Transmedia, Cats and Strangers in Amsterdam

At Doc Lounge we are investigating transmedia documentaries and how they could best be shared with audiences at our live events. We've already presented transmedia projects including 48 Hour Games and Robots in Residence, but we want to know more! This blog post is by Laura Klindt Nielsen from Doc Lounge Aarhus

Dear Doc Loungers,

I have just come home from IDFA. Such fun! A huge documentary film festival with loads of screenings in big, old cinemas in the beautiful, hash-smelling streets of Amsterdam. I went to research the interactive programme, DocLab, in order to see how we can use transmedia at Doc Lounge.

Most of the projects at DocLab were explorations of our digital behaviour, websites where you sit on your own in front of a computer, like I Know Where Your Cat Lives which locates your cat through the information embedded in the metadata of your cat pictures. Some projects were completely isolating - virtual reality goggles certainly are impressive, but they transfer you to a place where you can only go alone - such as in Strangers, where you sit in the cool attic studio of musician Patrick Watson and watch him rehearse.

However, how can we use transmedia for shared experiences which are key to Doc Lounge?

On Sunday, I went to the DocLab Conference, which featured several speeches about the future of documentary storytelling and our unavoidable digital presence - says I - who prefer real books to Kindles. It was interesting to hear all the perspectives and ideas for uses, and I had a nice old chat with the guy who made I Know Where Your Cat Lives in the coffee queue. (I asked him why MY cat did not appear and he explained that only 1, 000, 000 cats were included ... meaning some little kitties, including my Napoleon, had to be left out). Like all new inventions, the Internet carries both it's own possibilities and catastrophes. A lot was said about world surveillance and the privacy, or opposite, of our data, but the general atmosphere was of excitement in opportunity. I particularly appreciated the idea of using old smartphones to save the rainforests and The Machine To Be Another, which aims to create empathy by using VR goggles to help us feel like another person.

If we think creatively, it may be possible to add some of that meaningful interactivity to Doc Lounge events in other ways than playing big computer games with our audience.

Laura Klindt Nielsen

Top Image: Strangers

Bottom Image: Laura and some new friends

Doc Lounge Transmedia is supported by Nordisk Kulturfond