Constructing Narrative in Interactive Documentaries


Session Title:

  • Education/Media (Papers)

Presentation Title:

  • Constructing Narrative in Interactive Documentaries




  • Content of the presentation is defined by constantly changing technological environment allowing participation of the viewer. This area of interest is connected with development and change of cultural forms of film, documentary, interactive art, games and social media. The presentation is dedicated to history of artistic multimedia.

    First task of the presentation is to outline the field what could be defined by terms like interactive cinema, documentary multimedia, online video, interactive art, combinatorial films, database cinema etc. I would like to make some general remarks concerning narrativisation of our non‑linear life‑experience and choice‑based reality, which could be of inspiration for interactive artworks (J. Bruner, N. Goodman). Discussions of the 1990ties concerning Art‑CD‑ROM (E. Huhtamo, M. Canter, P. Weibel) could be reminded.

    Second task is focusing attention on documentary interactive multimedia projects by artist of the 1990ties, which represents innovative genre of art. I group them to categories based on evident documentary element: “Visual archives: from form to content” (Eric Lanz “Manuscript” 1994, Graham Harwood “Rehearsal of Memory” 1996 etc); “Interactive traveloques” (Sally Pryor “Postcard From Tunis” 1997, Chris Hales “Tallinn People’s Orchestra” 1998 etc); “The World of Things and Memories” (Veli Granö “Tangible Cosmologies” 1997, Mari Soppela “Family Files” 1998, Agnes Hegedüs “Things Spoken” 1998 etc). Some focus would be given to database cinema experiments of new millenium: “Soft Cinema” by Lev Manovich and Aleksander Kratky (2002), Korsakow System by Florian Thalhofer.

    Third task would be show and discuss contemporary situation in interactive documentary, which became mostly web‑based. The 1990s can be seen as the “classical” decade of interactive multimedia, when it blossomed and became known as an international field. One goal of this presentation is to pay hommage to some historical multimedia artworks, which were famous in the 1990s, but are invisible now because of computer platform changes. The disappearance and lack of availability of these artworks are additional factors which give value to these projects. Actually, these multimedia narratives haven´t disappeared, but rather there has been a transition to new platforms, mainly online.