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Accepted Paper:

Crafting a web documentary between ethnography and Virtual Reality, the case of Babel - Judgement Day  

Authors:

Guido Nicolás Zingari (University of Bologna)
Manuel Coser
Gianluca De Serio

Paper short abstract:

This paper intends to present and analyse the path of realization of the web-documentary in Virtual Reality Babel - The Judgement Day. Thanks to VR, viewers are absorbed in a Babel of languages, images, belongings and dreams intertwined in the characters' lives.

Paper long abstract:

This paper intends to present and analyse the path of realization of the web-documentary in Virtual Reality Babel - The Judgement Day. Born from a workshop of documentary filmmaking with a group of asylum seekers, the project intertwines film writing, ethnographic research, drawing and computer programming in an unprecedented set of languages, aesthetic choices and ethical challenges. The technically and aesthetically innovative nature of such a product, which is based on the centrality of the programming of the work, radically calls into question the role of the author and the ethnographer while redefining the status of the characters themselves and the user. Thanks to VR, viewers are absorbed in a Babel of languages, images, belongings and dreams intertwined in the characters' lives. They can compose their own puzzle of images, see intimate worlds and imagine cities materialize. Building an interactive product in VR requires a new conception of the production process as well as of the invention of narration. In this sense, VR undermines the classic boundaries of narration, editing and documentary direction, shifting the aesthetic effort towards the exploration of new languages, straddling the visible and invisible, document and imaginary. Crafting a virtual universe means building a story that, even if starts from lived worlds and embodied experiences, turns into an unprecedented linguistic game, at the same time concrete and imaginative, documentary and creative. The crafting of such a universe therefore requires new reflections on the role of ethnography in this ethical and aesthetic economy of virtual reality.

Panel P089
Ethnography and new 'habitus' of visual productions