The Immersive Network Research & Development program

IDFA Doclab

Just like a decade ago, when the internet began to converge with traditional media, the future of interactive and immersive media is once again unknown and being shaped by pioneers working in very different disciplines. That is why IDFA DocLab is opening up its platform and launching a five-year R&D program in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Open Documentary Lab).

Instead of focusing on a single medium, technology or discipline, IDFA DocLab has been openly and independently showcasing the best interactive documentary art and storytelling since 2007. It has become a key international platform for new talent, artistic innovation and interdisciplinary collaborations. Meanwhile, new developments in immersive technology – like virtual reality, as well as AR, MR and AI – have introduced explosive new opportunities. But as new immersive consumer devices are being introduced to the masses, key questions still exist around how to successfully live up to the true potential of immersive media.

Living Lab
The IDFA Doclab Immersive Network Research & Development Program uses the festival as a living lab for experimentation, research and development. The program is aimed at the growing international ecosystem of artists, developers, scientists and entrepreneurs working in interactive and immersive content, and each year we will focus on specific research questions that arise from developments in the field.

This year, one of the research domains is aimed at developing a robust evaluative framework for AI-based storytelling systems. We will do this by investigating how makers and their audiences conceptualize Artificial Intelligence (AI). A second research domain is the narrative coherence in VR/AR experiences. Starting point here is the evident tension between strategies based on ‘story-telling’ and those based on ‘story-finding’ — between makers trying to communicate a particular narrative, and users being free to explore and find their own — often different — stories.

Ministerie van economische zaken, CLICKNL, Diversion, Google, Nederlands Filmfonds

Research collaborations
MIT Open Documentary Lab and The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

*This program has been realized with the help of a PPS grant.

Photo: Nichon Glerum