ConText: towards the evolving documentary
Glorianna Davenport

3rd Annual ACM conference on Multimedia, proceedings, pg. 381 - 389.
November 1995.


The advent of digital technologies has enabled the emergence of a new type of database or "Media Bank" that supports an evolving collection of media elements. [1] This opportunity suggests the design of ConText, a system by which content, description, and presentation are separated into interconnected pieces, redefining the relationship between the story, the viewer and the author. For the viewer, repetition and revisitation of the story experience is encouraged and no constraints are placed on the duration of a session. For the author, the tasks of content gathering and sequencing take on new dimensions because the content base is extensible, and the author is separated programmatically from the exponentially complex task of explicitly sequencing the material for each viewer visitation. We call this new form the "Evolving Documentary." A new and crucial authorial role becomes defining the core methodology that governs the story presentation and viewer interaction. The foundations of our proposed model have been developed and implemented in conjunction with an evolving story about urban change in Boston. This story features a 7 Billion Dollar public works project to rebuild the Central Artery (I-95) and the project's impact on surrounding neighborhoods. The project will be on-going through 2004 which makes it a practical story for an Evolving Documentary investigation.

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