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alongside the practice based research, i’ve been attempting to broaden my understanding of the theoretical space i’m working in.



finding this book feels so right as one of the contributors is max schleser, who i know as the organiser of the 2018 mina symposium at which i presented shimmering place.   

of the seven essays seth keen’s is the one i’m currently working with:
The Documentary Designer: A List of Propositions for Interactive Documentary Practice Online

it’s a large piece of writing to process so i plan to break down into small sections.

keen opens by setting a scene.  he links design in context to the internet and it’s fast pace of development.  design being a process that responds to the problems arising through change.  keen’s scene is based on the internet.  this is ok as previous works from me are available on the internet, and we are yet to see if this current work is fully hosted locally or on line.

keen draws our attention to how interactivity has moved away from the “choose your adventure” preface to an either/or structure and how design is a key component of interactive documentary practice.

the internet is multilinear and this is transforming documentary practice.

keen argues for the case of the interactive documentary maker being the documentary designer and sets out points he thinks are needed for the practitioner to understand.  his own experience is underpinning his essay and  vision of a documentary designer.

he cites Ryan 2004, 338 – interactivity changes medias “ability to tell stories and the stories it can tell.”

using korsakow produces a more fluid experience than one where each scene is glued together (thalfofer).

getting further into the introduction keen starts to outline his conceptual infrastructure he’ll use to take us through his vision.  affordances he states are the properties of things involved in delivering the interactive documentary and are :

  • granularity – multiple relationships
  • remix – computer ability to combine and recombine
  • indexing – used to retrieve and form relationships between media
  • spatial montage – ability to have multiple windows open simultaneously.

i see how korsakow fits all of these affordances.  korsakow being the application i’m planning to use to realise the non linear project.  this was invented by thalfofer.

keen presents an argument for videos that can be remixed into different combinations as having a “web of relations”.  the only problem with this is he seems to be suggesting that the web is literally the whole internet.  for this project the space is more clearly defined.

he touches upon bordwell and thompson’s categorisation of linear and narration to arrive at interactive documentary on the web being multilinear non narrative.  for me it starts to get a little too tight and i find myself pulling back slightly so i can still breath.

keen states

“designers are problem-orientated practitioners who integrate hands on skills with conceptual ideas, thinking through their making to create solutions to problems.”


“design thinking recognises that artefacts are propositions that are ideas.”


what has emerged for me is that in the space i am working both change and problems are common place.  i am in effect working on the edge of change – it’s going to be uncomfortable – and it has been.  this uncomfortable feeling is normal and rolling with it has been the best thing to do as it’s not going to go away.



in taking a rest from my note taking i day dream as i look around the coffee shop i’m in. i notice a singer from a band queuing for his latte, about to sit and converse.  i realise that people’s lives weave in a multilinear fashion, transitioning between updating each thread.

i see myself as having a multilinear life.


Ryan, Marie-Laure. Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.Google Scholar

Thalhofer, Florian. Korsakow. Computer Program, 2000.Google Scholar