OpenSourceCinema, documentary mash up

Open Source Cinema

Do we really need to mash up films to prove that they are ‘open texts’? As Umberto Eco wrote almost fifty years ago: artworks are texts, open to infinite interpretations and re-editions. However digital technologies, and its related copyright debate, have increased the need for open source material. Open source originally referred to the act of making the underlying computer software ‘source code’ freely available, so anyone could copy, rewrite and improve it. The principle has since then been applied to culture: now there are open source novels, open source paintings and the open source encyclopaedias (Wikipedia, for example). On the film side the actual trend is open source cinema that occurs when audiences take an active role in making a film, suggesting plot twists dialogues, and even mashing up scenes telling a better story than the filmmaker could imagine. A recent example is by director Brett Gaylor, a “documentary project to create a feature film about copyright in the digital age” according to the manifesto. Gaylor has conducted interviews with remix icons, made a wiki on the film script and invited anyone to remix his material and/or add their own. As he says: “Please – comment, change, act, create. Changing is not breaking – changing is evolving. Structure is dissolving. Music is revolving.” However, even if made by a collectivity, a documentary could never be objective. There is always a point of view. So the changes made by contributors could be infinite as infinite are points of view and this work, potentially, will never come to an end. Is this the aim?

Valentina Culatti