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Title: Virtual futures : imagining futures through moving imagery and narrative in documentary film
Author: Soyinka, Bambo
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2010
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The thesis explores how documentary film makers and viewers use moving imagery and narrative as tools to imagine virtual futures. The author uses the term "virtual futures" to describe latent personal, environmental or social processes that are underway in the present (Adam 2004). The aim of this thesis is to explore the potential for creative and beneficial transformation that occurs when humans enter into an imaginative dialogue with these virtual futures. Underlying the study is an interest in the sustainable growth of the person in relation to wider environmental, global and future realities. How then, as documentary film makers and viewers, can we mediate relations between visual and virtual realities The thesis argues, using Sterling's theory of "sustainable education" (2001), that the challenge is neither to simply make invisible futures visible (filming about sustainable development), nor to produce alternative visions for futures (film making for sustainable development), but to help individuals engage with the future as a process (film making as sustainable development). Virtual Futures brings together knowledge across two key fields: social science and film studies. In addition, the thesis is informed by a third area: the author's practice as an artist and film maker. The text builds upon the works of Barbara Adam, Augusto Boal, Sergei Eisenstein, John Grierson, Charles S Pierce, Alfred Schutz, Stephen Sterling, Bronislaw Szerszynski and Dziga Vertov. Empirically, the author uses ethnographic methods and interviews to explore contemporary film makers' experiences. She also studies online audience forums, in which viewers discuss their experiences of the film Koyaanisqatsi (Reggio 1983). Theoretically, the thesis develops a "semiotic phenomenology" of futures and includes an exposition of instantaneous, immediate and durational aspects of film. The author proposes that certain formations in film can expand outwards to embrace futures and, subsequently, she searches for moving-images, narratives and ways of viewing that engage with the future as process. Ultimately, the thesis provides an overview and analysis of the intersubjective and inter-relational exchanges that occur between film makers, participants and viewers and with the hidden, future relationships that connect them.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available