Migrating through the Web
Migrating to the Web investigates how stories of migration are told and shaped in interactive web-based, non-fiction practices such as serious games, web documentaries and interactive maps. This project understands such media practices as a configuration of different elements that produce a specific “media ecology.” It proposes to approach case studies in terms of their aesthetic and convergent nature, but also their similarities in format or means of production and distribution. This analytical framework combines different disciplines, such as film and media studies, software studies, game studies, media economies, archival studies, format studies and migration studies.
Interactive practices, as computational objects made of code, imply a materiality not yet discussed in film and media studies. This research aims at understanding the implications of these practices for aesthetics, distribution, access and archival procedures, whose “regimes of transmission” (Grainge 2013) increase their ephemerality, instability and obsolescence, which might reveal their nature as commodities destined to become waste. To study interactive web-based, non-fiction practices from the perspective of migration studies means to trace patterns in the economic infrastructures of media, in the dramaturgy and in the aesthetics and materiality of a “new documentary ecology.” It also means understanding how key political figures, such as that of the migrant, are part of a larger media discourse that is central to power structures in a globalized world.
Fig. 1: Screenshot from Against All Odds (UNHCR, 2006).
Nicole Braida works at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and is currently a PhD candidate in the Graduiertenkolleg “Configurations of Film” at the Goethe University, Frankfurt. She studied in Italy, Germany and Belgium while completing her M.A. in Audiovisual and Cinema Studies (IMACS). She graduated in 2013 with a thesis on web documentaries. Her current research focuses on interactive web-based practices about human migration. In 2017, together with Alexandra Schneider and Marek Jancovic, she co-organized the international conference “Format Matters” at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.