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Co-Creation Studio

2019/06/04

The Co-Creation Studio researches and incubates alternatives to a singular authorial vision.

The Co-Creation Studio is a new initiative at the MIT Open Documentary Lab. The studio researches and incubates alternatives to a singular authorial vision through a constellation of media methods, seeking to transform the systems that perpetuate inequality. People co-create within communities, across disciplines, and even with non-human living and artificial systems.

Collective Wisdom

The Co-Creation studio at the MIT Open Documentary Lab published Collective Wisdom: Co-Creating Media within Communities, across Disciplines and with Algorithms. This first-of-its-kind field study of the media industry highlights trends, opportunities, and challenges to help advance the understanding and recognition of co-created works and practices—efforts that function outside the limits of singular authorship.

“Co-creation carries with it a profound respect for each person’s unique expertise, and also the knowledge that we must share both the burden and the liberation of determining our future collectively.  There is an urgency to the challenges we face in this moment in history, and no one person, organization, or discipline can determine all the answers alone.”  —  Katerina Cizek and William Uricchio, Collective Wisdom

This report sets out to map, define, and shed light on co-creation methods within media (arts, documentary, and journalism) and adjacent areas of knowledge (design, open-source tech, urban and community planning). Four types of co-creation in media are identified in the study: within communities (in person and online); across disciplines and organizations; and increasingly, humans co-creating with living systems and artificial intelligence (AI). This playlist presents some of the projects highlighted in the report.

_Fireflies: A Brownsville Story

A community-based documentary VR game created by and for the residents of Brownville.

This community-based co-created VR game shows how emergent media can be put to work as a mediation tool to heal fractures in communities.

_Quipu Project

Quipu, an interactive online documentary, recounts one of the darker moments in recent Peruvian history by having users listen and respond to the recorded messages of its victims.

Co-creation can be used to support activism as one can see in the Quipu project. The Quipu project combines old and new media to provide a space for women affected by the forced sterilizations in rural areas in Peru to tell their stories in their own words. The process of making the Quipu project connected the leaders of the network through in-person meetings, and strengthened the movement, while also providing a connection that enables the support of global audiences.

_Question Bridge: Black Males

"Question Bridge: Black Males" facilitates conversations within the African American male community across political, class, geographic, and generational divisions.

Dialogue, listening, and the encounter of multiple points of view are at the center of co-creation. This project offers a unique methodology and platform to create an intimate conversational space for African American men.

_Highrise: One Millionth Tower

In "Highrise: One Millionth Tower," filmmaker Katerina Cizek, the residents of a Toronto apartment building, and a group of architects used webGL to reimagine a residential highrise, creating an interactive documentary that captured their aspirations for the community.

Co-creation helps build public space, or, the commons, at a time of heightened polarity and privatization. It seeks to find common ground in unlikely places to rebuild dialogue and a shared vision for governance. The commons refers to public spaces, including our cities, our resources, our media, platforms and our narratives. The Highrise initiative is a stellar example of that process.

_Family Pictures USA

A collaborative transmedia project and television series exploring USA history through family pictures archives.

A living and growing family album of the US is co-created by connecting local narratives with larger histories through a community-based process in which people share their family photographs, enlarging and diversifying the vision of our country.

_iSeeChange

Interactive crowdsourced almanac "iSeeChange" documents climate change in small-town Colorado.

The complex problems we face in the 21st century are too big for old, legacy systems. Overwhelmingly, co-creative veterans name climate change as a top priority, to be tackled from the ground up. Complex problems need large teams from different disciplines, and solutions are often found in the communities that are impacted most from the problems. ISeeChange connects dots of data with stories, from the ground up to the sky, co-creating with the most vulnerable people affected by climate change and using NASA’s satellite images.

_The Folk Memory Project

An ongoing participatory documentary project exploring the personal histories of the Great Leap Famine of 1959 to 1961 in China.

Participatory methods can involve layers of relationships and many forms of art which this project exemplifies. Its methodology mixes documentary, oral history, dance, and theater, and results in community performances, international tours, and most importantly, a reclamation of buried personal and collective histories.

_The Panama Papers

A landmark collaboration between newsrooms around the globe exposing the rogue offshore finance industry.

A groundbreaking collaboration between newsrooms using open source technologies to secure, analyze, and transform terabytes of leaked data about the secretive offshore finance industry into impactful stories.

_Saydnaya: Inside a Syrian Torture Prison

Using architecture as a way into memory to expose human rights violations inside a Syrian torture prison.

In the field of human-rights affronts, the highly cross-disciplinary team of Forensic Architecture in London creates a complex picture of war-crime scenes in order to produce new forms of evidence.

_The Eviction Lab

Visualizing the housing crisis across the U.S.

This co-created, trans-disciplinary project draws on the collective expertise of sociologists, statisticians, economists, journalists, web engineers, and community members who all are engaged in documenting the rising crisis of evictions across America in real-time.

_Lauren

What if Amazon Alexa was a real human? That is the case of LAUREN, a human intelligent personal assistant operated by the media artist Lauren McCarthy, reflecting on the role of AI in people's daily lives.

In a playful, sometimes haunting performative surveillance of domestic life, artist, Lauren McCarthy, mimics consumer AI systems to expose their shortfalls. In her project LAUREN, she installs surveillance systems in participants' homes, and takes on the role of a smart digital personal assistant (like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant), thinking of AI as an antagonistic collaborator.

_Crowd-Sourced Intelligence Agency

The Crowd-Sourced Intelligence Agency (CSIA) is an interactive artwork that allows users to perform the role of an intelligence analyst through an online interface.

In this interactive artwork, users play the role of intelligence analysts and sift through reams of public data. The goal of the project is to show the potential problematic assumptions and oversights inherent in dataveillance.

_Drawing Operations

Ongoing human-robot drawing collaborations exploring notions of authorship, agency, learning, and modes of sensing.

This human-robot drawing performances transform the technological medium into an active collaborator and author in the creative process to reimagine the emerging intersubjectivities in the age of artificial intelligence.

_Conversations with Bina48

Exploring the intersection of artificial intelligence, race and social equity through the conversations with a robot.

These ongoing conversations between robot and artist create a space for collaboration and, at the same time, an opportunity to interrogate the encoded sociocultural perspectives and biases in AI.

_A.A.I.

An interspecies collaboration reflecting on collective intelligence and the perils of crowdsourced labor.

Kurant explores collective intelligence in this interspecies collaboration with termite colonies, interrogating notions of authorship and the risks of outsourced labor.

7

projects curated by

MIT Open Documentary Lab

16

projects curated by

Kamal Sinclair

8

projects curated by

Chris Dymond

27 Pl Playlists

27 playlists, a changing roster of prominent documentary makers, festival organizers, technologists and critics sharing their top picks.

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