CFP: Interactive images and new narratives

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The French Journal of Visual Studies is calling for papers in a Special Issue directed by Jacques Ibanez Bueno & Alba Marin Carrillo

Exploring new digital experiences

Revue Française des Méthodes Visuelles, while acknowledging the preponderant role of photography and cinema in the evolution of research practices, remains open to other types of (audio)visual methods. And if researchers can claim to be from visual sociology or visual anthropology, they can also be from other disciplines, in an institutionalization of disciplines or sub-disciplines more or less asserted in this field (PINK, 2003). Since The Nuer (1940) by Edward EVANS-PRITCHARD and Balinese Character (1942) by Margaret MEAD and Gregory BATESON, the resulting photographic and then film production (Jean ROUCH among the precursors) is necessarily linked to aesthetics and the history of visual art in a complex and often ambiguous relationship. Documentary film, for example, is part of the history of cinema and the history of visual methods. It is logical that documentary film should be permeable to the introduction of digital technology and then to its almost-generalization, which goes much further than the abandonment of silver film by the creation of new formats that are more or less stable in their evolving aesthetics.

Jacobo SUCARI, in a classification of contemporary documentary (2012), adds to the usual categories of “documentary of cinematic tradition” and “video documentary” four other categories that illustrate the tensions between film and video:

  1. the documentary in a contemporary art process,
  2. the expanded documentary,
  3. the transmedia documentary and
  4. the web documentary.

The porousness between visual methods in social sciences and the art of documentary filmmaking inevitably leads to the implementation of methods inspired by this rapid upheaval of forms through digital technology. This is why, in connection with point 5 of our Editorial Manifesto “Exploring new digital experiences by fully exploiting the opportunities offered by online publishing” (BOULDOIRES, REIX, 2017 & 2018), Revue Française des Méthodes Visuelles proposes, in this issue 5, to shed light on these methodologies involving so- called “interactive” images, a field that is rich yet unstable due to the speed of the socio-technical innovations that cross it.

By using the expression “interactive images”, which we prefer to interactive documentary (ASTON, GAUDENZI, ROSE, 2017) or to “interface-films” (DI CROSTA, 2009), we wish to better grasp, in their formal diversity, visual methods producing research devices such as digital documentaries, but also video games, serious games, immersive and performative installations in virtual, augmented or mixed reality.

… with interactive images, the new status proposed is that of “spect’actor” or “interactor”

Beyond the strictly computational interactivity, the interactivity offered to the spectator is at the heart of the device, which allows a more individualized way than in the format of the cinematographic work with its linearity. The user is truly included not only through the interactivity induced but also through personalization, participation and immersion. This user can co-construct the content, for example, by integrating a self-produced video, but whose insertion is planned by the creator of the device (e.g.: web documentary). Without considering that the classic film viewer is a passive spectator before, during and after the projection, with interactive images, the new status proposed is that of “spect’actor” or “interactor” (PROULX, 1998). This is the case of the panoramic movement of the documentary film imposed in the chronological scrolling of the animated images, which becomes optional in the case of virtual reality from a capture with a 360- degree camera. This is why four elements must be taken into account in the methodological modalities:

  • image (and sound),
  • technology,
  • user/work interactions and
  • lived experience (MARIN CARRILLO, 2019)

visuals cannot be limited to a visual and interactive design of research in a context of increased social demand for more attractive ways of scientific dissemination

Although in a broad sense some researchers integrate visual methods into visual studies, the epistemological position defended here does not favour research work where only content analysis or semiotics of a corpus of visual productions of users (e.g. semiotics applied to images produced and distributed on a digital social network such as Facebook during a social protest). The image is not considered as an object of research but as an indispensable element of a methodological research practice (CHAUVIN, REIX, 2015). Similarly, in a context of Arts and Sciences collaboration increasingly praised by some institutions, visual creation cannot be limited to audiovisual formatting such as the scripting of research data (e.g. interactive mapping of scientific data), non-visual methodologies in social sciences or in life sciences.

In this call for papers, visuals cannot be limited to a visual and interactive design of research in a context of increased social demand for more attractive ways of scientific dissemination. A capture of images and sounds relative to a social group is indispensable under the authority of a researcher with his freedom as a creative author in writing, editing and digital design.

This call for papers invites researchers to propose papers that deal with the precise use of visual methods resulting in research productions consisting of interactive images (e.g. research webdocumentary; immersive research device with headsets and headphones). Revue Française des Méthodes Visuelles is also interested in proposals for critical reflection with an epistemological perspective, both in terms of duration and the diversity of digital forms that claim to use visual methods. For this reason, a non-exhaustive list of work axes is proposed: status of the interactive image; participation in the research of the subject or social group studied; user reception of the production of visual and interactive research; interactive narration; between interactive aesthetics and research design; the sensory experience in visual methods; etc.

How to submit a paper?

March 29, 2020: Proposals for articles in the form of an abstract of 1500 to 3000 characters, including spaces specifying the central question, the theoretical and/or methodological framework, and the contribution of the article to visual methods.

April 10, 2020: Selection of proposals

May 29, 2020: Receipt of articles for evaluation

Proposals to be sent to:

Instructions to authors:

ASTON Judith, GAUDENZI Sandra, and ROSE Mandy (2017), I-Docs : The Evolving Practices of Interactive Documentary, Wallflower Press, New York.
BIELLA Peter (1993), « Beyond Ethnographic Film: Hypermedia and Scholarship », in Rollwagen, J. R. (ed.), Anthropological Film and Video in the 1990s, The Institute, Inc.
BOULDOIRES Alain, REIX Fabien (2017 & 2018), « Méthodes Visuelles, de quoi parle-t-on ? Images fixes, Images animées », N°1 & N°2, Revue Française des Méthodes Visuelles, MSHA, Bordeaux.
CHAUVIN Pierre-Marie, REIX Fabien (2015), « Sociologies visuelles. Histoire et pistes de recherche », L'Année sociologique, 2015/1 (Vol. 65), p. 15-41.
DI CROSTA Marida (2009), Entre cinéma et jeux vidéo l'interface-film : métanarration et interactivité, De Boeck, Bruxelles.
HARPER Douglas (2012), Visual Sociology, Routledge, London.
HOWARD Alan (1998), Hyper Media and the future of Ethnography, Cultural Anthropology, 3, p. 304-15. IBANEZ BUENO Jacques, CHABERT Ghislaine, LAMBOUX-DURAND Alain, WANONO Nadine, Dir. (2017), Visual methods and digital worlds, CNRS, Universités La Laguna, Bourgogne Franche-Comté & Savoie Mont- Blanc, Cuadernos de Comunicacion, Tenerife.
MCDOUGALL David (2006), The corporeal image Film, ethnography, and the senses, Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
MARIN CARRILLO Alba (2019), Innovación tecnológica y formas de representación en el documental social. Desde los formatos interactivos hasta las experiencias inmersivas, Universidad de Sevilla & Université Savoie Mont-Blanc, Cotutelle de thèse de doctorat en communication.
PINK Sarah (2003), « Interdisciplinary agendas in visual research: re-situating visual anthropology”, Visual Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2, p. 179-192.
PROULX Serge, BARDINI, Thierry, BELANGER Danielle (2000), « Des nouvelles de l’interacteur : phénomènes de convergence entre la télévision et Internet », Sociétés et Représentations, no. 9, Paris, p. 161-180.
REMILLET Gilles, WANONO Nadine (2014), « Collaborative and Interactive Presentation: Tracks Of A Discipline Evolution », Anthrovision [Online].
SUCARI Jacobo (2012), El documental expandido: pantalla y espacio, Universitat oberta de catalunya, Barcelona.

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