How far can i-docs travel?

Ethnography-based reflections on the meaning of interactive image-making practices in contemporary India.

Paolo Favero
University of Antwerp

Based upon ethnographic fieldwork among contemporary young image-makers in Delhi and Mumbai the present papers aims to offer an exploration of the role of interactive documentary practices in the context of contemporary India. Many contemporary documentary filmmakers, visual artists, activist collectives and organizations of the subcontinent have recently embraced with enthusiasm the new possibilities for engaging audiences made possible by contemporary digital technologies. They have started experimenting in particular with their potential as tools for social and political intervention. However, they have to struggle with a variety of infrastructural and financial difficulties hence giving birth to a number of path-breaking projects and practices.

The present paper suggests that an analysis of the South Indian responses to the use of interactive image-making technologies can result in a critical rethinking of such practices and technologies. Bringing questions of infrastructure back to the core of our attention, this paper will also constitute an opportunity for enacting further reflections on the connections between i-docs and materiality (which have been the object of the author’s previous research in this area).

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