Postdigital Encounters

Last Friday, on the 24th of June several media practitioners, researchers and academics joined the Post-digital Encounters, an one-day symposium that asked “are we postigital yet?”.

The event explored how the new digital technology era has influenced creativity and media practice. Educational perspectives, research and media practice projects were presented, and even a QR workshop took place during the day. The symposium was split in 2 rooms in the Watershed at Bristol, so here I will highlight what caught strongly my attention and enthusiasm during the day, even though I couldn’t attend all I wanted.

The symposium started with a panel approaching “Creativity and Pedagogy”. Chris Wilson (Derby) analysed the value of creativity, with a special focus on education. Is creativity one of the main assets today? Considering that it is, so how do you teach creativity? How do access it?  “You cannot teach creativity, but you can kill it” (Evans, F.T, in Tornkvist, 1998, p. 5)

Wilson, mentioned something that woke me up for a posible reality, technology and art are so connected these days that in the future technology might be invisible. (The complete programme and papers summary can be found here).

Peter Woodbridge (Coventry) continued the discussion presenting new projects of “Open Media” in the education, as the example of #PICBOD, a free and open undergraduate photography class, lectured at Coventry University. It is an open channel that enables the students, lecturers and whoever from the external world to join the class activity, including comments on student projects, open access to Media talks occurred in the university through open podcasts, and even a class app that ends up reaching more than 500 downloads. The external photography community and the creative university hub are now together, sharing, networking and creating in a open source space.

Before lunch Angelina Karpovich has whet our appetite with an interesting QR Code Workshop titled as “Who might we be?”. Angelina brought us Talesofthings.com a web experience, that is “connecting media to objects”. All the objects have some kind of story, memory or association attached. With QR codes, you can link any object to a “video memory” or an article of text describing its history or background, as Angelina suggests.

In the workshop we were exactly challenged to create a story around random objects there presented. We would pick 2 of them and create a fiction or real story around it. I got excited, and my story went big long and complex, but after all we all feed, consume and enjoy stories. QR codes makes it easier to carry it whatever it is… building, object sold on ebay, piece of art, piece of trash, gift, public monuments… How many times do you wonder, what that “thing” might be?

The afternoon kick-off with a panel about “Collaboration, Participatory Practices and New Forms of Authorship” within the media practice. Luis Alves from the portuguese University of Aveiro, presented us the cinematographic project Aqui!/Here!, led by Amigos d’Avenida and AVANCA’11 Film Festival in Portugal. The project is running a synopsis contest around the world, to select, during the pre-production stage, 10 short films ideas based on the Manifesto for the public space’s ten principles.

The ten short films will together constitute a full-length featured film. The stories will be developed in ten different cities from around the five continents. The films should be a clear statement of the importance of public space as a “meeting place of social interaction, of knowledge and experiment, of entertainment and artistic production. Each story will address one of the different points of the Manifesto.
I found Aqui/Here a really interesting project exploring the interaction between the production of a full-lenght film and its audience, a co-directed cinema as the team states.
The competition, which is open to everyone, is encouraging and promoting submissions of ideas, manly through Facebook and the main social networks. The participation is rolling, with already submitted stories from Singapore, United Kingdom, Brazil, Holland, Portugal and others.
The selected synopsis will attribute to its writers credits as co-author in the movie, prize money and the opportunity to work with the movie’s scriptwriters in the movie production and development of the story’s final script!.

Collaboration and participatory practices in the film production are clearly opening new ways to reinvent production, creativity and the engagement and/or involvement of the audience with its favourite stories. For the most sceptics, new problems would rise like logistics, data management, criteria or viability of contributions. However definitely new ideas and true value messages might come up too, in a more open social interaction production mode.

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