Addressing the Emerging Needs of Citizen Jounalists and Digital Activism:
While digital documenting and social media sharing have brought increased visibility to activist causes and promoted social and political change (as evidenced by the Arab Spring), we believe these practices need refining for the following reasons:
- Social media sites such as those listed above currently strip videos/photos of valuable metadata that are crucial for verifying sources, image integrity, and ultimately for their effective use in court commissions. These sites also assume proprietary control over that content and can easily expose the identities of site users.
- Viral videos and images become detached from context, and are continuously altered and reframed by users with divergent intentions that compromise the original meaning of the artifact.
- Current display interfaces are limited to single-window viewing and lack real-time chronological organization. While users have done multi-angle synching, these efforts are limited by window dimensions, which limit the amount of videos effectively viewable at a single time.
Through temporal metadata embedded in the digital files of smartphone videos and photos, audio signals, and manual timeline adjustments according to visual cues, we have developed the capacity to accurately and quickly synch multiple video perspectives, and display a potentially limitless number of videos on The Rashomon website (with each project receiving its own unique url) which can help to verify the authenticity of footage, reveal more nuanced views into events, and archive videos in a safe, advertising-free space that does not expose the identities of users who upload and participants (when face-blurring is activated).