7 Mindblowing Multimedia Projects

From time to time, I come across innovative media content that gets under my skin, wows me with its sheer beauty or gravity, its simplicity or complexity. Often, I discover these projects serendipitously. Sometimes, I’m tipped off by other blogs I follow that track inventive storytelling.

Since I’m the kinda gal who likes to share and connect people to new and inspiring ideas, I offer these fascinating ongoing projects to you. Despite digital divides, the internet makes the world a much, much smaller place. Digital media can give us a sense of what it might be like to be a child in India, an elder in Africa or even someone who lives just a few blocks away.

1. The Global Lives Project.  Global Lives is a cross-continental, cross-platform collaboration aimed at building a video library of the human experience online. It started with a grassroots effort to document a day in the life of 10 regular folk around the world who represent the diversity of the world’s population by age, race, religion, culture, etc.

The project is currently an installation at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Sandip Roy interviewed Global Lives creator David Evan Harris on New American Now. You can listen to that interview here.

2. Havana-Miami TV. Young Cubans and Cuban-Americans live barely 90 miles apart, separated by generations of animosity between their governments; yet they share a common heritage, culture and dreams. This fascinating project is a documentary-in-progress, tracking and telling about the lives of 12 individuals in 2 minute installments over 3 months. The content will be produced into a feature-length program to air this fall on ARTE-TV, a French-German cultural channel, and Radio Television Suisse. Havana-Miami is nothing short of gorgeous, with a fun and easy to navigate online platform that includes a timeline, profiles of people and a searchable graph that sorts videos by tagged topic. 












3. HighRise: a multimedia, multi-year participatory documentary project by the National Film Board of Canada. It explores the global phenomena of urbanization  – and suburbanization –  and what it means for so much growth to take place on the margins of cities, with populations sprawling outward and upward in skyrise buildings all around the world. This massive project is introduced in an artistic interactive site that is completely engaging and unforgettable. Take some time to explore and experience the way many people live now. 

4. The Places We Live is a series of stunning 360-degree photographs and powerful stories that take us across continents and into the lives of 20 families living in slums, in small, overcrowded makeshift homes. The project is a touring exhibition, recently at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. Through crystal-clear audio, you are connected with the intimate realities of life on the edge, an authentic human experience.

5. City of Memory is a repository for New York City’s stories. It’s a mapped collection of contributed and curated stories on everything from a baby born on the C train to the Park Slope Food Coop. New Yorkers can upload videos, photos and mp3 audio files. City of Memory is a wonderful example of the unifying and grounding power of media; this project gives people a sense of place and pride and connection to the past and the present of the city they call home.

6. GDP: Measuring the human side of the Canadian economic crisis.  This project is an bilingual web documentary that features an interactive map and timeline embedded with videos, audio slide shows, photos and comments, sortable by theme. This “pan-Canadian” platform creates a mosaic that reflects and reveals the impact of the global economic downturn on the lives of Canadians. It’s impressive in scale and content.

7. Prison Valley is another ArteTV masterpiece, taking us deep into a Colorado community whose entire economy is based on the prison-industrial complex. The project features an iPhone app, blog, stunning cinema verite video, and will be a reverse-published to TV and a book this fall. What’s amazing is the level of interactivity embedded in this project. Once you create a free account, you are able to pause the documentary and explore the various aspects of the spaces and characters within the content. Hard to explain, but must be experienced. This is a dense and richly rewarding media experience. 

Perhaps these projects won’t literally blow your mind. But I hope, at least, they get you thinking about the possibilities….

Share your reactions and experience here.