Documentary Practice in a Participatory Culture


Journal Article: Camera Movies:
Awesome, I Fuckin' Shot Them

Journal of Media Practice
Print ISSN: 1468-2753
Volume: 10 | Issue: 2&3
Cover date: June 2009
Page(s): 149-165

'Camera Movies' also presented at Screens of Terror conference at London South Bank University, 2010.

Film: Watch Hubbub (26 mins, SD video) published in Screenwork: Screen Media Practice Research Volume 2 - The AVPhD Issue 2009 Published by Intellect.

Also published by Valve Records and Regurgitator


About Hubbub:

In September 2004 Australian band Regurgitator locked themselves away for three weeks inside a glass recording studio in the middle of Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia, for an event called Band In A Bubble.

Hubbub is a 26 minute collage of audience conversation and interaction where the band is relegated to the audio-visual background.It is the participation of the audience both in the event, and in the documentary, that serves as an important point of connection between participatory culture and documentary practice.


Statement Framing the Creative Practice as Research

Hubbub is a conceptually oriented documentary that puts participatory culture on screen. It is framed by Greg Urban’s notion of ‘metaculture’, which describes how contemporary media objects might stimulate discourse about them, in advance, in order to ‘secure their own circulation’. The case study here is Band In A Bubble, which featured a Big Brother-style glass recording studio in the middle of Melbourne, where the music recording process became the centre of attention. The event, therefore, can be understood as a metaculural event designed to secure the dissemination of a yet to be completed album. That there might be an audience for this event that is different to the band’s regular audience raises the prospect that the members of a participatory culture might be asked to engage with metacultural forms in particular. This research is about the different ways that the authors of cultural texts not only address the creative impulses of their audience, but how they might create new metacultural forms for just this purpose, generating new kinds of audiences in the process.

Hubbub places band and bubble in the audio-visual background not only to focus on the audience instead. The film also manipulates audience engagement with the event, via a conversational collage, in order to argue that the event’s audience is not a diffuse conglomeration that eludes categorisation, but is rather, a quite specific audience made up of the active consumers of a participatory culture whose interaction is given full voice. The event’s novelty lies in its ability to imagine and address a participatory audience. And it is the achievement of Hubbub that it identifies this as a proper subject for revealing what is new about new media, while finding a proper form to express that idea. Hubbub was peer-reviewed and published in JMP Screenworks, Vol 2.