Our team includes programmers, video editors, activists, artists, documentary makers and theorists.

Eric Rosenzveig

FAMU Center of Audiovisual Studies (CAS) Department Chair, media artist

Eric Rosenzveig was born in Montreal, Canada. He is an artist, educator, producer and curator of musics and arts administrator whose focus has been on the relation between sound and image.

Eric is currently the Department Chair of the Center for Audio Visual Studies at FAMU. He teaches courses on open narrative structures, new media histories, sound for moving image and practical workshops on contemporary art making. He is currently developing a film and media preservation Masters programme at FAMU in conjunction with the National Film Archive of the Czech Republic.

In addition to his own art practice, he teaches electro-acoustic music composition at NYU in Prague and he is a director of the Liz Gerring Dance Company in New York City.

His past art projects include a series of consumer electronics devices as artworks (FUNTV and others); PlayListNetWork, an online system for collaborative media making and public display that also included an artwork of the same name (2001-2004); the Appearance Machine, an artificial life system that streamed continual animated media from garbage collected in his neighborhood (1998-2002, and winner of Vida 3.0 prizes for artificial life artworks and The Telefilm Canada Prize at Images Festival Toronto for best film and video in Festival, exhibited at The Kitchen and The New Museum, NYC and other venues internationally).

He´s lived in Prague since 2007. er@famu.cz

Michal Mocnak

Michal Mocnak was born in Valašské Meziříčí (*1985) is an absolvent of Center of Audiovisual Studies at Prague FAMU. Independent filmmaker and visual artist influenced by gnu manifesto and recently by an aesthetic in mathematical inquiry. He passed through Sun Microsystems and Oracle as a Java developer in past. Currently he is a visual effects supervisor at R.U.R. and NARRA core developer.

Krystof Pesek

Born in Prague (1986). Post-graduate student and absolvent of Center of Audiovisual Studies at Prague FAMU. He combines a knowledge of variety technical images, originally photography and video, an artist / programmer combines free software tools and software, mostly Processing. His work has form of autonomous algorithmic artworks, as well as separate studies on synthetic moving image, generative audiovisuals and data-visualisation. Most of the source-code is based @ Github.

Petr Pulc

(*1990) is a Ph.D. student on Faculty of Information Technology, Czech Technical University in Prague. As a member of Theoretical Informatics department, his main concern is classification in multimedia content, but he is also involved in data discovery and extraction. Aside form school, he is a long-term member of A/V club of CTU students.

Tomas Doruska

FAMU Editing department Deputy Department Chair, editor, director and producer

Czech editor, director and producer of documentary films, was born in 1977 in Valašské Meziříčí. He graduated from FAMU’s Editing Department. As an editor, he has participated in over 50 projects, both feature films and independent documentaries. Tomáš is also profiled as a producer. He co-produced his own short film debut Radhošť (2001), a graduation film released in cinemas, which won the 2002 FICC prize. Tomáš has taught a variety of editing workshops and courses (APP program, Summer Workshop for NYU, Summer Workshop for Miami) during the past 14 years at different universities and film schools. Currently he is a faculty member in the Editing Department at FAMU.

Matej Strnad

(*1989) is a student and archivist at the Center for Audiovisual Studies (CAS), Prague, concerned with critical writing about film and media art and archiving thereof. He has published in various Czech magazines and journals and delivered lectures on topics such as film technology, archival dimensions of internet piracy or the role of traditional film medium in contemporary art. He has co-edited and co-translated the reader Moving Image Manifestos: Colour Music (Pastiche Filmz, 2010), translating texts by Oskar Fischinger, James and John Whitney, Mary Ellen Bute and Stan Brakhage into Czech. He is a founding member of Kinoaparát.cz, platform focused on analogue film as a specific means of expression, which strives to protect, spread and further develop the knowledge of classical film technology. Currently he is co-editing a social sciences reader aimed at students of visual arts, setting up a cataloguing and archival framework at CAS and engaged in establishing a film and media preservation MA programme at FAMU. matej@kinoaparat.cz

Thanks To

Thanks to students Michal Kopp for his Master’s thesis on neural networks, Petr Kubín for his Bachelor’s thesis on vimeo/youtube Narra plugins and Dmitry Vanyagin for his Bachelor’s thesis on an AVID Narra plugin.

Thanks to the teacher’s leading some of our computer science collaborators: Martin Holena, Institute of Computer Science, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; Michal Valenta, Dept. of Software Engineering, Faculty of Information Technology, CTU Prague; Jan Janousek, Department of Theoretical Computer Science, Faculty of Information Technology, CTU Prague.

What is Narra?

The development process has mirrored the software’s functions - different viewpoints, needs, perspectives, philosophies have come together to build a tool that doesn’t have just a single use. NARRA has brought together a wide variety of media-creators and users, programmers, scholars and artists to design an environment whose goal enables collaboration using media. Sometimes fraught, wide ranging discussions about the software's features/uses have dealt with copyright, authorship, public access, the archive, moving image and textual visualization and representation, production values, and how moving image, and hence narrative, might be structured in the future.

NARRA is being developed at AMU

Development is taking place at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague’s Center for Audiovisual Studies department at FAMU as part of the project "ON (Open Narrative 1.0)" and "NARRA 1.0" with the support of the Institutional Endowment for the Long Term Conceptual Development of Research Institutes, as provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic in 2013 and 2014.

Lead programmer Michal Mocnak is collaborating with a team of teachers and students from FAMU (strih, dokument, CAS), CVUT (Dept. of Software Engineering, Faculty of Information Technology, CTU Prague and Department of Theoretical Computer Science, Faculty of Information Technology, CTU Prague) and The Academy of Sciences (Institute of Computer Science, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic).

When is Narra?

NARRA, now, at the end of 2015, is sufficiently developed to permit a series of test media projects to have entered development.

NARRA stems originally from the playListNetWork project developed by Eric Rosenzveig and Willy LeMaitre and other media artists and programmers in 2002-03. The project was comprised of three parts: playListNetWork software developed in consultation with the artists, the audio visual media content work made with the software and an interface to visualize and navigate the authored structure.

playListNetWork: was an opensource, distributed video editing database that allows multiple users in different locations to simultaneously annotate media clips and edit branching playlists and include textual annotation.

disPlayList: was the public view and interface for a streaming media work authored with the playListNetWork software. It was a web application embedded in a browser using various plugins to display the media. As an interface it was used to visualize the multi-threaded playlists and provide 3D navigation through their structure based on keyword or keyframe choices by the viewer.

Ressemblage: The first work created using the software, Ressemblage wass the result of a group of artist's conversation using media. It makes manifest a world that is an extension of the premises and concepts embedded in the design of the software.

Open Narrative Structures was a theoretical and practical class taught at FAMU’s Center for Audiovisual Studies department in 2010/11, 2012/13 and 2013/14 by artist Eric Rosenzveig and editor Tomas Doruska. The class presented their results in New Delhi at SARAI Reader ‘09 in the form of an improvised AV performance, a talk and installation; and at Prague’s GAMU gallery in the form of an installation in June 2013.

Why is Narra?

Artists can tell stories together using video. Instead of a linear narrative, media works can have multiple paths, multiple versions. The software can be used to create, visualize and navigate multiple linked stories. Software as a tool for collaborative storytelling.

Video editors faced with hundreds of hours of material can annotate their media objects and then organize it based on complex search categories. The software itself will use existing software libraries to add functionality and perform automated annotations. For example the software can extract spoken words and make them into attached text; list shot size, geographic location, etc. Software as an editing tool.

Social scientists using video in their research need extensive annotation capabilities. Once there is textual data attached to the video, our software can apply external searches, on the internet, for example or through journals, seeking out and selecting, in real time associated information to be displayed along with the original media objects. Our software can be used to search through a research project's media and show the resulting video and attached texts including citations, uses, notes or public comments. Software as a tool for audiovisual scholarship.

Narra is focussed on visualization of information. Therefore it can be used with standard archival databases and can then sort and organize existing collections and display and provide access to the results visually. Software to show and stream video from an existing database in a www browser.

How is Narra?

The Narra platform is written in Ruby providing REST-like API to communicate with the world. Using proven frameworks and technologies such a Grape, Sidekiq, OmniAuth, MongoDB or Rails, keeping it solid in its core. Unique architecture of NARRA connectors, generators and synthesizers makes developers and users as flexible as possible in their needs.

Test Projects

Free As In Freedom - Michal Mocnak, 2012

Free software is software that gives you the user the freedom to share, study and modify it. We call this free software because the user is free. Free as in freedom not in price. Think of free speech not a free beer. We are on a journey to find four essential freedoms. NARRA lead programmer MIchal Mocnak’s documentary about the journey and software opened to remixing and reanalysis using NARRA.

It Started With Trees (The Revolt in Gezi Park, Istanbul) - Tomas Doruska & Nazli Kaya & collaborators, 2013

A 30 minute documentary film from Gezi Park, Turkey Istanbul during OccupyGezi / DirenGezi event June 1-15th 2013. I focused on documenting mostly peaceful gatherings, different performances and meetings, music, creativity. Using over 6 hours of semiPro footage of situations from 14 days of occupation of Gezi Park, Doruska opened the material to editors to create multiple versions of the historic demonstrations. All the source footage is available on archive.org under creative commons.

Sumava corpus - Michal Horejsi

Activist (www.facebook.com/verime.vedcum.ne.kmotrum) and scholar Michal Horejsi’s 7,000 document archive on the situation in Sumava.

Sumava - narra development team and documentary filmmakers Hana Novakova & Pavel Lukas, scholar & activist Michal Horejsi, artist and photographer Stepanka Rockova and others, 2015

How to collaborate, how to change from a typical hierarchical model to a distributed rhizomatic approach, in terms of software development, media acquisition, project planning, media creation and public presentation is at the core of NARRA from a philosophical, technical and very tangible perspective. SUMAVA, the first test project was chosen because of the possibility of collaboration with and through a variety of mediums - science, activism, documentary filmmaking, video art, journalism, history. It was chosen because a) the region isn't open to any simple solutions; b) can function metaphorically or as exemplar for issues of the society at large - creation of civil society, corruption, nature as culture, treatment of minorities past and present, use of scarce resources, global warming, borders/neighbours at all scales, the idea of the 'national', historical amnesia, etc, etc. c) of competing claims of ownership in media representation of the space; d) it's something of a proof of concept about how difficult it is for individuals or individual professions to understand each other, and then how a multi-modal approach of contextual content might break down these barriers of understanding.

As with most artworks the result functions as metaphor, ie. a hint of a suggestion is sometimes more useful than a complete database, but NARRA can and should eventually be able to deal with either of these. As NARRA’s first test project though, it will model possibilities.