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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.
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,...
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....
Latest entries
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, my...
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...

Raney Aronson-Rath

In her time at at MIT, MIT OpenDocLab Fellow Raney Aronson-Rath would like to tap into the new exciting, emerging Virtual reality 3D technology with the hope that this new technology has the ability to transform the way we tell stories and the look and feel of our documentaries.  She will be exploring 3D not just for immersive scenes in the field but also in applying this new technology to...
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

MIT 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...
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. MIT 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...
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 MIT 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...
Isabelle Raynauld| Brain, Music and Memory

Isabelle Raynauld| Brain, Music and Memory

With the Brain, Music and Memory  project, Isabelle Raynauld, MIT OpenDocLab Visiting Scholar, wishes to create an interactive and immersive web documentary that invites the spectator/user to explore the human brain from a sound perspective.   She is particularly interested in representing how the human brain «hears», how it «permits»  us to store musical memories and to relate to voices and sounds even when our cognitive abilities are weakened by illness or...
Jeff Soyk | Bisbee

Jeff Soyk | Bisbee

MIT OpenDocLab Fellow Jeff Soyk investigates blurring the lines between storyteller, subject and audience in an interactive space. He sees great potential in empowering individuals and merging multiple forms of media to create meaningful experiences that create a lasting impact. Since 2012, Soyk has studied and worked in the field of interactive documentary. Projects include: the 2013 Peabody Award winner Hollow—a story about small-town America, depopulation, and the meaning of...
Thorsten Trimpop | The Feather Underground

Thorsten Trimpop | The Feather Underground

The Feather Underground is an interactive project by MIT OpenDocLab Fellow Thorsten Trimpop.  It invites the user/viewer to play the role of a detective and  inquirer on a strange crime involving rare birds and feathers. During the exploration, the user/viewer meets curious characters, penetrates in different subcultures, and discovers how the human obsession with beauty has led to the plunder of the earth for profit, empire, and knowledge.
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...