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DocLab Shorts 24 Nov at 19:45

A program of short stories that would never have existed without the internet.

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Docs on the Spot

An experiment in transforming documentary cinema into a locative storytelling web-app.

The NDSM-wharf, an abandoned ship yard in the northern part of Amsterdam has become one of the most mysterious and beautiful places in town. After the last ships were built and christened in the 1950s, the docklands area slowly got abandoned and deteriorated. The wharf became a new home for people without a home, and for artists looking for a place to live and work freely. Festivals and illegal house parties were organised in the giant empty buildings and, in the end, urban planners and the rest of the city rediscovered the NDSM wharf. Nowadays, there are restaurants, artists making a living and offices housing MTV and other media companies.

Many aspects of the history of the NDSM wharf have been recorded over the years, for instance in Marjoleine Boonstra’s documentary Harbour: Roaming through the night (shown at IDFA in 2004). But also in the historic television images from the Dutch Sound and Image Institute and the Amsterdam City Archive. As part of the Culture Vortex program, a joint venture of these and other organisations, the rich history of the NDSM-wharf was turned into an locative documentary experiment by a team of talented app developers.

Take your smartphone (iphone or android) and take the little ferry from Amsterdam Central Station to NDSM and experience the stories hidden all along the docklands area. Find the codes and unlock all videos, pictures and soundscapes. The result is a locative mashup of documentary content, blending the past and the present and offering a unique point of view on one of the most beautiful places in Amsterdam.

Visit: Docs on the Spot website

For the rest of this year, the film Harbour: Roaming through the night can be watch in its entirety on IDFA.TV.

Docs on the Spot is a project by Culture Vortex, a collaboration between the Institute of Network Cultures, MediaLAB Amsterdam, IDFA, the Dutch Institute for Image and Sound, Open Images and the Amsterdam City Archive.