PIM Week 4 Reflection: 3

Studio prompt: How can the affordances of video, computers and the network be utilised in mobile videographic practice?

In the context of interface design William Gaver proposes that ‘affordances are properties of the world that are compatible with and relevant for people’s interactions’ and suggests that ‘the concept of affordances can provide a useful tool for user-centered analyses of technologies’. Gaver’s essay highlights the value of interface designers focusing not just on either the technologies or the users but on ‘the fundamental interactions between the two’. (Gaver, 1991).

Our exploration of post-industrial mobile videographic practice places us right in the centre of that interaction between users and technologies. We are exploring the potential of technologies (video, computers, the network) and in particular the mobile phone for making and sharing content in a post-industrial world.

The post-industrial approach is as Daniel Bell succinctly summarised back in 1976 is an ‘information society’ (Bell, 1976) based essentially on an ‘exchange of information’ (Bell, 1976).

According to The Age today (March 28, 2015) 300 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute. EVERY MINUTE! Nearly 40 years on from Daniel Bell we are now exchanging not just information in text form but as images, audio, video. And we are sharing this information about ourselves, our lives, our thoughts, our visions with an immediacy never before available. We have a range of social media platforms where we can engage with a chosen group or with the world. So how can filmmakers utilise the affordances of video, computers and the network into their practice?

One approach that I’ve found really interesting is that of Darius Devas, an online filmmaker who was a guest for Collaborative Media Project this week. Devas is moving towards working in a space where rather than be dependent on traditional film funding models he builds his own audience on his YouTube channel Being Here. Darius is not shooting on a mobile phone but he is utilising the power of the internet to build an audience and develop his brand. He is working towards being independent of film funding through our State and National film funding bodies by creating a channel with committed subscribers that draws advertisers to support the channel.

Devas’s next project, exploring the history of Afghanistan from the 1970s to now, will be a series of short (5 minute) videos rather than a long-form documentary. Darius believes the short form video is a better way of engaging an audience saturated in moving image content. This approach is a really interesting response to the affordances of video, computers and the online world and a relevant one for filmmakers working in this environment.

References:

Bell, Daniel. “Welcome to Post-Industrial Society” Physics Today, February (1976) 46-49. Print.

Gaver B 1991, ‘Technology Affordances’, Proceeding CHI ’91 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp 79-84.

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