Live Doc Project
Kim Nelson, Director of the Humanities Research Group, Associate Professor of Cinema Arts, School of Creative Arts, University of Windsor
A Short Interview
Kim unveils the captivating and interactive world of The Live Doc. Project, where the boundaries of traditional documentaries are deconstructed through immersive live audience interaction. Howell et al. write, “The NLG (1996) recognized the link between design, creativity, and innovation by introducing the term hybridity referring to “multifarious combinations of modes of meaning cutting across boundaries of conventions and creating new conventions” (p. 82)” (2015, p. 7). The deconstruction of the traditional documentary allows for new design structures and meanings to emerge through audience interactions. In the below video, Kim shares her vision of combining film and cinema with real-time human engagement, creating a transformative learning environment.
The Live Doc. Project is not just about presenting documentaries; it is a dynamic space where document creators and audience members engage in a mutual exchange of knowledge and ideas. Kim emphasizes the project’s essence, where people sometimes push back and challenge the narrative, conclusions, or history presented. This friction becomes the catalyst for growth and learning within the project. The learning space is designed to invite the audience not only to watch but also actively interact with the material, fostering deep engagement and meaningful conversations.
Moreover, Kim highlights the powerful synergy between learning and entertainment within The Live Doc. Project. The levels of learning are matched by the levels of entertainment, creating an immersive experience that captivates both the mind and the senses. The theory of multiliteracies can “foster life long learners, individuals who are then able to initiate, respond, and adapt to changes in work force, community, and cultural contexts. Life long learning can be enhanced with a recognition for the power of expansive forms of literacy that include multimodalities” (Holloway & Gouthro, 2020, p. 217). Through live narration, creative visuals, and live musicians blending music with the unfolding live narrative, the project delivers an unforgettable fusion of education and entertainment.
The Live Doc. Project’s ability to ignite intellectual curiosity, spark meaningful dialogue, and foster genuine human connection creates a dynamic interaction that nurtures a vibrant and inclusive community of learners. Below, Kim’s short capture interview video offers a glimpse into the groundbreaking project that redefines the documentary experience, transcending the traditional boundaries of storytelling (building upon a long tradition of somewhat similar interactive experiences within film studies but in new ways). The Live Doc. Project is a visionary endeavour, where film, real-time engagement, and shared learning with the live audience converge to create a spontaneous, immersive, and transformative experience.
For more information about the Live Doc. Project, please go to: https://www.livedocproject.com/
Live Interactive Documentary
The “Live Interactive Documentary” video below unveils the innovative Live Doc. Project, where history is meticulously deconstructed and reconstructed through engaging live experiences. Through a series of carefully curated visuals, the video provides a glimpse into the three key elements that define the goals and essence of the Live Doc. Project. First, the deconstruction of the document. Second, the deconstructing of the deconstruction. Third, active audience engagement through responses, questions, and reactions. While history in conventional documentaries and textbooks is presented as absolute truth, the Live Doc. Project disrupts this dominant narrative by inviting audience members to actively engage with history in a participatory dialogue.
The Live Interactive Documentary trailer below showcases the elements of presenting a deconstructed documentary by highlighting the design of the space. We see a lamp illuminating a music rack holding sheets of paper, an orator narrating live to the documentary being presented on the white screen, a visuals and sound technician working with editing software, and audience members who are invited to engage in dialogue with the documentary visuals and the narrator. The visuals and sounds produced by the Live Doc. Project team will respond directly to what the audience members themselves raise as important questions as well as points of elaboration or contestation.
When writing about the history of literacy and literacy education, Baguley et al. (2010) write, “A simplified, uncomplicated and traditional notion of literacy is that it consists of textual practices in which the text is an alphabetic script written on a page able to be read for meaning by a reader” (p. 2). We learn that multiliteracies not only challenges the traditional or dominant understanding of literacy but when utilized creatively, as it is in the Live Doc. Project, it also challenges the dominant discourse on history, opening up avenues to include divergent perspectives and narratives.
130 Year Road Trip told using Multimodality
The Live Doc. Project uses multimodalities and open dialogue to tell the story of the 130-Year Road Trip. Below, the video begins with images one might stop to admire while on a road trip. Farmland, wildflowers, haystacks, and winding roads lined with trees. We learn that these roads, these landscapes, are the very ones where history took place.
As the video unfolds, a live narrator takes centre stage, guiding the audience through these crucial historical moments. The video captures the dynamic interaction between the narrator and the engaged audience, highlighting their active participation in the unfolding deconstructed documentary. Active dialogue between the document, narrator, and audience encourages the deconstruction of dominant historical discourse and the construction of a new understanding of historical events. As Botelho et al. explain regarding their own research into multiliteracies, “Like multiliteracies learning, we produced knowledge through dialogue and representation, while examining how knowledge and power work together” (2014, p. 14).
In the true essence of The Live Doc. Project and its aim to reintroduce historical storytelling, the audience members become an integral part of the experience, engaging in dialogue with the documentary visuals, the narrator, and history.
Why 1933? Historical Narratives Challenged
As the below video unfolds, it delves into the significance of the year 1933 and explores pivotal events during World War II, with a particular focus on German history and the Holocaust.
The narrator, a historian, orates the storytelling process, and the importance of visual narrative, and deconstructs how stories are discovered, shared, and constructed. The narrator unveils the power of visual narratives. The narrator doesn’t simply read from a paper; he uses his body language in expressive ways, and he moves around and uses the space to point to different images of fields and the world map to communicate different parts of the story. The immersive experience of deconstructing the documentary highlights the significance of visual storytelling in fostering meaningful connections with audiences. Fantin writes, “Multiliteracies can be understood as a condition for citizenship because digital inclusion must include social, cultural, technological and intellectual dimensions in order to favour belonging and assure the effective participation of people in the culture” (2011, p. 3). For Fantin, as it is for the Live Doc. Project, multiliteracies in its explanation of traditional understanding of language also focuses on synthesis. In inviting audiences to participate, The Live Doc. Project expands the conversation to include various perspectives adjacent to the documentary.
The narrator explains that history and historians are often engaged in arguments and debate; thus, unveiling the debates and arguments that often shape historical narratives. The Live Doc. Project is an enlightening exploration of the multifaceted world of storytelling, inviting viewers to ponder the complexities of discovering, sharing, and constructing stories. One where audiences are engaged in open dialogue and debate, which further expands storytelling by challenging and communicating with dominant historical accounts. To learn more about the Live Doc. Project, please go to: https://www.livedocproject.com/