Over 4 years ago I began on a complex personal adventure: take the concept and emerging field of interactive documentary to the lab to analyze it, dissect it, study it and draw some conclusions. Today this adventure has generated more questions than answers; but perhaps that is the most interesting of all, don’t you think?
The idea was born on a bus journey in England, from Bristol to London. I had just attended the first conference on interactive documentary in March 2011 – the i-Docs Symposium. I realized that there were some interesting projects but that nobody knew what we were actually talking about… So, with a subject so “chameleonic” and variable, exploration possibilities seemed to me to be immense because we were talking about something that was never the same. Then I decided to build an almost encyclopedic project to ask experts from different areas to explain what they understand by interactive documentary. The result of this experiment is COME/IN/DOC
At that time I was in the middle of my doctoral dissertation and had an entire corpus of research questions at hand. I used its theoretical framework to develop my practical proposal. What I knew for sure was that I did not want my doctoral thesis to be forgotten on a dusty university shelf. We can say, therefore, that COME/IN/DOC is an experimental documentary project derived from my doctoral thesis and the result of research into interactive documentary carried out over almost a decade (2007-2016). Theory led to practice and vice versa.
Now, five years later, I am returning to Bristol – to the 4th edition of the i-Docs conference – with the launch of the third part of my project: the documentary series. Today, the project has 3 broadcast and distribution platforms: a documentary series, an education platform and interactive exhibitions. More than 60 experts involved in interactive documentary have altruistically explained the intricacies of this format in relation to their own research, teaching and production in the field over recent years. Video interviews were conducted at major events related to this field during the years 2012-2016. Most interviews with experts are in situ, but there are others where the inability to physically reach the experts meant that interviews were made by videoconference or that the expert carried out some sort of creative proposal and sent it to me, and finally I edited it and assembled all the material together.
The premiere of the first episode of the first season will be during the second day of the conference, on Thursday, March 3, and online at these two sites simultaneously:
1 – i-Docs: http://i-docs.org/
2 – Open Documentary Lab (MIT): http://opendoclab.mit.edu/
Here you can access the first part of SEASON 1 – EPISODE 1:
You can access the questions that originated the four seasons and episodes in this document.
From this point on during the following year, a part of each episode will be launched every week (March 2016-March 2017). The episodes will be released exclusively on the website of Open Documentary Lab and two weeks later on the website of COME/IN/DOC = http://comeindoc.com/documentaryseries.html
Hope you enjoy it!
Dr. Arnau Gifreu
i-Docs contributing editor