Documentary Smart City. In search of the Smart Citizen
The documentary Smart City. In Search of the Smart Citizen is a collaboration between filmmaker Sara Blom and researcher Dorien Zandbergen.
Blom’s focus as a documentary maker is on societal developments of in-and exclusion, particularly in urban, complex social environments. Questions that are central in her work are: who controls the public space and to what extend is urban policy shaped by behind-the-screen power relations? Blom’s style is observational, transparant and personal. By zooming in on the daily experiences of people, she aims to render visible abstract political layers.
Her most recent documentary captures the group processes of the seven-week Occupy protests at the Beursplein in Amsterdam. By means of her full-time respectfull presence, Blom gained the trust needed to portray a complex and socially sensitive process from start to end. The result is an intimate portrait, showing the presence in public space of combativeness, a sense for justice but also the vulnerabilities of human confrontations.
For Blom, a documentary on digital citizenship is a logical next step since the digital terrain provokes similar social questions, conflicts and challenges. She is drawn to this project for the challenge it offers in making a topic that seems complex, distant and abstract, personal and tangible.
As an academic researcher of digital culture, Zandbergen is interested in the relationship between technological future visions and their effects in everyday life. Her recent interest concerns the question how decisions regarding digital infrastructures can be taken in a more public, accessible way. For this reason, in 2011 she began organizing brainstorm meetings about the digital future. In addition, as Research Fellow at Waag Society, she organized public explorations about power and disempowerment in the digital society. With the founding of Gr1p and with the documentary Smart City. In search of the Smart Citizen as Gr1p’s first project, she hopes this discussion can be continued and made more visible with the help of other researchers, artists, writers, citizen organizations and others.