In the context of aesthetic hybridizations between films, games and events, the documentary form is undergoing significant transformations resulting in a distinct relationship between content and audience. As one of the keywords, interactivity in its different modes (Gaudenzi 2013) and dimensions (Nash 2014) promises an opening of documentary artefacts to engage users (formerly known as viewers) actively in the process of negotiating individual experiences and perceptions of the world (cf. Aston and Gaudenzi 2012: 128). In this paper, I propose that interactive documentaries can be understood as situations aesthetically affording these negotiations in their own right. Due to their unique conditions of (inter-)action, 360° and Virtual Reality (VR) documentaries constitute a specific case in point that requires further examination. As ‘spaces of possibility’ (Salen and Zimmermann 2004), they are designed to create immersive situations that utilize performative elements to convey situated, multisensory, and embodied forms of knowledge. However, these digital environments are of an inherently ambiguous status just as their inhabitants’ own corporeality and sense of self. In order to enable a critical assessment, this article introduces a theoretical framework for the analysis of documentary situations in current 360° and VR works and the ways they might intervene in our perception (Grau 2003: 13).
Weidle, F. (2018) “How to reconcile that flinch: Towards a critical analysis of documentary situations in 360° and VR environments”. In: Participations Vol 15 Issue 1,
Categories: Journal Article