Interactive documentaries (i-doc’s) are non-fiction documentary-style narrative with interactivity at the heart of their structure. In interactive documentaries, the narrative is moved forward through the choices that you – the audience – make. This invites you to move from a more passive audience role to an active assistant director creating the narrative as you navigate through. This narrative will be unique to every person who engages with it. Interactive documentaries also encourage a polyphonic approach; one where many voices can contribute to an issue at once. This allows for a more democratised approach to complex issues such as heritage loss. It is these two key concepts which I believe will be most useful in helping to challenge preconceived notions of loss and instead encourage people to interrogate exactly what these changes to heritage sites mean to them, and the sites they care for.
Korsakow is a specialist program created by artist Florian Thalhofer and was used to create this interactive documentary. Korsakow works by linking SNUs (smallest narrative units) which are more often short audio/video clips via POCs (points of contact) or keywords based on the clips' content. Each SNU has in and out POCs which link to other SNUs. The result is a narrative that has the potential to branch out in multiple ways that have no predetermined end. This creates an unplanned and unpredictable path through the assorted media presented allowing more space for the audience to create meaning and make links between the material.
Visualising Loss was created from interviews with 39 participants from four case study sites around the southwest all undergoing different types of heritage loss as well as additional practitioner perspectives. Using both academic qualitative and film methodologies the interviews were cut into small clips to create the SNUs and coded to create the linking POCs. These clips act like fragments of conversations or puzzle pieces that are joined together by the keyword codes. But, these are imperfect puzzle pieces and creating a satisfying narrative from them every time may be difficult. Plus there are also over 1000 individual clips to watch which makes it unlikely that anyone will watch all of them in a single session. Instead, the idea is to interact with the content of Visualising Loss over a few sessions, each being different to the last and leading to different incites.
To access the Visualising Loss interactive documentary
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