WHAT IS IM6? Thinking through an integrationist (science and art) media form. Presented at SXSW ( first appeared here online)
Over the 20 plus years working for different networks on and offline e.g. BBC, ABC, ITN each outfit has its own DNA.
But what, I thought, if you could take elements of each to help create new substrates; in effect new contemporary styles; but not in the plaintive sense of (additional) multimedia but an alchemic approach to networking broadcasting and online utilising design, art, code et al.
I studied Applied Chemistry
(Chemistry and Maths) as my degree. Friedrich August Kekulé , a german chemist, constructed from a dream the structure of one of the most ubiquitous organic compounds: benzene. Its versatility, as I draw an analogy to media, is that the addition of any new compound in experiments creates an entirely new product.
Could we treat media this way to synthesis a new compound? In effect we already do, but they remain woefully limited. We either shoe-horn an external application into media; nothing wrong with that e.g. Twitter, Snapchat etc. Serendipity plays a role in science as well, or we remain resolute of the usefulness of existing forms with the maxim: “if it’s not broken why fix it”. The point is though media was built on a conscious/unconscious broken edifice from the onset. Creativity was pooled from a narrow section of society, experts mirrored this and audiences were treated as sloths. We’ve been made to accommodate these variables as normal.
Every discipline has an interstices of overlap; cinema being the most integrationist in which we contrive a semiotic or cognizant way of making sense of what we see and hear.
Some of these senses are hardwired into us as elucidated in many books such as Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow and Drew Westen’s The Political Brain. But these overlaps, like neurons, form a new matrix. So IM6 differs from the classical definition of multimedia journalism, taking form from the likes of earlier creative arts e.g. renaissance and revolutionary art- painting.
IM6 is a coalescing of thinking up different forms — such as the cube ( below), which employs game theory which is the examination of social situations with winners and losers. But how could it be taught?
That media in general and journalism in particular could embrace an artistic/scientific approach to its form. Understanding at a formative age that words and images are not symbol-free or innocuous, and that art and design become combinant subjects to others.
The cube was constructed ( not completed) as a game that rewarded playfulness with information about intelligence in security.
Further IM6 iterations enveloped accelerated videojournalism, which is a heightened form of cinema meets videojournalism.
As an artist in residence at the South Bank Centre, IM6 has evolved from a labour of love to an emerging practice and formed part of my doctorate.
From Videojournalism to IM6, to Cinema Journalism
From conflict zones to hazardous expeditions, Video Journalist David Dunkley Gyimah takes a look at IM6 — a more creative and aggressive form of videojournalism/Solo Film making.
I envisage each devised form as a piece of art, in as much as its form may not fit the conventions of a story ( journalism) page and has different motivations behind its construct. This doesn’t mean it takes a haphazard, thrown mud-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks approach. It’s founded on hunches from historical data, antecedents and trend extrapolations. This coded/ uncoded way of production derives from attempting to understand the stem of various media disciplines in a practical, as much as theoretical manner. Then the gaps to innovate, to borrow from one another, to liberate this fixed structures become apparent, just as the Impressionists borrowed heavily from woodblocks of Japanese Ukiyo-e — ‘pictures of the floating world’.
This approach has been used across a myriad stories, such as a featured for the BBC World Service exploring WWI ship wrecks in Gallipoli
“At 45m down, a ribbon current was to become a real pain in the ***. After minutes that seemed eternity struggling, my 02 tank showed 5 minutes of air, with 10 mins needed for decoing.