska Weidle is a PhD candidate in anthropology from Göttingen who is doing field work on Korsakow. We, it turns out, are the field. She’s a great addition to the non/fictionLab and documentary group, participating in seminars, workshops, supervision and so on. She’s started a blog for her field work on Korsakow.
Hannah B. has the text of her recent talk “Assembling Observations: Transformations of Avant-Garde Docuemntary in Korsakow” online. Korsakow, networks, granularity, facets and reconsidered practice.
This is a gallery of the slides used in today’s Korsakow workshop. They suffer without the context of the conversation, but some who are familiar with Korsakow may find them useful, provocative, or promptful. The discussions that developed were very productive.
There will be a free full day Korsakow workshop at RMIT on February 18. Places are limited, and participants will be eligible for a 50% discount on the cost of Korsakow. If you’ve dabbled with Korsakow, are interested in interactive documentary, curious, a nonfiction multilinear narrator, or some combination of these, then this is for you.
Korsakow, still open source, formally more or less free, is now USD50 (details on the Korsakow site). This is a good move to hopefully allow more robust development of what remains the best application for authoring generative, thick, multilinear video works for non-programmers (the other options available create link hierarchies, not poetic clouds).
I expect some will be disappointed or upset at the introduction of a cost. However, it is still open source, and in its time as open source developers have not, as far as I know, come on board to contribute. This is the case for the vast majority of open source projects, so if free labour won’t come to your project then to continue development, you need to find a way to bring money to it to then fund that necessary labour.
(And keep in mind that even highly successful open source projects such as WordPress have major commercial ‘arms’ (see automattic), as well as a service economy of commercial plugins, templates, hosting, and installations to make them viable. Similarly many successful open source projects, while receiving donated labour, often manage this via de facto or explicit institutional support. For example Korsakow has undergone major development courtesy of public Canadian research funding, while many others seem to rely on labour by academics who have the good fortune to be employed in positions that allow this sort of flexibility in how they apply their labour. This is merely a form of indirect public funding, which is great, but it is not ‘free’ in the way that much commentary about free software and open source defines free.)
So, at USD50 a licence it will now run under Yosemite. Hopefully on the roadmap is a makeover of the UI and, I’d hope, HTML5 export in some manner that would allow for K films to operate on iOS tablets by dropping the Flash runtime engine. What is slated is the removal of in application transcoding of video, which is a big plus as encoding outside means you know what your video will look like. It also removes what is often the cause of the most problems with novices as all variety of odd video formats, or weirdly compressed video, has been imported into projects only to have Korsakow fall over when a work is transcoded as FFMPEG bumps up against some unexpected data rate, codec, and so on.
The risk, and it is a legitimate one, is that if the UI stays as is people will misread this the wrong way to think the program is not worth the USD50. It is, but these days with the OS X app store it has to look and behave as a cocoa app.
I am writing an essay about interactive documentary. Actually Korsakow. It is very very late. It is remarkably recalcitrant. I am so very nearly there, that moment when the finish line becomes a demonstration of Zeno’s paradox as it seems to move further away the closer you get. It is so close. Here’s a snippet.
My elevator pitch would be that Korsakow is software for authoring generative, associative, and processual films. These films are complex, possibly autopoetic systems that rely on patterns of relation to emerge for author and users.
2014 ASPERA conference website now happening. Program is a PDF. There’s a database doco panel on Wednesday (Elvira Calatayud, Dean Keep, and JT Velikovsky), and our panel (me, Bettina Frankham, Hannah Brasier, and Seth Keen) on Thursday, with a Korsakow workshop Thursday afternoon.
I’m running a Korsakow workshop as part of the Australian Screen Production and Education Research Association annual conference. It’s in Newcastle this year. If you’re at all interested in seeing the software, and you’re attending, please come along. There’s a bunch of us also presenting papers at an interactive documentary panel during the conference too.