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frederic

JOURNALIST   +   COPY_WRITER   +   WRITER   +   NETWORKER   +   PROJECT_MANAGER

Le OFFTA, 18 degrés au soleil
0

Le OFFTA, vous connaissez? Ça sonne comme une boulette de viande marocaine (kefta) et il est vrai que ça roule! Mais le OFFTA ça ne fait pas que rouler, ça tourne aussi.

Une équipe de tournage sera au Parc LaFontaine (Montréal) dès 13h ce dimanche 1er mai pour capter un avant-goût de cette boulette de danse et théâtre. En effet, les artistes de l'édition alternative et "underground" du Festival Transamériques 2011 seront là pour éventer leurs performances.

Venez au pique-nique ce dimanche pour connaitre la programmation 2011 du OFFTA... question de s'asseoir dans l'herbe avant de passer aux urnes. Le pique-nique aura des allures de sit-in célébrant l'art, la rencontre, le partage, les mélanges.

Le menu?
Musique live avec Mark Berube (http://www.markberube.com/), Roman Orchestra, Jean-François Lessard (http://www.jeanfrancoislessard.com/) et autres; présentation unplugged de la programmation du festival, tartinades et limonade.

Où?
Parc La Fontaine, Montréal (accès rue Rachel / près du Centre culturel Calixa-Lavallée)

Quand?
Dimanche 1er mai à 13 h

Qui?
Votre famille, vos amis, votre chien, vos voisins, votre épicier, votre boulette...

Infos? info@offta.com

Le OFFTA est un Polaroid des grands mouvements en art vivant. Un instantané pris par une équipe d'artistes qui place au centre de son objectif les créateurs de sa génération.
- Jasmine Catudal, directrice générale et artistique

Site Web: http://www.offta.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/offta

Vote GDP
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OK, I was against this idea.
- What idea?
- The idea to post a self-promotional text on Memefest
But my dear friend Oliver Vodeb says:
- The work is really great, important and has radical effects. The project is 100% in line with memefest...
-100%? OK, let's try... and we'll see

People, people, I have worked on a webdocumentary project in 2010 called the GDP project. 'Cause you see, that's what I do in life. Work on new-reportage-kinda-projects. Now, the GDP Project was nominated for a Webby Award. That's in Documentary:series section. And guess what. We were trailing at 6% of the vote this very morning, April 13. After 3 hours and my little personal networking, we received substantial amounts of votes and we're at 12%, ready to pass our competitors.

The GDP Project deals with the economic crisis. Wow! Sexy! No, not sexy, I reckon. But dawn nice. :) It deals with the recession upfront. It takes it as is, from the human side. During one full year in Canada's recession, we followed the life of 17 Canadians from different sectors and social classes. The result is a stunning megadocumentary in which you'll get to the core of how people survive economic hardship.

Not convinced? Click here, watch the trailer and please, please, please, vote for GDP. http://webby.aol.com/category_groups/online-film-and-video/categories/documentary-series

Every vote really does count. Let's see if this fits Memefest 100%. Go!

Korsakow, from film cuts & software codes
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It's on campus in Bangalore, on campus in Melbourne and then again in Berlin and Montreal. The Korsakow System is on! "The what?," I thought, scratching my head. "Yeah, you know, Korsakow is a principle, a logic, with its own rules and structure," media artist Florian Thalhofer (http://www.thalhofer.com/) tells me over the phone. And so it is. Florian is the guy behind Korsakow. And to make things clear, Korsakow is "an easy-to-use computer program for the creation of database films". I don't know about the "easy-to-use” part, nor do I know much about database films, but what I know and see, is that darn good films using Korsakow hit more and more computer screens around the world.

From Experimental, to Alternative

One cannot really say that K-films (films created with the Korsakow System) are mainstream - and this is exactly why the author of this post is writing about it. From "a garage" in a backstreet of Berlin 10 years back, the system just grew and grew, evolving into a well-rounded and well-defined genre of film.

Florian first started juggling with film cuts and software codes when a student at the Berlin's University of Applied Arts (UDK - http://www.udk-berlin.de/sites/content/topics/home/index_eng.html). Many experimental films and mentoring projects later, he met Matt Soar, associate professor in communications at Concordia University, Montreal. In 2008, backed by research funding, they - along with film and software people – managed to launch Korsakow version 5.0 as a “free*, open source software, built in Java”. It is now available under the GNU General Public License.

One of the latest K-films, Planet Galata (http://planetgalata.com/), was produced by the European TV and Web channel ARTE. It tells the story of the lively and colourful Galata bridge in Instanbul, with its philosophical restaurant waiters, scared street vendors, tired security personnel and money-chasing barbers. A mosaic that one can only recommend, especially when you don't have the visa or the money to check out the Galata bridge yourself.

Galata's good and the news from Australia, even more. Twenty-seven K-films where produced Down Under last year, tens are currently made in the US, Sri Lanka, Germany and Canada. The super tiny project of 3 has morphed into an international network of database narrators, going as far as taking Korsakow to the streets. In Munich the software was used for a live and interactive performance. In Berlin's Jewish Museum, a Korsakow installation was put together (you can still see it), drawing on interviews about Berliner's relation to kosher food.

The Korsakow Syndrome

“The thing that's special with Korsakow, is that the author decides on the rules with which the film evolves. He's not deciding on the course of the film but on the rules of the game,” an enthusiastic Florian continues. “It's like a soccer game for which I'd decide on the size of the pitch, plugging my teams in, but not deciding on the outcome.”

Most commonly, K-films are documentary films. Films that fall in the large category of interactive documentaries or, what many like to call webdocumentaries. But unlike most webdocumentaries, K-films are database narratives. The storyline is never drawn out. Like one expects from a documentary, Korsakow films are “author-oriented products,” like Florian likes to put it. The content is very much defined by the author, the filmmaker. But on the consumer-side, once the film is ready to go online, it's an entirely different story.

You watch a segment of 2 minutes, and then move on to another one of your own choice. Depending on the segment you select, this will provide you with a new choice among the remaining segments in the database... and this is how you spend 2 hours on a snowy Sunday afternoon in January in Montreal. “It's always a different story that comes. A story is not fix, it always evolves and is told in different ways. Variations are needed so that everyone can learn from watching their own combination, not the one the author predefined,” explains Florian.

Free the Protagonists!

When you scratch the surface, you realize that Florian “Korsakow” Thalhofer just doesn't dig linear filmmaking. It's not so much that he sees Korsakow as a religion, but rather that he's repelled by the many rules imposed upon the author by linear film. When last working with ARTE on a linear version of Planet Galata, he realized how constrained he was, trying to fit his free narrative into the “Monster film” format, with its set sequences, the necessary build-up and storytelling conventions. “It became a fairy tale,” he quite frankly admits. “Making a linear documentary is like being a fireman with a huge water hose that you can't control,” Florian illustrates. At the end of the day, Monster Film always wins and eats up the film's protagonists”.

For more info on how to free your protagonists, visit the Korsakow website and see for yourself: http://korsakow.org/about


*Korsakow is free if you’re using it for educational purposes (teaching; computer labs; school assignments) or a small project, i.e. with production budgets of less than €5,000 or $6,500.

Frédéric Dubois is based in Montréal.

Le webdocumentaire en 2011
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En mars 2010, l'expert français en audiovisuel Web & TV, Olivier Crou (ourc sur Twitter), a contribué un billet puissant au sujet du webdocumentaire. Il y explique avec moultes détails et exemples en quoi ce "nouveau" genre de documentaire permet à la fois une lecture délinéarisée et participative.

Il soutient notamment que le webdocumentaire offre une nouvelle grammaire, une nouvelle façon de narrer une histoire. Son billet complet se trouve ici: http://webdocu.fr/web-documentaire/2010/03/05/qu%E2%80%99est-ce-que-le-webdocumentaire/ Je vous le recommande fortement.

Ce billet et tous les contenus qui ont fusé par la suite en 2010 -- autant sur les plateformes de l'ONF (http://interactif.onf.ca), d'ARTE (http://webdocs.arte.tv) que de LeMonde.fr (http://www.lemonde.fr/a-la-une/visuel/2010/04/09/le-corps-handicape-vivre-apres-l-accident_1330980_3208.html), et les sites indépendants (ex: http://www.lescommunesdeparis.fr/) -- en ont fait une année faste pour le documentaire interactif.

Mais ce genre, souvent mépris pour le reportage multimédia (il est vrai, la frontière entre documentaire et reportage est parfois fine), a un temps été vu comme un genre-refuge pour un journalisme agonisant. Or, depuis, il y a eu WikiLeaks, phénomène autrement plus massif et qui devrait durablement modifier le journalisme dans nos soi-disantes démocraties. WikiLeaks et ses inévitables émuls, les variantes sur le thème du data-journalisme et autres initiatives alliant enquête, programmation, graphisme et narration vont faire tout un tapage en 2011, c'est garanti.

Le webdocumentaire, lui, restera. Il ne sera pas une panacée pour les journalistes et documentaristes qui vivent de plus en plus des situations de précarité avancée. Mais il sera. Les reporters multimédia -- surtout les natifs du Web -- et les documentaristes curieux de la culture numérique, devraient être en mesure, en 2011, de créer ici et là de bons récits documentaires accotés sur une infrastructure technique d'avant-garde.

Ce que Gaza-Sderot (http://gaza-sderot.arte.tv/fr/) et Waterlife (http://waterlife.nfb.ca) ont été en 2009 et, Prison Valley (http://prisonvalley.arte.tv/?lang=fr) et PIB (http://pib.onf.ca) en 2010, d'autres le seront en 2011.

Ceci dit, il y a lieu de se questionner sur la capacité d'attraction de ce genre. Tout comme le documentaire classique, jusqu'à preuve du contraire, le webdocumentaire n'a pas réussi à attirer de foules. À l'exception des webdocs adossés à des télés publiques, les webdocumentaires ne créent pas d'engouement populaire. Sont-ils surproduits? Surfaits? Inaccessibles pour le citoyen? Je ne pourrais dire, pour l'instant. Il reste qu'il s'agit d'un irritant qu'il faudra dépasser en 2011, si le genre est pour se faire une petite place dans les chaumières.

Certains plaident d'ores et déjà pour le cross-média (ou transmédia, c'est selon) -- forme de production dans laquelle on joue sur plusieurs tableaux (sur plusieurs écrans). Or, là réside justement un petit problème. Appelons ça un risque,

L'une des beautés du webdocumentaire réside dans le fait qu'il peut (mais ne doit pas) se confiner au Web indépendant, voire au Web non-commercial. ARTE et l'ONF, deux agences publiques, dispensées de l'obligation de maximiser les profits (jeu auquel joue la télé privée), se démarquent d'ailleurs au chapitre de la production de webdocumentaires. C'est le cas aussi des autres télédiffuseurs publics et même les ONGs (ex: Médecins sans frontières et leur "État: critique" http://www.condition-critical.org/fr/).

Pour boucler la boucle, je pense sérieusement que le webdocumentaire est voué à un bel avenir cette année encore, mais à la condition qu'il arrive à user de ruse pour se faire une place au soleil. Une place dans le Web citoyen et sur les supports mobiles. Au lieu d'abdiquer du Web d'avance en tentant de s'en remettre à des stratégies cross-média qui font malheureusement trop souvent le jeu des impératifs des télés privées, les artisans du webdocumentaire devront continuer à flirter avec toutes les possibilités du Web indépendant. On est loin d'avoir tout essayé.

Je ne dis pas pour autant que les intérêts privés ne sauraient faire dans le webdocumentaire, comme l'ont tenté SFR en France avec le webdoc Homo Numericus (http://www.sfrplayer.com/homonumericus/#/le-webdocumentaire-sur-la-revolution-numerique-de-sfr-page-d-accueil) ou encore MediaStorm aux États-Unis, qui ne cesse de pondre des essais photo-vidéo de haute qualité, en association avec des médias commerciaux. Les exemples existent, mais pour le nombre de médias qui auraient le potentiel de produire des webdocumentaires, force est d'admettre que l'entreprise privée n'est pas au rendez-vous. Question de culture, d'intérêt.

Le webdocumentaire en est à ses premiers balbutiements. Si toutefois 2011 s'avère un échec sur le plan de l'auditoire, il se pourrait fort bien que le genre soit déjà en train de connaître son âge d'or. Le succès d'estime, c'est bon, le succès d'auditoire, c'est mieux ;-)

Bonne année 2011.

Frédéric Dubois est basé à Montréal.

Anthropographia - The Interview
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Interview with Anthropographia founder and manager Matthieu Rytz.

FD: Anthropographia -- http://www.anthropographia.org/ -- is an international photo competition. What makes this one unique?

MR: Anthropographia is a non-profit organization that aims to promote human rights using photography as a medium.

We're supporting photo essays that have been produced on a long term basis. We value the engagement with which the photographer does his work. We don't want to promote news photography, as our interest relies with in-depth stories.

The uniqueness of our competition is also based on the structure of the organization. We give a universal and free access to everybody who wants to submit a photo essay. This is uncommon practice, as most photo competitions require fees to participate. The last but not the least, we are curating the competition rather that judging it. A curating process is quite different from that of the judging one. Curating allows to put together stories in a specific direction, to work at a grassroots level and to publish emerging photographers. We also want to bring out stories that don't make the headlines.

FD: Yes, but many of the photos you include in your exhibits have already been presented elsewhere. Is there a uniqueness that we're missing out on here?

MR: Yes, the last two exhibitions presented famous work that was shown before. It was mostly a strategic choice. As the photojournalism field is highly competitive, we decided to first include well-known photographers in the selection. This helped us get some leverage with and recognition from the photographic community. In the following years we will include much more work from emerging photographers within the exhibitions. We will also include more "non-western" photographers.

FD: Anthropographia is moving into multimedia for human rights. What can we expect to see 3 years from now?

MR: By now most of the multimedia selected were linear works with lengths varying between 9 and 12 minutes. In the following years we wish to build a much more interactive experience by creating links between the printed exhibitions and a dynamic website. Next year, for instance, we will include a QRcode in the exhibition caption, in order to link virtual contents trough mobile devices. We wish to create a transmedia space.

FD: Would you qualify Anthropographia's exhibits as 'radical communication' spaces?

MR: The 'radical communication spaces' with Anthropographia are the exhibition spaces themselves. We push the limits of traditional exhibitions. Last year, we brought the exhibit into a national library in a small town in northern Quebec. We are planing to hit Asian shopping malls next year. We want to hit as many people as we possibly can by using many venues which are outside the gallery and festival circuit. Our main goal is to bring general education and awareness about social issues through visual storytelling. On can also recognize the radical communication from our 100% editorial freedom.

FD: If you had to think about a Memefest-Anthropographia partnership, what could that be like?

MR: We will be glad to spread information through the Memefest network. We may also partner for exhibitions and online projects. If Memefest wishes to think about how we can work on a transmedia partnership, we'll be delighted to collaborate.

For the Anthropographia competition, go here: http://www.anthropographia.org/

Frédéric Dubois performed this online interview with Anthropographia's Matthieu Rytz.

Taking Back the Tech
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All of you use it. Some people misuse it. I'm talking about technology. Communication technology like cellphones or internet access points are particularly appreciated by those who use technology to get under your skin. They track you, observe you, CCTV you, have sex with you... in their dreams! The misuse of technology has been growing with the increased use of video games, internet porn portals and commercialization of every aspect of the private sphere.

Now, many stories emerge form as many countries, developed and emerging. Stories of women being drugged, raped, recorded agonizing on cellphone video and exposed on the net, for as many other bandits to see and fantasize about. This larger-than-real reality is unfortunately much more common than one would think.

The Inter Press Agency (IPS) -- an independent news wire -- is even taking the unprecedented step this year to take up the issue, by reporting from all over the world. They have just put out three fine pieces about violence against women through the use of technology. One from the streets of Ciudad Evita, Argentina (http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53652), the other from a school yard in Karachi, Pakistan (http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53669) and the third from the connected neighbourhoods of Kampala, Uganda (http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53670). IPS is partnering with long-time Internet and ICT for human rights advocate APC -- the Association for Progressive Communications -- to accompany a 16-day campaign called Take Back the Tech. I strongly encourage you to read their well-informed articles on gender-based violence.

Started on November 25 and pushing the envelope until December 10, the Take Back the Tech campaign was started by APC and it's women programme back in 2005. Five years later, TBTT, as it is known, is now all over the internet, women centres, Twitter, cellphone devices, posters and obviously also on Facebook. Here's the main campaign headquarters: http://www.takebackthetech.net/

The interesting thing about TBTT is that it's 16 creative days in which people from all strands of life are asked to contribute 1 action a day. Make a poster, write to your Women Affairs Minister, watch & share a video, etc. Agreed, this is NOT what's going to solve the problem of women being abused with the support of technology. No, I'm not saying that. But I'm convinced that this campaign, and I have found the proof of it in the last 3 years, can raise awareness in big ways. It's fresh, creative, radical and darn pink!

Yes, Take Back the Tech is action-oriented, hands-on, whatever you want to call it. It's day 2 today, so you still got 2 weeks to make this happen. Let your community know about violence against women and how to fight it. Technology's generally neutral. Take it, use it for what counts: combating injustice and fighting for a better community. http://www.takebackthetech.net/take-action/16days


Frédéric is writing from Cologne.

First Person Digital Online
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"First Person Digital is coming up real fast," said Reisa Levine when I met her over coffee last week. The web project manager from Montreal was putting the final touches on the organizing of FPD, a collab between Studio XX - a Montreal feminist digital art centre - and the NFB - Canada's public film producer.

One week later, First Person Digital is launched with a fresh blend of artists on the roster: ginger coons, Michelle Smith, Ellen Tang, Katarina Soukup, Courtney Montour and Vanessa Matsui & Liane Balaban all came together during this year's Htmlles Festival.

From interactive locative media application for the iPhone to cyberterritory, from an alternate history of computation to CRANKYTOWN - an interactive village themed around menstruation and menopause, First Person Digital plays with technology and masters the art of subversion.

Htmlles 2010 is a Festival of media art and culture for and by women. Be sure to check out the many projects presented this week : http://www.htmlles.net/2010/projects/ and browse the schedule to see what Montreal's most interactive and innovative festival has in stock: http://www.htmlles.net/2010/schedule/

Thumbs up to all artists in this year's edition of Htmlles. Your social and personal critique of digital culture, as well as the many creations presented bring a new light to an otherwise commercial & masculine technosphere.

First Person Digital: http://www.firstpersondigital.ca/html/participants.html


Frédéric Dubois writes from Montreal.

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