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POV Hackathon 2: Meet the Hackers from “Empire”

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Empire

An image from Empire, a project selected for POV Hackathon 2 (Jan. 12-13, 2013).

POV Hackathon 2 is getting underway this weekend. In a series of blog posts, we’re introducing you to the participating filmmakers, developers and designers.

Empire consists of five documentary installations that tell stories about people and communities whose lives are still in some ways defined by the Dutch colonial endeavor of the 17th-20th century. The POV Hackathon 2 team includes filmmakers Eline Jongsma and Kel O’Neill with designers Clint Beharry and Claire Mitchell.

» Project Website
» Follow on Facebook
» Follow on Tumblr
» Follow @EmpireDoc on Twitter

Eline Jongsma & Kel ONeill

Eline Jongsma & Kel O'Neill (Photo: Ben Pier)

Eline Jongsma and Kel O’Neill are a US trans-Atlantic filmmaking team. Their work explores the boundaries between visual art, film and journalism. Recent screenings include: LAFF, Los Angeles; IDFA, Amsterdam; Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town; Apex Art, New York. They also work as journalists for outlets like VPRO Television, Radio Netherlands Worldwide and VICE.

The Empire project was conceived as an ‘exploded’ feature film consisting of a series of video installations presented in a common space. We settled on this approach because we wanted to find a way to reflect the complex, discordant nature of the legacy of colonialism. During production from 2010 to 2012, we blogged a lot about the making of the project. We also produced a lot of ancillary essays and photo essays that we shared with our followers on Tumblr and Facebook.

Now that we have premiered the first five installations of Empire in physical space, we are looking ahead to see how we can get all this material out there in an interesting way. A web-based manifestation of the Empire project would be a great way to expand the projects reach without compromising the multi-screen presentation format that it has in its installation form.

At the POV Hackathon 2, we hope to learn more about the possibilities that are out there, and to expand the team that works on Empire. As far as what we want to get out of our weekend of work, we’ve decided to be guided by an old joke:
Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time.
For our first bite, we’ll be adapting a very small section — one video installation — from the project as a sort of proof of concept. We’re hoping to come out of the experience with a better knowledge of the limits and possibilities that we’ll be facing down the road.

Clint Beharry

Clint Beharry is a creative technologist with a background in art, design, data visualization, and coding. He is the Graham Technology Fellow at the Harmony Institute, where he builds technology to study the influence of entertainment. He holds an MFA in Interaction Design from the School of Visual Arts.

» Personal Website
» Follow @clintbeharry on Twitter

Storytelling evolves with technology, and I’m interested in exploring this space and learning from all the different perspectives at the POV Hackathon 2. I’ve worked with filmmakers before but usually on analysis after a film is complete. The POV Hackathon is a unique opportunity to co-design a storytelling experience with filmmakers and developers, so I’m excited to work with my team and also to see what all the teams make.

Claire Mitchell

Claire Mitchell is a master’s candidate at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, working on projects in various mediums at the intersection of interactive design, technology, art and science. Prior to NYU, she was the Head of Creative Development for New York-based VFX / Content production company, 1stAveMachine and founded Context Is Meaning.

I’m a huge fan of PBS and the POV series in general. The POV Hackathon 2 is an incredible extension of the compelling work that comes out these stories and I’m really excited to have an opportunity to be a part of it. In a collaboration, there’s always something to learn those you’re working with, whether it’s about technique or drive. I’m looking forward to spending a weekend with an inspired group of people.

» Personal Website
» Follow @AnotherContext on Twitter

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Shannon Carroll was Digital Community Associate at POV, where she supported POV's social networks.