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IMG_2846It’s mid-term in the first semester (University College Cork has just moved over to semesterization; I don’t really know what this means exactly, nevertheless the fact remains that this is the new official language, and this year, 2014-15, is the first year with the new system — the second semester runs from January through to May and the third semester is June, July and August; we submit our dissertation at the beginning of next September). I’m going to post a few mid-term postcards here; one tonight, one tomorrow, and maybe another one before the end of the week: a set of snapshots of where I’m at with this MA in Digital Arts and Humanities which I’ve undertaken (see previous post ‘Back to School’).

We have had a lot of stuff coming at us since we started most of which, to be honest, I have not had an opportunity to dig into very much — it’s a bit like Christmas morning when you’re a kid and you get more presents than you could possibly play with and, while you unwrap all the stuff and get them out of their boxes and put batteries in them, et cet, you really only pick up and run with one or two things.

There are lots of things which I’ve unwrapped and had a look at to which I will return, but for now the thing that really excites me is the new form of story-telling we see emerging in this digitized dawn — i-Docs (interactive documentaries). This is the kind of thing I want to get into, if I can.

nfb_pinepoint_s-ON35In my previous post (‘Back to School’) I mentioned Welcome to Pine Point, however, I put it at the end of a list (of Digital Arts and Humanities projects). Now I want to bring it up front and centre because it is, quite simply, the best thing I’ve come upon. It’s a digital arts documentary website about what was once a (zinc) mining town in the wilds of northern Canada. The mine closed down in the late 1980s after which the town died like a mangy dog that nobody wanted and therefore had to be put down.

Now, 25 years on, the place doesn’t exist any more, almost nothing remains — not even on maps. It’s like it never existed.

And yet generations of people lived and loved and gamed and dreamed and died there. The Welcome to Pine Point website is a place for these people to go — it’s their home-place now.

Welcome to Pine Point combines photographs, sound and video clips, interviews, music, and narration by Michael Simons (one of the co-creators of the website, the other person being Paul Shoebridge).

This (below) is a little trailer or advert for the website but you really need to go and look at the thing itself to get the full kick of it, which is a trip (or arc) as comprehensive as you’ll find in any traditional documentary presentation (or, indeed, in any form of creative non-fiction): Welcome to Pine Point.