An ecocritical approach to documentary interactivity: spatial technologies in a film studies frame

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This essay examines two forms of data visualization freely available on the web, shark tracking technology and, to a lesser extent, projections of sea level rise. Through a discussion of two websites—the Ocearch Global Shark Tracker and Climate Central’s Surging Seas interface—I explore how, as manifestations of visual media, these websites might contribute to a documentary studies paradigm, and interactive documentary in particular. This essay is concerned with not only the contours and limits of documentary studies but also with how we perceive and engage with the nonhuman environment. Together, the two websites provide an avenue through which to evolve the ecocritical capacities of documentary studies to critique the media forms that shape our experience. This essay elaborates an ecocritical approach to these examples by understanding how they are integrally concerned with the performance and politics of not only space but also time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-189
Number of pages17
JournalStudies in Documentary Film
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2018


  • animals
  • cartography
  • data visualisation
  • Documentary
  • ecocriticism
  • interactive
  • sharks

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