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History professor Rob Nelson narrates over a map of eastern Europe History professor Rob Nelson narrates over a map of eastern Europe during rehearsals of the Live Doc Project.

Dress rehearsal to set stage for participatory documentary

A team of UWindsor faculty and students will take their project exploring “live participatory documentary” to a couple of U.S. cities over the next week after a dry run today on campus.

Professors Kim Nelson, Brent Lee, and Rob Nelson, along with student team members David Bergeron, Lana Oppen, Amin Nadi, and Milos Savic, are fusing live cinema, interactive art, and public history in what Kim Nelson calls a “bespoke film experience.”

During a screening, the team combines recorded film with live narration and improvised music. Questions from the audience are answered in additional footage, material, and music. The approach guarantees a work that has never quite been done this way before and will never be performed quite the same way again.

They piloted the Live Doc Project concept — inspired by ideas from the philosophy of history, new media, and expanded cinema — last year at the Windsor International Film Festival. Now they’re taking the show on the road, with appearances November 4 at the Film & History conference in Milwaukee, and November 9 at the Pluralities Nonfiction Film Conference at San Francisco State University.

The team has been rehearsing in preparation and will perform a run-through October 31 to an audience of philosophy and history students.