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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

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...
William Uricchio speaking at Singapore Conference

William Uricchio speaking at Singapore Conference

ODL Principal Investigator William Uricchio will present keynote “Old Dogs – New Tricks: Lessons from the interactive documentary at the  International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS) on November 2014 in Singapore. 
Latest entries
Marisa Jahn | Immersive Media & Low Wage Workers

Marisa Jahn | Immersive Media & Low Wage Workers

OpenDocLab Research Affiliate Marisa Jahn is currently investigating transmedia storytelling strategies related to several projects she initiated:El Bibliobandido (or ‘story thief’), an ongoing living legend built around a story-eating bandit who terrorizes little kids until they offer him stories they’ve written; Video Slink Uganda, a project that transposes experimental videos by African diaspora video artists into the Ugandan black market; a public art nanny hotline (think NPR’s car talk but for nannies); the NannyVan,...
Karim Ben Khelifa| The Enemy

Karim Ben Khelifa| The Enemy

Via an immersive augmented-reality installation and an app for tablets and mobiles The Enemy project, by OpenDocLab Fellow Karim Ben Khelifa, attempts to jolt the audience (visitors and viewers) out of the role of passive bystanders who observe never-ending conflicts from a distance, by placing them in the space between two adversaries. The audience will be able to navigate the space between the fighters and listen to their voices and...

Andrew Lowenthal | Video for Change

The Video for Change Impact Project, by OpenDocLab Fellow Andrew Lowenthal, explores the work of short form, citizen video initiatives predominantly from the Global South. Working in collaboration with the video4change network the research explores participation, process, and ethics as key elements in the impact pathway. It also includes a focus on participation and networks in the outreach and engagement stages. Beyond the hits, clicks, and tweets, the research explores how the...
Marie-José Montpetit| Social TV

Marie-José Montpetit| Social TV

In her work, Research Scientist Marie-José Montpetit asks: How can communities be built around TV content in the age of constant connectivity? TV was always social. The original technological design, content programming, and business model of television relied on it being a social medium: TV’s were too expensive to be personal. They were designed for thousands (if not millions) of people to be watching the same program at the same time,...
Hanna Rose Shell | Media Fabric, Textile Skin

Hanna Rose Shell | Media Fabric, Textile Skin

Media Fabric, Textile Skin, a multilayered, multi-linear project, by Associate Professor Hanna Rose Shell, is about the circulation of recycled textiles between the early 1800s and the present. In the result, visitors will be able to hear first-person stories, see technologies being constructed and dismantled, view landscapes as they transition between historical photographs and contemporary video footage, and watch short narrative video clips and archival footage. Layers will all be grounded...
Thorsten Trimpop | The Feather Underground

Thorsten Trimpop | The Feather Underground

The Feather Underground is an interactive project by 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.

Arnau Gifreu Castells

OpenDocLab Research Affiliate Arnau Gifreu Castells looks at how interactive documentary has evolved from linear documentary and all the issues these changes raise, including production and distribution logistics; the role of the author; and building a strong business model.  In addition, he curates playlists and finds and analyzes Latin projects for Docubase.

Raney Aronson-Rath

In her time at at 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 conversations...

Kathy Im | Developing Interactive Media Guidelines

OpenDocLab Fellow Kathy Im is interested in exploring the intersection of documentaries, journalism, and interactive media as it relates to social issue content created in the public interest. What are the important experiments and trends in the production of interactive documentaries?  What are the standards and expectations of digital news organizations?  What resonates with the audience and has the potential to influence culture and policy change?  Could the convergence of new forms of documentary storytelling and digital...

Exit Zero Kickstarter Campaign

MIT Associate Professor Chris Walley and Filmmaker Chris Boebel – Open Doc Lab affiliates who teach a documentary film class at MIT – are currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise finishing funds for their documentary film Exit Zero. (For more info, see www.exitzeroproject. org or a recent Q&A in Belt magazine http://beltmag.com/exit-zero-q-and-a/). The documentary is part of a larger transmedia project that includes a book also...
MIT SHASS | Open Documentary Lab puts MIT in the vanguard of new media for storytelling

MIT SHASS | Open Documentary Lab puts MIT in the vanguard of new media for storytelling

MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences profiles the OpenDocLab: “The documentary field now is like looking at the first five to eight years of television…new tools, new storytelling techniques, new participants. It’s a very exciting moment.” – William Uricchio
Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 4

Moments of convergence and innovation between documentary film and interactive media, Part 4

The Research Forum is OpenDocLab’s space for researchers to voice their opinions and test new theories. As part of our mission to promote the exchange of ideas about the new arts of documentary, we hope to encourage academic discussion and debate about these emerging forms by creating a place where researchers can develop ideas and interact with the field. The views presented here belong to their authors and will necessarily take different forms....