During a meeting on-line to discuss the results of our ‘What does polyphony mean to you?’ experiments in Korsakow and Stornaway, a general agreement was reached to start a new project and for this to be co-creational from the outset.
This would build on the prototypes that we had worked on with the developers of Korsakow and Stornaway but members of the group would be free to find people within the group with whom to collaborate and to make their own interpretations.
The first step was to decide upon a new theme. Various ideas were discussed at the meeting but nothing was settled upon. In the interests of saving time, as we were all busy, it was agreed at this meeting that we should pull the ideas together and come up with the final brief.
To help us to do this, we had a separate meeting online with Niklas Volmer, a member of the group from Georgia State University who had offered to help us to create the new brief. We went through the various ideas that had been discussed and together we came up with the theme of ‘extreme heat’.
This seemed to speak well to our themes of climate emergency and ideological polarisation, this being what we subsequently wrote in the participant information sheet that was sent out at at the end of July 2022:
“For this next intervention, we are again asking you to record 3 to 5 short videos clips (30 secs – 1 minute max) which will enable us to collectively engage with polyphony in the context of climate emergency and ideological polarization.
Given that we called the meeting to discuss this new brief at a time when temperature records are being broken and there is ongoing political discord, we have come up with two keywords: extreme and heat.
We would like you to respond to these words in your video clips, focusing-in on your locality and everyday life. These words do not need to be interpreted literally and could be a background for a more subtle engagement, as you see fit.
The previous intervention brought out themes of relationality, resonances and gathering in relation to diversity of thought, perception, process and practice.
With this in mind, please don’t worry about how your clips will work alongside other peoples’ – that is for us to discover and explore together in the workshops once you have submitted your content”.
We circulated this brief on our Polyphonic Documentary channel on Discord, thus reaching a wider group of people who had expressed an interest in being involved in the project than just those who had directly participated in the ‘What does Polyphony means to you’ intervention.
We received a few more submissions than with the previous experiment – around 30 in total – from various parts of the world. Around half had also contributed to the previous round and around half were new contributors from within the wider Polyphonic Documentary group.
The next step was to organise two on-line sessions with Florian and Ru, the respective developers of Korsakow and Stornaway, to help get everyone started and to help broker the development of smaller collaborative groups to work with the materials that had been submitted.
This we duly did, alongside setting up a separate channel within the Polyphonic Documentary group on Discord specifically for this intervention. We then left everyone to get on with experimenting and playing.
We had a meeting in December 2022 to see where people had got to and were pleased to see that exciting things were happening! This felt very generative with the conversations that the work in progress was inspiring being as interesting as the work itself.
We will convene another group meeting online later this month (March 2023) and will be publishing further posts about what we have been up to. These posts will be written not just by us but also by members of the sub-groups, thereby expanding the dialogue beyond us as the co-convenors.
We have a lot more to say about this project and how it is helping us as practitioners to explore new forms of relational practice with film. As a co-creational community, what we have in common is our shared involvement over time with i-Docs.
Watch this space!
Judith and Stefano