June 6, 2008

phd research

This PhD research is being undertaken at RMIT University in the Media Department, School of Media and Communication. The research on this blog forms part of my doctoral research and may be referred to in the final submission.

Download exegesis pdf (14.2 MB):

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


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

Video documentation of the project artefacts available on request.
PhD Senior Supervisor Associate Professor Dr Laurene Vaughan, Second Supervisor Senior Lecturer Adrian Miles, RMIT University


A software development project to create a system for making Web Interactive Documentaries.

Refer to my portfolio website for prototype examples made in the Videodefunct System – Bogota Prototype, Glasshouse Birdman, Videodefunct Pedestrian.

The Videodefunct System (2007-9) was developed as a collaboration between Keith Deverell, Seth Keen and David Wolf (2007-9) with support from the School of Media and Communication and the Design Research Institute at RMIT University. The screenshot above of the Banter prototype published in the Videodefunct System, documents interviews conducted with the collaborators on the outcomes.


The VD System is a customised WordPress theme that includes a multi-window video player feature that provides the potential to combine and playback multiple video clips. The WordPress dashboard was adapted to upload and classify, video clips using the category and tag features.

A description of the project from the article published in the Video Vortex reader (p 31).

Videodefunct (VD) is a project that explores an alternative form of online video content, which differs from the linear, single window clips that users are familiar with on the video-sharing websites like YouTube. In the context of this research, YouTube is seen as a publishing platform for moving-image content that is predominately produced offline and remains largely unaltered by the Internet environment. A version of Internet TV, that continues the tradition of passive viewers sitting back and watching moving-imagery from beginning to end. In contrast, the aim with this research project is to produce video content online, which responds to some of the inherent characteristics of the digital video format and the network (computers, the Internet and the World Wide Web)

Keen, S. 2008, ‘Videodefunct: Online video is not dead’, in Video Vortex: Responses to YouTube, Institute of Network Cultures and, Amsterdam, Netherlands, pp. 231-237 ISBN: 9789078146056


X-Media Lab

The VD System as a software development project was selected into a commercially orientated international Digital Media think-thank ‘DIY TV: Video, UGC, Mobile and IP TV content and services’, held at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) August, 2008. In a workshop setting with some leading international developers, feedback on the work and the VD system pointed towards an original approach towards granular scene-based video and multi-window viewing.

intro VVortex_MediaArts

Video Vortex II Workshop

The VD System was presented in a workshop at the Netherlands Institute of Media Arts in Amsterdam 2008. This workshop ‘Videodefunct and Showinabox: Hitting Vlogging with a Hammer’ was a collaboration with the Showinabox videoblog developers. Showinabox a community non-profit organisation were engaged in designing plugins that could be used to modify WordPress for videobloggers.

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