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Welcome to the MIT Open Documentary Lab

The OpenDocLab brings technologists, storytellers, and scholars together to advance the new arts of documentary.
OpenDocLab awarded a grant to study the intersection of New Documentary forms and Digital Journalism

OpenDocLab awarded a grant to study the intersection of New Documentary forms and Digital Journalism

The MIT Open Documentary Lab received a grant this Fall for $175k from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to map and assess the intersection of new documentary forms and digital journalism....
Challenging Convention | Raney Aronson-Rath

Challenging Convention | Raney Aronson-Rath

PART 3: Challenging Convention I remember walking into our newsroom on that day and telling our then head of digital Andrew Golis how clear it was to me how the documentary form would be challenged,...
Latest entries
Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 6

Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 6

Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media: Decade 1970-1980 by Arnau Gifreu Castells To formulate a relevant concept for the interactive documentary field we need to explore some aspects of the two key areas: the documentary genre and the interactive medium. This new series presents a combined, parallel, and comparative historical chronology of these areas up to the present moment of confluence. The two stories we...
No Turning Back | Raney Aronson-Rath

No Turning Back | Raney Aronson-Rath

PART 2 – No Turning Back We’ve all had that moment (well, those of us not born with iPads!) when we realized there was no turning back on embracing the digital disruption that was taking place. Looking back I wonder to myself, how could I not have known how dramatically our field would change? It started for me in a fundamental way four and a half years ago when the...
Dox Magazine | Evolution: An Inside Look at the Open Doc Lab

Dox Magazine | Evolution: An Inside Look at the Open Doc Lab

OpenDocLab Artist-in-Residence Suvi Helminen talks with Principal Investigator William Uricchio in this Dox Magazine profile of the lab and the history of documentary’s relationship with new media technology: From a technological point of view MIT has had great impact on media history in terms of providing affordances for which type of content could be created. Curiously this impact is however often unplanned, because new technology is almost always repurposed and...
Philip Napoli, “Media Impact Assessment and Beyond: Thoughts on the Treacherous Task of Quantifying Journalistic Performance”

Philip Napoli, “Media Impact Assessment and Beyond: Thoughts on the Treacherous Task of Quantifying Journalistic Performance”

September 18 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm In recent years, a variety of funders have begun to invest substantially in efforts to assess the impact of media initiatives such as documentary films and journalism ventures. These efforts reflect a fundamental shift in how media performance is assessed (and whose assessments matter) in an environment of extreme audience fragmentation and increased challenges to monetizing media content. This presentation will focus...
Back to School | Raney Aronson-Rath

Back to School | Raney Aronson-Rath

PART 1 – Back to School OpenDocLab Fellow Raney Aronson-Rath describes what it’s like to be back in school after 20 years. Her blog will follow her year-long journey as she re-imagines how interactive documentary filmmaking will impact her thinking and her work at FRONTLINE, where she is Deputy Executive Producer. This piece was originally posted at raneyaronson.tumblr.com.    I had one of those weeks where big moments collided: ­ my daughter started kindergarten,...
Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 5

Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 5

Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media: Decade 1950-1960 by Arnau Gifreu Castells To formulate a relevant concept for the interactive documentary field we need to explore some aspects of the two key areas: the documentary genre and the interactive medium. This new series presents a combined, parallel, and comparative historical chronology of these areas up to the present moment of confluence. The two stories we...
Lara Baladi | Vox Populi, Archiving a Revolution in the Digital Age

Lara Baladi | Vox Populi, Archiving a Revolution in the Digital Age

During the #Jan25 revolution—the hashtag used by online activists during the 2011 Egyptian uprising—the world watched as Egyptians toppled their president, Hosni Mubarak, transforming Tahrir Square into a vibrant place for demonstrations of social solidarity and political struggle. Just as the YouTube video “Tiananmen-Cairo Courage in Cairo” went viral, a friend posted on Facebook a speech Jean Paul Sartre had delivered to an audience of striking French autoworkers 40 years earlier. As the political...
Halsey Burgund | Roundware

Halsey Burgund | Roundware

OpenDocLab Fellow Halsey Burgund is exploring how the techniques and technologies he has developed to create immersive, geo-located audio installations can be adapted by documentary storytellers.  Halsey developed and open-sourced the Roundware audio platform which enables him to create his installations, and he will investigate how Roundware might be used to enhance physical spaces with location-based audio content to create self-guided interactive documentary experiences. Halsey’s work—and hence the Roundware platform—is...
Katerina Cizek | HIGHRISE: Digital Citizenship (working title)

Katerina Cizek | HIGHRISE: Digital Citizenship (working title)

The final major project to emerge from the National Film Board of Canada’s HIGHRISE,  DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP is a documentary and academic collaborative study investigating the invisible digital lives and stories of people living vertically around the world. From intimate whispers across skype, to the explosive political uses of whatsapp, how are relationships shifting between global cities, citizenship, and digital technologies? In this unprecedented joint project, produced by MIT Visiting Artist...
David Dufresne | Off Side

David Dufresne | Off Side

Sports and Money. Money and Sports. OFF SIDE is an investigative game about both the good and the dark sides of sports business. OpenDocLab fellow David Dufresne has the idea to go even deeper and further exploring digital storytelling and the role of the user inside a game than he did with  www.fortmcmoney.com.   At MIT,  David Dufresne will research the following questions: How to turn spectators into active/hardcore players? How to better manage the notion of time...
Tina Gharavi | From the Plantation to the Penitentiary

Tina Gharavi | From the Plantation to the Penitentiary

From the Plantation to the Penitentiary is a documentary by OpenDocLab Fellow Tina Gharavi.  It confronts the worsening social issues arising from the current prison-for-profit system. A film that puts front and centre social injustice, political corruption, and racial inequality in America today—asking whether America needs to re-examine its past in order to be able to move forward. This project is complemented by an on-line interactive project, X-Roads (info available on our...
Suvi Helminen | FLUX

Suvi Helminen | FLUX

During OpenDocLab Fellow Suvi Helminen’s residency, she has been working on Flux, an interactive web documentary exploring gender identity as a social construct. The user travels through a portal to visit Flux, an alternate world where gender is negotiated, fluid, and not given. The narrative will be personalized and adapt to each individual user; it unfolds as a consequence of the user’s actions. The outcome is for users to reflect...