Tom Zaniello proposes a number of new genres of digital documentary including what is an essentially marketing video like the one, which I include mainly as an excuse to listen to Sigur Ros. Tom gives himself an out, by saying that
hybrids are the rule, not the exception.
Well, OK: but i’m a little dubious that this makes the grade. It’s been quite a few years since we’ve been happy with propaganda (ie marketing) as documentary, but I’m beginning to feel that if it’s digital and online, people will call marketing a doco. Criticality, guys! And where have all out sophisticated engagements with the nature of non-fiction gone? They seem to have stayed in the cinema. I don’t think videos such as this would make the grade in any documentary festival anywhere – and while it might sneak in on some commercial TV stations, surely some programming exec somewhere would be sitting uncomfortable on his/her plush seat?
More interesting are Zanielli’s other new categories, Remixes/Mashups and Faux Docs
To me, a remix is always likely to be some sort of satire. This genre can conceivably be traced back to A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick, by Jonathan Swift (1729), in which the form and style of a political pamphlet is mashed up to satirical end. The Faux doc is similarly satirical. Also known as a mockumentary, as far as I can see.
Tom also mentions some great early participatory UGC documentary making by guerillavision. These docs are early examples – albiet more highly edited – of what Kate Nash has called collaborative webdocs. The beauty of editing the UGC is that you can still have an authorial voice and present an argument. Unedited collaborative webdocs suffer from the randomness of the content that is submitted to them. It can’t be ‘massaged’ into any sort of shape, and whether you have a progression of ideas, or 10 people saying the same thing, is entirely whimsical. While it might be valuable to sift through similar statements looking for contrasts and agreements in the style of a categorial argument (Nichols/Nash), it might also be plain boring…. At least to the outsider. Maybe collaborative webdocs are designed for insiders, and then they become a celebration of a community.
Nash, Kate (2012). ‘Modes of Interactivity: Analysing the webdoc’ Media, Culture & Society, 34(2), 195-210.