2017 … time for a semi-annual update!
The last few months have been busy, with a talk on the myth of technological stability at the Cinémathèque Française as part of Voyage to the Centre of the Cinema Machine conference organized by André Gaudreault and his colleagues at TECHNÈS. It offered a chance to be star-struck! I met Raymond Bellour, Walter Murch, Caleb Deschanel, and Doug Trumbull, and saw a lot of old friends. The media folks at Paris III (Roger Odin, Laurent Creton, Laurence Allard, and Guillaume Solez) invited me to give a carte blanche session on my lab’s work (MIT’s Open Documentary Lab aka ODL), and Sandra Rodriguez, Mandy Rose, and David Dufresne kindly joined in to explore our joint interests. And the semester wound down with lectures as well as several PhD defenses, including Alex Gekker’s at Utrecht and Grazia Ingravalle’s at St Andrews.
After a few weeks in Kauai and Big island (where the volcano is bubbling!), it was back to MIT and where, together with Sandra Rodriguez and assisted by Deniz Tortum, we’re teaching a course called Hacking VR — MIT’s first course on Virtual Reality (with some much needed help from Oculus!). Our colleagues at MIT’s CAST have joined with ODL to help support a public lecture series on VR. February brought a lecture on documentary futures at the University of Miami, and another on embodiment in film and VR for MIT’s Design and Computation Group in the School of Architecture. In March, I’ll be in Prague for about a week at EastDok, lecturing on locative documentary and mentoring in their amazing incubator program, followed by a talk at Montreal’s Festival International du Film sur l’Art on the Kinoautomat – a Czech invention! – that turns 50 this year. It will be at the amazing Monument National Theater (the city’s oldest). Then on to Amsterdam for a board meeting at the EYE Film Museum. In April, I’ll head to Bristol for a talk on the deep history of VR at the Virtual Reality World Congress. And then in May, I’ll talk on the shift in notions of assembly (montage) from film to VR at the University of Montreal, followed by a keynote at a conference ODL is organizing together with Montreal’s Centre Phi on preservation of and access to interactive documentaries. After I shift over to the Netherlands to teach at Utrecht University, I’ll also give a keynote in Hamburg at the Situated in Transition conference; have a public discussion about the shifting meanings of television as a mediumn with Doron Galili at Stockholm University; and spend a few days discussing algorithms, media, and culture with students at the University of Zurich.
Meanwhile at ODL, Sarah Wolozin, the team and I, continue to plug away at building the field through the fellows program, ongoing research activities, events, white papers, and the usual fundraising activities. Our Co-Creation Studio, with Kat Cizek at the helm, is fast gaining traction, and helping to shift focus from the documentary as product to process. We’re also working on a reboot of Moments of Innovation with IDFA’s DocLab. And I’m trying to get a few projects off the ground in Boston and Budapest that will let me explore public memory and locative forms of documentary (mostly augmented reality), and in the process, put archival assets back into the worlds that they came from.
More to come — updating this, at long last, wasn’t so hard!
(a number of my recent talks can be found via a Google video search … and then there are the ones I could actually link…>!)