New Media/New Films: Smartphones and Evocative Documentary Practices


Smartphones are part of a convergence culture which is reconfiguring our relationship with media and arguably shifting our understanding of documentary practices. Smartphones may now be understood as powerful enablers that provide users with the tools and resources necessary to capture and share mediated traces of personal experience and the people and places that form part of our everyday habitus. As smartphones proliferate our private and public spaces, it would appear that our relationship with film is also shifting to fit the parameters of a networked digital world. The ubiquitous and pervasive nature of the smartphone arguably makes it well placed to aid the capture of a wide range of video content that can be edited via a plethora of mobile applications and shared online. In this paper the author puts forward a proposition that the smartphone is more than a dynamic networked media tool, rather it is a ‘digital wunderkammer’, a database from which a filmmaker can store and retrieve captured moments that can be later used for the production of a wide range of documentary stories. Using examples drawn form the author’s creative practice, this research explores the idea that the smartphone is both production tool and memory site (Nora, 1989). Here I look at how the smartphone may be utilized as an enabler for a poetic intervention, whereby the smartphone can be used to aid the production of factual stories that evoke notions of personal identity, memory and place.

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Conference: FilmAsia2015
Stream: Biography

This paper is part of the FilmAsia2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon