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Compact Cinematics (book)

March 15th, 2017 · references

Compact Cinematics
The Moving Image in the Age of Bit-Sized Media
Editors: Pepita Hesselberth, Maria Poulaki

pdf overview

Has chapter on Long Story Short

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Inspiration for a short non-fiction work

May 7th, 2015 · projects

The personal, digital, me-dia gadget realizes exactly this direction, holding us closer, traveling everywhere with us, and integrating us more thoroughly than before. And it shows little sign of stopping: new, wearable devices such as Google Glass and smartwatches threaten to extend this personal integration and our physiological and mental alienation. Thus the “gadjet” that originated as the aphasic expression of our mind, producing an alienation of our mouths as we struggled to find the words we wanted, ends with the integration and enclosure of our minds and the numbing and narcotization of our entire bodies.As Baudrillard suggests, and as Marrero demonstrates, this is a world of public “zombies” cast into an electromagnetic sleep (2003: 24).

The RISE of the GADGET and HYPERLUDIC ME-DIA by William Merrin p. 18

Baudrillard, Jean. 2003. Cool Memories IV, 1995–2000.Translated by Chris Turner. London: Verso.

A documentation of the zombies using stills or videos…

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Interaction and moving image

April 13th, 2015 · Teaching

I had the pleasure of talking to visiting Course Leader, Joel Karamath here at RMIT recently. He is visiting from London and manages/teaches some inspiring studio teaching at University of Arts in London. This studio Interaction Design Arts course started out as a hybrid course fusing moving-image studies with interaction – Joel’s background is in cinema studies. It is at honours level – in there program they have a foundation year and then everyone does an honours 3rd year. A video of there studios. Some useful wording in the course structure on their website. The cohort there work with ‘community of practice’ theory (Wenger & Trayner), to guide what looks like a very happening scene.

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Afterlife of Video

April 8th, 2015 · references

Video Theory
Online Video Aesthetics or the Afterlife of Video

by Andreas Treske

Video is a part of everyday life, comparable to driving a car or taking a shower. It is nearly omnipresent, available on demand and attached to nearby anything, anywhere. Online Video became something vital and independent. With all the video created by the cameras around us, constantly uploading, sharing, linking, and relating, a blue ocean is covering our planet, an ocean of video. What might look as bluish noise and dust from the far outside, might embed beautiful and fascinating living scapes of moving images, objects constantly changing, re-arranging, assembling, evolving, collapsing, but never disappearing, a real cinema. Andreas Treske describes and theorizes these objects formerly named video, their forms, behaviours and properties.

download pdf

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Cowbird – participatory online documentary

April 6th, 2015 · i-doc

Abstract from ‘Moving beyond evidence – participatory online documentary
practice within the poetic framework of’
by Bettina Frankham, 2015.

The growth of user contribution as a form of interaction within online documentary projects is causing a shift in the way that screen based documentary is conceived. Viewers become participants, taking on greater agency in forming the experience of the work as they engage by contributing personal responses to the exploration of a subject. Rather than being fixed works with definite beginnings and endings, these online collaborative documentaries operate as portals, encouraging communities to gather around themes, events or areas of interest. While the diversity of contributions promises rich conceptual renderings, a significant challenge lies in how to create a coherent media entity out of aggregated content that may be contradictory, complex and constantly changing.

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Internet of things – reference

March 11th, 2015 · references

A read to look into to…The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things – Bruce Sterling

If the hype is to be believed then the next big thing is the Internet of Things. But is it what you think it is? Because the Internet of Things is not about things on the Internet. A world in which all our household gadgets can communicate with each other may sound vaguely useful, but it’s not really for us consumers. The Internet of Things serves the interests of the technology giants, in their epic wrangles with each other. And it is they who will turn the jargon of “smart cities” and “smart homes” into a self-fulfilling prophesy. In this piercing and provocative essay, Bruce Sterling tells the story of an idea that just won’t go away because there’s too much money to be made and a whole world to control.

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Studio books

March 11th, 2015 · Teaching

From Dan Hill (City of Sound) blog. Studio reading to look in regards to teaching (quote form amazon book webpages):

Superstudio: The Middelburg Lectures

Superstudio, and one of its founding members Adolfo Natalini, triggers great nostalgia among modern architecture students. This book, with essays by Natalini, Peter Lang, Hans Ibelings, and Hilde Heynen, situates Superstudio in the history of radical architecture. Yet what is radical architecture?

The Transdisciplinary Studio

If artists and designers continue to require a studio, shouldn t the way each of them mobilizes it be a component of any analysis of their practice.By grappling with four distinct examples of transdisciplinary,studio models sculptor Jorge Pardo, industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, installation artist and sculptor Olafur Eliasson and design studio Abake, this softcover book delves into the life of these studios by engaging the artists, designers and staff that constitute them. These reflections are accompanied by interviews between the author and studio workers. A further series of interviews with distinguished historians, critics, anthropologists, curators, artists and designers analyzes how their work has informed the transdisciplinary studio model that is now at the forefront of creative practice.

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Teaching and Research Mindmap

January 14th, 2015 · research

Back in the office. Research into the new studios I am designing produced this mind map as a starting point towards scoping out my teaching and research in the future.

research mindmap SETH 1-15

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Chicago Girl documentary – mobile phone use

November 24th, 2014 · Documentary

Chicago Girl documentary

From press notes web page:

From her childhood bedroom in the Chicago suburbs, an American teenage girl uses social media to coordinate the revolution in Syria. Armed with Facebook, Twitter, Skype and camera phones, she helps her social network “on the ground” in Syria brave snipers and shelling in the streets to show the world the human rights atrocities of a dictator. But just because the world can see the violence doesn’t mean the world can help. As the revolution rages on, everyone in the network must decide what is the most effective way to fight a dictator: social media or AK-47s.

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Affordances and relationships

October 15th, 2014 · references

I wrote this out recently for a mobile videography course I taught this semester.

Understanding the concept of ‘affordances’ is complex due to the different uses of the term in varying contexts.

The wikipedia overview although not necessarily an authoritative reference point provides an insight into the way Norman uses the concept differently in relation to the field of interaction and user experience design.

Gibson’s use of the concept within the field of cognitive psychology focuses on potential actions. From wikipedia:

He defined affordances as all “action possibilities” latent in the environment, objectively measurable and independent of the individual’s ability to recognize them, but always in relation to agents and therefore dependent on their capabilities. For instance, a set of steps which rises four feet high does not afford the act of climbing if the actor is a crawling infant.

While Norman takes this another step in relation to interaction and user experience design. In Normans use of affordances the person brings to an object prior knowledge and has particular goals. In connection with the notion of design it is about the relationship that the user can have with the object, which is referred to by Norman as ‘perceived affordances’. From wikipedia:

It makes the concept dependent not only on the physical capabilities of an actor, but also the actor’s goals, plans, values, beliefs, and past experiences. If an actor steps into a room with an armchair and a softball, Gibson’s original definition of affordances allows that the actor may throw the chair and sit on the ball, because this is objectively possible. Norman’s definition of (perceived) affordances captures the likelihood that the actor will sit on the armchair and throw the softball. Effectively, Norman’s affordances “suggest” how an object may be interacted with. For example, the size and shape of a softball obviously fit nicely in the average human hand, and its density and texture make it perfect for throwing. The user may also bring past experiences to bear with similar objects (baseballs, perhaps) when evaluating a new affordance.

In our experiments we focus on the mobile phone as a type of video camera and explore what that camera phone enables us to do with it in relation to filmmaking or videographic practice. We bring to that exploration preconceived ideas about how video should be used to create fiction, nonfiction and experimental video works. What we are exploring through both the evaluation of theory and a practice-led investigation (working with video sketches) is how the smartphone as a type of video camera can be used in terms of making the most of what it has to offer this type of practice. In addition to this we are making new discoveries in relation to how the affordances of that device, computers and the network may alter filmmaking or videographic practice.

Included in that exploration is this device being connected to the network (Internet,WWW) and potentially a desktop computer being used or not used to create video works. For instance, having a video camera connected to the network alters how it may be used in comparison to other video cameras that do not have that functionality. Also in a similar manner to a computer this video camera in the form of a smartphone with an operating system functioning as a type of mobile computer that utilises software (like mobile apps for example) to record and edit video material. Therefore the video camera integrated into a type of computer, like micro forms of video cameras are on most desktop computers.

Bill Gaver in the article ‘Technological Affordances’ in the design field makes a useful point in regards to working with different technologies. Gaver suggests that affordances are examined (quote) “as a way of focussing on the strengths and weaknesses of technologies with respect to the possibilities they offer the people that might use them.” (p.79). This argument can be used within the context of ‘post-industrial media’ and consequently media practice in regards to media production. How can we use a camera phone for media production (or videographic practice specifically) in regards to the strengths and weaknesses that this device has to offer?

Ultimately we are interested in what we can do with this technology (what is possible>), through an experimental approach towards video practice.


Norman, D 1998, The design of everyday things, Basic Book, New York.

Norman, D 1999, Affordance, conventions and design (Part 2), Nielsen Norman
Group, viewed April 2012, .

Gibson, J 1979 The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Gaver B 1991, ‘Technology Affordances’, Proceeding CHI ’91 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp 79-84.

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Participatory documentary – Long Story Short

September 25th, 2014 · i-doc

Participatory documentary by Natalie Bookchin (in progress)


Long Story Short

From the Long Story Short project page:

crowdsources stories and solutions from hundreds of people in the US fighting to rise into the middle class.

Drawing from an archive of hundreds of video diaries made by very low income California residents, Long Story Short tells a collective story of poverty in America, narrated, defined, and analyzed entirely from within, offering a fresh perspective on one of the most challenging social issues our country faces.

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Seth Keen PhD

September 23rd, 2014 · PhD

Download exegesis pdf (14.2 MB):

Netvideo Nonvideo Newvideo: Designing a multilinear nonnarrative form for interactive documentary

Compressed version 5MB



This research explores interactive documentary and focuses on identifying how the affordances of video, computers and the network can be used to create a web of relations between shots within an interactive documentary that utilises the multilinear structure of the Internet. The aim of this investigation is to help practitioners who do not understand these affordances to learn what they are, and what is important when making an interactive documentary online. As an outcome of my inquiry I propose that documentary practice is transformed in this multilinear environment, resulting in a reconceptualisation of the term ‘documentary maker’. A practitioner who produces on the Internet is more accurately named a ‘documentary designer’, and I support this new role by outlining the affordances of ‘granularity’, ‘remix’, ‘indexing’ and ‘spatial montage’, and how they can be used to produce an interactive documentary online.

Key words: digital media, media practice, interactive media, documentary, interactive documentary, narrative, video, online video, design, interaction design, Internet studies

The major PhD projects are documented on my portfolio website. Video documentation of the submitted project artefacts available on request.

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