“Facebook encourages us to lose ourselves in the haystack of our own eyes” – Mary Walsh
A Mary Walsh rant is always a fine thing – and there she is on the NFB Interactive site having a go at social media. Not that you couldn’t find a nice Mary Walsh rant using a simple Google search. But a rant about social media meshes nicely with the theme of this Blog.
I came across Mary while wandering in and out of a variety of titles available for viewing. The rant is part of an interactive documentary called The Seven Deadly Digital Sins. Mary Walsh represents the sin of Envy – and she has a good go at it, chewing up the scenery as she does her signature stream of conversation comedy. Much good advice and a fair amount of insight are to be had here.
The NFB Interactive website describes itself as: An evolving collection of innovative, interactive stories exploring the world – and our place in it – from uniquely Canadian points of view.
In keeping with their mandate, the NFB has encouraged experimentation with interactive storytelling that other producers cannot afford. NFB Interactive offers a lively range of productions which almost all have a documentary base. Some are simple, some layered and complex. It’s interesting to see all the elements that the creators have to play with – from the layout and architecture of their sites, to the way content is presented.
Notwithstanding Mary Walsh’s entertaining presentation, The Seven Deadly Digital Sins does not break much ground formally. The seven individuals representing the seven sins can be observed one at a time, making their statements. The viewer can navigate between them at will, but there is little else in the structure or content of the piece that is “interactive”.
A distinct contrast can be found in another NFB Interactive project, Bear71. The project uses documentary wildlife footage and data from Banff National Park to tell the story of a specific mother bear’s life.
Bear71 draws on a far more interesting palate of visual material and a somewhat disorienting architecture. Navigating through the site is not self-evident, which is more intriguing and creates a more poetic interaction. This is not your conventional wildlife documentary, but a highly creative work that plays outside all kinds of traditional boundaries. Not as funny as Mary Walsh, but mighty stimulating.
Have a look for yourself, and wander about the Interactive site. It might give you some good ideas for creative play in your own projects, whatever form they take.