I will be spending this month as a fellow at the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative Storytellers Institute, which is a part of the MDocs program at Skidmore College. This year's theme is "walking the line: fact/fiction" During this time I'll be working on the Max MSP patches for Requiem for Radio, presenting a sneak preview test screening of Spectres of Shortwave, participating in a group exhibition of visual art, doing office hours and critiques with students, attending screenings, conferences and events... and it looks like there are a lot of regularly scheduled community dinners and lunches planned as well.
This year's 4 Institute Fellows and 10 Skidmore Scholars span a wide range of documentary practices, experimenting with video, audio, exhibition, archiving, and multimedia.
The Institute Fellows come to Skidmore from 3 US states (Pennsylvania, New York, and North Carolina) and 1 Canadian province (New Brunswick) bringing skills and tools from their work at collegiate institutions, art centers, and independent radio stations. Their projectsspan from revealinga family's untold oral history and discovery of long-hidden secrets in an African diaspora's lost past to a film exploring parallels between two seemingly disparate cultural struggles for survival to a multimedia book, exhibit and interactive recreation that searches for the unmarred facts of the events leading up to the night Treyvon Martin was killed and to a project exploring the end of Canadian short-wave radio as told by mysteriously "talking" household appliances in a series of films and multimedia exhibits. These documentary artists will all challenge the moral questions behind telling a research-based, fact-driven story when removing ones' past experience, perspective and individual lens is seemingly impossible. Can a story's "truth" be more deeply understood when the line between fact and fiction is blurred? May we be left forever skeptical of the source from which we gain our information and determine what we believe to be "true?"
In addition, 10 Skidmore Scholars (8 students, 2 faculty) will work on independent documentary projects spanning diverse topics from the deeper understanding gained through intersectional study of the Civil Rights Movement and addressing racial tension in an Intergroup Relations class to intimate stories of loss of virginityand a film that aims to bring to life the voice of a lost mother, to developingan environmental podcast into educational tool, to name a few.