New Media

and immersive

IDFA DocLab 2018: Humanoid Cookbook

Exploring interactive and immersive documentary art since 2007

How does it feel to be human in a world disrupted by technology? This was the central question addressed by IDFA’s new media program IDFA DocLab in 2018, presented around the theme Humanoid Cookbook. The answer was sought in games, virtual reality art, interactive documentary installations, artificial intelligence, live performances, and – for the first time – culinary experiments.

Launch of five-year R&D Program 

In 2018, IDFA DocLab launched a five-year Research & Development Program in cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Open Documentary Lab) and other partners. The R&D Program uses the festival as a ‘living lab’ that offers space for artistic experimentation, research into a changing media landscape, and cross-discipline development. We facilitate the realization of pioneering artworks, present these to the general public, and then share the lessons learned with the rest of the world. In the first year of the R&D Program, we focused on the relationship between artificial intelligence and authorship in art.

Projects commissioned by IDFA DocLab

Each year, IDFA DocLab initiates new productions, brings makers from different disciplines together, and investigates new ways of presenting existing work to a wide audience. In 2018, the results included The Collider by Anagram and A Dinner with Frankenstein AI by Lance Weiler, Nick Fortugno, and Rachel Ginsberg.

In 2018, the second Film Fund DocLab Interactive Grant was awarded, this time to no less than three Dutch projects. One of these is Klasien van de Zandschulp and Emilie Baltz’s Eat | Tech | Kitchen, an exceptional project breathing new life into the 1932 ‘La cucina futurista’ manifesto: a chat bot invites visitors to share their dreams and fears for the future and then translates them into recipes and new dining rituals. The interactive documentary The Industry VR maps out the drugs industry in the Netherlands: as you look around their workplaces, marijuana growers and coke dealers talk about the kicks and stresses of their illegal business. The third project, Common Good, will be completed in 2019.

IDFA DocLab for professionals

Once again, the IDFA DocLab Interactive Conference brought together digital pioneers, artists, and thinkers for a day of inspirational presentations, visions of the future, and public experiments. In addition, during the Immersive Network Summit a number of expert meetings took place in which professionals from the field entered into discussions about the future of immersive media based on case studies, research results, and demos. Finally, DocLab Academy offered 20 young makers working at the intersection of documentary storytelling and interactive media an international program for the further development of their work.

Watch talks from the IDFA DocLab Interactive Conference here.

IDFA DocLab was made possible by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, CLICKNL, Netherlands Film Fund, Google, ARTE, Diversion Cinema, Flanders Audiovisual Fund and Flemish Arts Centre de Brakke Grond.

Research collaborations: MIT Open Documentary Lab and Sound and Vision.