How will the documentaries of the Gezi Resistance be made?

Ersan Ocak

How will the documentaries of the Gezi Resistance be made?
Interactive, Participatory, Co-creative Documentary Filmmaking

“Agents of change have already descended into the streets and occupied city squares, not only threatening and toppling rulers but also conjuring visions of a new world” (Hardt & Negri, Declaration, p. 1). Starting in North Africa, later spreading to Middle East,
USA, Europe and Latin America, all the resistance movements made social, political and economic demands of a wide range, under different names such as Arab Spring, Occupy Movement, Los Indignados.

In the same vein, as one of the new social movements, on the 27th May 2013, Gezi Resistance started in Istanbul and spread to many other cities of Turkey in a short time. During and after the Gezi Resistance, so many documentaries were made. These documentaries are mostly screened at film festivals, some of them are distributed as DVDs, and others are shared via online video platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Although the viewer was impatiently waiting for these documentaries, they were mostly unsatisfied with the final product. Here, it is essential to ask “how will the documentaries of the Gezi Resistance be made” that will satisfy their viewer. In this paper, as a radical potential of non-fiction storytelling, I contend that interactive documentaries with a participatory attitude and openness to co-creative mode of production may be the answer.

Hence, I will first discuss the common characteristics of already produced ‘documentative video works’ and ‘Gezi documentaries’. Then I will define the symptoms of dissatisfaction from the Gezi documentaries. Secondly, I will elaborate on the shifts that have radically occurred in non-fiction storytelling with the new social movements such as the Gezi Resistance: shift from being solely a documentarian to an activist; shift from solely being a protester to a recording activist; shift from being only a recording activist to also being a participant and co-creator; and “shift from a representational logic to a participatory logic” (Gaudenzi, The Interactive Documentary as a Living Documentary, p. 18).

However, we have to reconsider the new modes of participation with the potentials defined in new media use of protesters in the Gezi Resistance. Finally, I will discuss why the production process of the Gezi Resistance documentaries should be open to the subjects of resistance, and how this can be made within database logic and aesthetics of our times.