1st Edition

Interactive Documentary Theory and Debate

By Kate Nash Copyright 2022
    178 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Tracing continuities in digital and documentary practices, this book is a study of interactive documentary from the perspective of documentary culture. Exploring the dizzying array of new documentary forms that have emerged in the past ten years, the book is grounded in the analysis of multiple recent examples of digital documentary work, drawing out the key issues that the work raises.

    These issues provide a starting point for theoretical reflection, with each chapter developing concepts and frameworks to facilitate thinking with and through interactive documentary. The book explores questions of polyvocality, participation, and political voice, as well as the sociality and performativity of digital documentary practice. By thinking deeply and critically about interactive documentary practice, the book charts the many and various ways in which interactive documentaries claim the real – contingently, partially, or, in some cases, collectively. Each chapter draws on a range of examples – from digital games to data visualisations, database documentaries to virtual reality – demonstrating how we might engage with these ‘unstable’ digital texts.

    The book will be particularly valuable for students and researchers keen to make connections between documentary and digital media scholarship.

    Introduction: Interactive documentary: Theory and debate

    Chapter 1 Documentary Databases: On (not) telling stories in the possibility space

    Chapter 2 Participatory intensities: Exploring interactive documentary practice

    Chapter 3 Interactive documentary and the political: Civic cultures and convening publics

    Chapter 4 Reality effects: Simulation as interactive documentary practice

    Chapter 5 Stepping into the story for good: Virtual reality (VR) and empathy in the context of first-person media

    Chapter 6 The petabyte (anti)sublime: Big data, knowledge, and interactive documentary

    Conclusion: From 'mass extinction' to renewal?


    Kate Nash is Associate Professor in the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds. Her research explores the intersections of documentary practice and digital media culture. She has published widely in leading journals and is co-editor (with Craig Hight) of Studies in Documentary Film.