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Open Spaces

Open Spaces

Speculations on Openings, Closings, and Thresholds in International Public Media

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Posted by Patricia Zimmermann at 10:26AM
Morelia International Film Festival logo

Blog written by Helen De Michiel, filmmaker and codirector, National Alliance of Media Arts and Culture, and Patricia Zimmermann, professor, Department of Cinema, Photography and Media Arts

We’ve decided to roll out Part II of our working papers on our open space documentary project so that folks at the Sepancine Film Theory Conference and Morelia International Film Festival in Morelia, Mexico—and readers of this blog-- can have access. We’ve included the Spanish translation as well in the document on the sidebar.

We wanted to share a bit more about our new research initiative, The Open Space Documentary Project.

We also decided  to open up the conversation further before we arrive in Morelia in central Mexico  this week. The comments on our previous posting have been really provocative. They have pushed us into some new thinking. We’ll be writing more from Morelia, Mexico, so stay tuned…Join the conversation and share your thoughts.



1. If technology is now the primary shaper of human identity in a world of increasingly seductive illusions, how can we re-envision those illusions as a step to dreaming them in a new and different way?

2. Open Space documentary stimulates creative inquiry into how we practice empathetic dialogue: within ourselves, with other individuals, in a larger community, and across our broader society.

3. In this model, rapidly evolving technological interfaces liberate artists to explore new ways to frame community activities as creative practice, and weave them into a larger social fabric of history and memory rather than as simply products for purchase and consumption.

4. For Open Space documentary to be successful, a project team must agree with a group of commonly shared values that organize the project. They must also constantly articulate and test how much they can tolerate a horizontal process that allows inputs from a variety of different participants.

5. This model holds the promise to help in the building of strong local infrastructures by developing living archives of public memory and history that resist control by consumer and corporate agendas.

6. Open Space projects embrace a spirit of "amplitude" including:

* the intention to view a subject from every possible perspective;

* a curiosity about and compassion for the thinking of other people and other eras (i.e. holding deep historical perspectives and transmitting values across generations);

* the assumption that collaborations and interactions are reciprocally beneficial and open-ended.

7. Open Space documentary reanimates the processes and outcomes of co-creation among individuals and groups. These processes can be:

* Playful, reflective and capable of endless variety;

* Always moving between self-awareness and the external world of public interaction;

* Permissive of competing theories and systems;

* Protective of the capacity to learn and grow beyond original conceptions or storylines.

8. Open Space documentary equals a networked game structure with many potential outcomes that cannot always be planned for.

9. This model offers an environment for dialogue around a topic or issue that is not based on opinion or argument; but rather catalyzes possible next steps needed to connect, communicate and collaborate on human-scaled local actions.

10. Open Space documentary intentionally reclaims media technologies in order to re-envision interactive public, democratic and social relationships in all their subtle and complicated interactions.



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