Chapter 7 – The participative documentary through the lenses of the Live documentary


Which means that one is free to share, remix and make commercial use of the work, but one needs to attribute the original author and re-distribute the final work through the same licence



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78 Which means that one is free to share, remix and make commercial use of the work, but one needs to attribute the original author and re-distribute the final work through the same licence.




79 Here autopoiesis is understood as the capacity of an entity to self-generate itself and to adapt to its environment (see Chapter 2 for a more in-depth definition of autopoiesis).

80 Curtesy of David Harris, as he allowed me to see and quote their Strategic Vision Plan.

81 Basecamp is an online project collaborative tool that enable a group of people to share information, links, agendas and forums. More about it at http://basecamphq.com/.

82 From a recorded interview with David Harris, on 15.11.11.

83 Although Harris was never interested in the linear documentary form for Global Lives, the collective has expressed the wish to produce a documentary to be broadcasted on television. This option is currently being investigated.

84 From private recorded interview with David Harris, held via Skype on 15.11.11.

85 From private recorded interview with David Harris, held via Skype on 15.11.11.

86 From private recorded interview with David Harris, held via Skype on 15.11.11.

87 In 2002, the perceived expectation that Wikipedia would soon start hosting advertisements, led the contributors to the Spanish language Wikipedia to start an independent project: The Enciclopedia Libre Universal en Espanol.

88 In chapter 5 it was established that a dynamic system (even a non conscious one) has a point of view, which is to be understood as ‘the total set of possible discriminations an entity can make in its present state and context’ (Galin, 1999:225).


89 Do-ocracy is the word employed by Harris during the interview that I had with him on the 15.11.11. This word defines organizational structures in which people can choose roles and tasks for themselves and then execute them. As a model it contrasts with those of meritocracy, democracy and aristocracy, as what it recognised is the ability to do the work rather than been good at it, being elected or being socially apt at doing it. In reality the current structure of Global Lives is more a mix of community governance (in the collective) and a traditional representational model (in the Board of Directors), very much like the hybrid structure used by Wikipedia (where consensus decision making is possible within the Community members while a representational logic is applied for the Board of Trustees). I suppose that what Harris wanted to say is not that anybody can do whatever she wants (which is not true as Global Lives has specific production committees that filter all the propositions made by volunteers) but that people that suggest ideas that are accepted by the collective can pursue them in their realisation – without handing them out to Harris or to other producers.

90 Till December 2011 founder Harris has been working part time on Global Lives, and has been paid minimal wages. One full time staff has been employed to do administrative tasks and one Program Coordinator is to be hired in January 2012.

91 The other project that tried to empower a collective of participants to edit an online documentary was the Echo Chamber Project (2002-2007) by Kent Bye. This project mysteriously stopped in 2007 just after having received some funding. Without knowing the reasons for such abrupt disappearance I can only guess an explanation that would be in tune with Benkler’s approach. Effectively the Echo Chamber Project did not have any regulation and quality control – in the sense that anybody could collaborate and that there was no clear governance structure to regulate the quality of the contributions. According to Benkler (2002) the lack regulation and quality control disrupts the integration of the project – making it unsustainable in the long term.


92 See Mayo Fuster Morell’s historical overview of Wikipedia’s infrastructure in The Wikimedia Foundation and the Governance of Wikipedia’s Infrastructure in Critical Point of View: a Wikipedia Reader (2011).

93 Hybrid in the sense that the Wikipedia community and the Wikimedia Foundation do follow different models of governance.

94 Here Fuster Morell’s particularly refers to ‘self-provision models’ where the community is also involved in everything, including infrastructure provision. This model seems to be ‘ill-adapted to the proper organization of the infrastructure’ (2011:338).

95 The position for Production Coordinator has actually been advertised on Global Lives website on the 14.12.11 and can be seen at http://www.globallives.org/en/nowhiring/. Retrieved 15.12.11.


96 Source: http://www.globallives.org/en/nowhiring/. Retrieved 15.12.11.

97 Modularity is defined by Benkler as ‘a property of a project referring to the extend to which it can be broken down into smaller components, or modules, that can be independently and asynchronously produced before they are assembled into a whole’ (2002:68). Granularity refers to the size of the modules. If the time and effort that an agent must invest in producing a module is relatively low Benkler assumes that the number of people who are likely to participate is high (and vice versa). The integration costs, on the other hand, refer to the cost involved in assembling the individual contributions in a whole and on the necessary quality control of such contribution.

98 From a recorded interview with David Harris on the 15.11.11.

99 This parallel was first made in 2002 by Dancing to Architecture’s directors Leroy Black and Kristefan Minski, but this chapter argues that most participative authors are still influenced by such misleading association.

100 See Rose’s post of the 7th of July 2010 in her blog http://collabdocs.wordpress.com, accessed 3.10.11.

101 Building was seeing in Chapter one as the metaphor for the participative mode of interactivity.




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