Alternative Documentary – The Universe Within

The Universe Within is an interactive multimedia documentary project which uses a range of techniques to reveal the hidden digital lives of people living in highrises around the world. It is directed by Katerina Cozen and produced by Gerry Flahive for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.44.46 PM.png

Depth Kit visualisations of individuals are used to narrate the story and guide the viewer through the experience. Set upon the environment of city highrises, the viewer is able to use the mouse to look around the scene.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.44.58 PM.png

After selecting the narrator, the viewer is taken through a narrative piece and then asked to select a topic as an answer to the questions posed.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.45.15 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.45.39 PM.png

Once the topic is selected, a short interview begins with one of the residents, usually paired with archival footage or images to support it. This pairing of a range of techniques is something that could lend itself to our piece, especially as our focus is on Colin Davidson, an artist with an archive of beautiful paintings.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.47.58 PM.png

The Universe Within is an incredibly large scale project, with some incredibly effective results. While we could never achieve something of this scale within our timeframe, the concept of using documentary in a different way certainly appeals to our group. The use of a multi level platform to host the interview pieces is an compelling concept, and I’d be interested in exploring the idea of trying this in our piece. By giving the viewer choices thorough-out, NFB created a piece that had a high level of viewer engagement. If we can achieve something that achieves these same goals using virtual reality, I will be a very happy girl.


N. F. B., OpenDocLab (2015, June). NFB/Interactive – UNIVERSE WITHIN. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s