Speculations on Openings, Closings, and Thresholds in International Public Media
Thursday, September 24, 2009
In the old world order, writing entered public space like a piece of fine artisanal pottery, all the edges smoothed, the colors subtle, the shape pleasing and proportioned, the surface carefully etched with perfectly balanced markings. Precious, perfect, poised.
In the new world of “open space,” writing, we think, enters other worlds as an incomplete text inviting context and collaboration. It’s a space where ideas need other people and their insights to breathe, expand, get pushed. It’s a process of letting go, in order to go somewhere else.
So we’d like to invite you to comment and respond to some of our arguments about Open Space Documentary below. We need you. And we need to put these ideas into a larger conversation.
We’ll be presenting our ongoing research project, “The Open Space Project: Towards a Collaborative and Relational Documentary Practice” as one of the keynotes at the Sepancine 5th International Conference on Film Theory and Analysis in Morelia, Mexico, October 1-3, 2009. Sponsored by the Mexican Society of Film Theory and Analysis of the Metropolitan Autonomous University-Cuajimalpa (UAM-C), the conference is also part of the Morelia International Film Festival, one of the premiere film festivals in Mexico and Latin America. The festival runs October 3-11, 2009.
Oh…almost forgot…if you are a reader of Indiewire.com and Variety, you might be wondering what a film theory conference has to do with major world class film festival. The answer is simple: in the exciting, explosive, and expanding space that is Mexican film, video and new media at the moment, practice needs theory and theory needs practice because the stakes are high, the politics intense, and the questions large.
We hope you will comment on some of our opening arguments, posted below.
WHY “OPEN SPACE” FOR DOCUMENTARY?
1. It can restore social, human-scaled and local agency in new and unimagined ways. It invites new conversations and behaviors while connecting people. It fights fear with pleasure and fun.
2. It can convene people intentionally around and in real community spaces, offering an experience that reclaims patches of the social media environment from global corporatism.
3. It lives in and evolves through expansive networks, communities and clusters beyond traditional media distribution channels by experimenting with multiple versions and reaching out to contributors across disciplines and generations.
4. It invites media makers and exhibitors to become “context providers” rather than “content providers,” reframing the more fluid movement and interconnections across disciplinary, epistemological and political boundaries.
5. It encourages attention to micro-territorial media ecologies where different discourses, practices and dynamically shifting elements will engage both convener and participants in unanticipated ways.
6. It acknowledges and works within a permeable space in which collaboration, contingency, horizontality, adaptability, decentralization and the migration across media platforms occurs frequently and with force.