The Peabody Awards have expanded beyond the traditional categories of Entertainment, News, Podcast & Radio, Documentary, Arts, & Public Service, and into new formats of Digital and Interactive Storytelling that include Transmedia Storytelling, Interactive Documentary, Audio, Co-Creation, XR, Social Video, Game + Play, & Interactive Journalism. To mark this expansion, the Peabody Awards announced 16 Legacy Award winners yesterday, and moving forward these Digital & Interactive Stories will be honored at the same level as the traditional broadcast media winners. I was able to have three conversations with some of these Legacy Award Winners that have an explicit VR connection including Nonny de la Peña, Notes on Blindness, & Forensic Architecture.
I also wanted to talk with representatives from the Peabody’s to provide a bit more context to their curation and selection process for these legacy award winners, but also what this expansion means moving forward. I had a chance to talk with Dr. Jeffrey P. Jones, Professor of Entertainment & Media Studies at University of Georgia and Executive Director of the Peabody Awards as well as Yasmin Elayat, an artist, director, & Co-Founder of Scatter as well as a recently added jury member to the newly-formed Digital & Interactive Storytelling Board for the Peabody Awards. We talk about the 16 Legacy Award Winners as well the wide range of new fields and forms of interactive media that are being blended and fused together in this category.
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Peabody Award Legacy Winners for Digital & Interactive:
Like many people of color coming up in the 1980s and ‘90s, Phil Yu had grown accustomed to not seeing himself in mass media. But unlike many, Yu also got angry, and then he found a way to channel it. Angry Asian Man is a blog whose name is an ironic play on the model minority trope and asks: Why aren’t Asians allowed or expected to be angry? The blog began as a way for Yu to express himself and work through how he felt about not seeing his community reflected in media, but found further purpose after successfully helping to mobilize against a clothing company that had released T-shirts featuring racist caricatures of Asian people. This changed the blog’s course from criticism to also include calls to action, providing a look, via an Asian American lens, at everything from pop culture to politics to music to academia. As it became a destination for others seeking community, the blog again transformed into a type of short form conversation. The speed in which today’s audience can call out media for stereotypical representations and/or erasure was built off of the work that Yu has been doing for the last 20 years. He spoke up when others did not. He amplified the work of organizations covering Asian American issues so that they could find broader coalitions. With the message as important as the delivery and consumption medium, Phil continues to shine a light on Asian American issues beyond his blog and into podcasts and publishing. Mainstream media is listening now.
Field Builder Award
Nonny de la Peña
Nonny de la Peña has been at the forefront of emerging media throughout her career, earning the title of “Godmother of VR.” She was an important contributor during a historic period of discovery in beyond-broadcast digital media. Her example catalyzed a generation of storytellers and innovators to invest their genius towards meaning-making in emerging media forms. De la Peña brought important insights to the critiques that virtual reality is too immersive for certain content while making compelling arguments for VR journalism, offering eye-opening examples, and providing best practices for designing embodied experiences of challenging events. Collaborations with leading news organizations set standards in transparency, accuracy, and sourcing for new media. Significant areas of her innovation include room-scale 5DoF immersion; data visualization; flat game-engine storytelling; techniques to bring flat media documentation into immersive space, stimulating technologists to make VR headsets mobile, higher quality, and less expensive; and a platform that democratizes the immersive power of volumetric VR. Her pieces help audiences become intimately aware of the nuances of news issues and events spanning critical subjects like abortion, LGBTQ+ youth, police brutality, conflict zones, solitary confinement, melting ice caps, the Black Lives Matter movement, and more.
Primary Credits: Joseph Weizenbaum, MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
In 1966, Joseph Weizenbaum saw the potential in the computers of his day to create a program for the purpose not of processing information or doing scientific calculations, but for the sole intention of making a relationship. This program was ELIZA. ELIZA took the form of what we now call a chatbot. She was presented as a “mock (Rogerian) psychotherapist.” Participants would write to her and she would respond with relevant questions or statements that fueled further conversation. The perception of empathy from ELIZA was so strong that participants often requested privacy while talking to her. It can be easy these days to mistake ELIZA for her descendants—natural language personal assistants like Siri or Alexa. While this software has advanced considerably in the course of the last 50 years, the change in focus to transactional interactions—language as interface—obscures the revolutionary personal narratives that ELIZA created. ELIZA showed the world that a simple computer script could evoke not just one story, but as many stories as there were people who interacted with her. She opened the door to software as a tool not just for business or science, but also for emotional interactions, empathy, and connection.
Institutional Award Forensic Architecture (2010)
Primary Credits: Eyal Weizman
In the 21st century, states’ and corporations’ arsenals include drones, chemical gasses, computational surveillance, sensors, and disinformation, which are launched at targets remotely through complex computer interfaces and dizzying transnational networks. In these next-level true crimes, there is no obvious smoking gun. Conventional forensics cannot adequately find, collect, analyze, and present evidence to make a case against perpetrators. For the last decade, Forensic Architecture has directed a spectacular coordinated response, led by architect Eyal Weizman. The group has written a new language of evidentiary techniques called “counter-forensics” to advance justice and expose state, military, police, and corporate crimes of magnitude on behalf of advocates and affected communities. Using sophisticated architectural techniques such as lidar, radar, photogrammetry, and advanced platform software, for each case they build an elaborate digital 3D model of the scene of the crime. The team then situates individual pieces of evidence “on stage” within frameworks such as open-source data, satellite data, surveillance footage, citizen video, audio, mobile phone meta-data, allowing for the study of the relational dynamics. Forensic Architecture has co-created an entire new academic field and emergent media practice, using digital 3D modeling for human rights investigation and documentary, to speak truth to computational power on a planetary scale.
Always in Season Island (2010)
Fields & Forms: Interactive Documentary, Game+Play, XR
Primary Credits: Jacqueline Olive Additional Production Credits & Partners: Tell It Media, Bay Area Video Coalition
The creators of the virtual project Always in Season Island sought to confront the ongoing legacy of American racial terror following their 2019 documentary film (Always in Season) on the history of the lynching of African Americans, They recreated, in virtual life, the setting of the 1930 lynching in Marion, Indiana, when 10,000 white men, women, and children came to watch the torture and murder of two African American men. Avoiding gratuitous violence, “Always in Season Island” offered visitors tasks to complete and prompts to consider that either encouraged or stopped the lynching from occurring, ultimately pushing the conventions of the documentary form and challenging audiences to intimately examine their own capacities for both dehumanization and change.
The Beast, A.I. Transmedia Experience (2001)
Fields & Forms: Transmedia Storytelling
Primary Credits: Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, Pete Fenlon, and Elan Lee
Originally developed by a small team at Microsoft Games as a marketing campaign to support the 2001 film A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, “The Beast” played out over a massive network of fictional websites and other forms of media that combined to tell a sprawling tale set in the world of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Following clues hidden in the movie’s trailer and poster, those who found their way into the network were immersed in the storyworld and challenged with puzzles to unlock the next pieces of narrative. This mass-distributed form of storytelling, later dubbed an “Alternate Reality Game,” provided a template for a new way to tell stories over the internet and connected media.
Fatal Force: The Washington Post Police Shootings Database (2015)
Fields & Forms: Interactive Journalism Primary Credits: Steven Rich, Julie Tate, David Fallis
Additional Production Credits & Partners:
The Washington Post Amid outrage over the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, reporter Wesley Lowery suggested that The Post count every fatal police shooting in America. We now know that American police officers shoot and kill about 1,000 people a year, and The Post has consistently made the data accessible through graphics that show with stunning clarity how victims are disproportionately Black—more than a third of unarmed people—and overwhelmingly young and male. The most salient and impactful works of data journalism fill a void and answer crucial questions that the government or private sector choose not to. With the Fatal Force database, The Post’s work over seven years is an unwavering public service in the fight for criminal justice.
Feminist Frequency (2013)
Fields & Forms: Social Video
Primary Credits: Anita Sarkeesian
Following the 2009 launch of her feminist media criticism website by the same name, Anita Sarkeesian advanced our conservations about popular culture, and specifically the representation of gender in media and “geek” and gamer culture, through her Feminist Frequency YouTube channel. Her lightning rod series “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games,” exposed the persistent denigration of women in one of the most popular media forms in the world and angered parts of the largely male gamer demographic, prompting the #GamerGate scandal when she endured vicious online harassment and death threats. Through it all, she continued to tell stories in service of manifesting a better world for women, queers, and other marginalized people.
How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk: NY Times Dialect Quiz (2013)
Fields & Forms: Interactive Journalism
Primary Credits: Josh Katz, Wilson Andrews
Additional Production Credits & Partners: The New York Times
4The New York Times’ work “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk”—or, because of its sheer ubiquity, simply the “dialect quiz”—became a cultural touchstone immediately after its launch in 2013. After answering a series of questions about the words you use, the interactive graphic returns a map that, more often than not, pinpoints where you live or grew up. What started as a personal side project of graphics editor Josh Katz was used by tens of millions of visitors over the span of a few weeks and quickly became at the time the most-viewed piece of content in New York Times history for its ability to tell individuals a personal story about themselves while also drawing a limitless set of maps of cultural geography that still delights new readers today.
Fields & Forms: Interactive Narrative
Primary Credits: Jenova Chen
Additional Production Credits & Partners: SONY Computer Entertainment, Santa Monica
Studio Developer: THATGAMECOMPANY INC
Journey is quiet, abstract, and spiritual, yet riveting. As a player you are a robed figure, seemingly lost, while meeting anonymous strangers, other players searching for what they do not know. Journey shook the gaming world when it was released a decade ago, crystallizing the spirit of a burgeoning generation of indie game developers, whose tender, artisanal works recalled the wonder of the earliest days of gaming. In Journey we are encouraged to collaborate with anonymous strangers as opposed to shouting at them for competition or clout. We are asked to slow down, stop talking, and pay attention to history and the ecosystem around us.
Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa) (2014)
Fields & Forms: Interactive Narrative
Primary Credits: Sean Vesce, Alan Gershenfeld, Gloria O’Neill
Additional Production Credits & Partners: Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc. E-Line Media
“Kunuuksaayuka,” a traditional Alaskan Iñupiat tale, follows a young girl, Nuna, who fights against an eternal winter storm threatening her community’s survival. For the 2014 atmospheric puzzle-platformer Kisima Inŋitchuŋa, this epic journey has been adapted by writer, storyteller, and poet Ishmael Hope (Iñupiaq and Tlingit) into an artful and accessible educational game. Throughout the game, players encounter powerful video vignettes of interviews with 40 Iñupiat Elders who share legends, cultural practices, and traditional world-views. Importantly, the project originated with Upper One Games, a for-profit subsidiary of Cook Inlet Tribal Council established in 2012 as the first Indigenous-owned commercial game company in the United States.
Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness (2016)
Fields & Forms: XR
Primary Credits: Arnaud Colinart, Amaury Laburth, Pete Middleton, James Spinney
Additional Production Credits & Partners: Archer’s Mark, Ex Nihiloin collaboration with Audiogaming, Novelab ARTE France With the Support of CNC
Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness is a beautifully crafted landmark 360 film project that premiered in 2016 in collaboration with an acclaimed flat feature film documentary. While the feature film (Notes on Blindness) told the story of an articulate professor documenting his transition from being a sighted to an unsighted person, the immersive piece gave audiences an experience of echolocation. In effect, the tables were turned, where sighted people shifted from sympathy for someone who “lost” a sense, to a realization that they have been so dominated by eye data inputs to their brain they have become “sound blind. The experience answered the “why immersion?” question with innovative design technique, a compelling experience, an emotional journey, and transcendent aesthetics—all elements of an excellent story.
Papers, Please (2013)
Fields & Forms: Game + Play
Primary Credits: Lucas Pope
Additional Production Credits & Partners: Developer and Publisher: 3909 LLC
First released in 2013, Papers, Please puts players in a position of authority in a dystopian police state. In this strategy simulation video game, the player is in the shoes of an immigration officer stationed in a country bordered by hostile neighbors. With little time to review and process documents, the player must make fast-paced decisions to determine who can cross the border. And with each wrong decision, the consequences can be dire, resulting in life or death stakes for your family who are dependent on your earnings. Papers, Please breaks away from the traditional tropes of kill or be killed but instead focuses on the ever-present complex, intricate, and personal choices resulting from geopolitical forces.
Fields & Forms: Interactive Documentary, Audio Primary
Credits: Maria Ignacia Court, Rosemarie Lerner Additional Production Credits & Partners: Chaka Studios
In the 2015 web-based online documentary Quipu Project audiences click on colored-dot icons, each representing testimonies of more than 100 women from remote mountainous locations across Peru, who share their anonymous stories in voice messages after dialing a free phone number. In recording after recording, they recount being among the nearly 300,000 women (and thousands of men) brutally subjected to sterilization under the government of former president Alberto Fujimori in the 1990s. Quipu Project elegantly fused low-tech phone technology for recording with a high-tech digital interface for the user experience, brilliantly weaving together ancient and new technologies to create a powerful and poetic online collection of co-created, participatory oral histories in a movement for justice and survivor support.
Star Wars Uncut (2010)
Fields & Forms: Co-Creation Primary Credits: Casey Pugh
Additional Production Credits & Partners: Jamie Wilkinson, Chad Pugh, Annelise Pruitt, Bryan Pugh, Aaron Valdez, KK Apple, Todd Roman, Ivan Askwith
Star Wars Uncut—a 2010 online film produced, edited, and directed by Casey Pugh—is a crowdsourced shot-for-shot re-creation of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, consisting of 473 segments, 15 seconds each, created and submitted by fans from all over the globe. In 2009, Pugh created a website where fans could sign up to re-create scenes from the original Star Wars film. When there were multiple contenders, there was a vote to determine whose work made it into the final film, which would then be altered in real time. Star Wars Uncut is a great example of fanfiction involving a beloved IP, a best-in-class show of how crowdsourced content can not only entertain, but also make a familiar story delightful in a new way.
World Without Oil (2007)
Fields & Forms: Co-Creation, Transmedia Storytelling
Primary Credits: Ken Eklund Additional Production Credits & Partners: Electric Shadows, Independent Lens, ITVS Interactive, Writerguy official credits: http://writerguy.com/wwo/metacontact.htm
Unfolding online in 2007, World Without Oil simulated a global oil shortage. Over the 32 days the game ran, each day played out one week of events, charting worldwide ramifications of a global oil shock. The game invited players from around the world to tell their own stories of how the oil shortage was affecting their lives, through blog posts, voice recordings, pictures, video, and other user-generated content. Collaborating on potential solutions to a global crisis, the players together helped create a fictional documentary, raising important questions of sustainability and resiliency.
For more information visit peabodyawards.com and follow #PeabodyAwards #StoriesThatMatter across Peabody Awards social media channels.
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[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye and welcome to The Voices of VR Podcast. So I've been able to post a number of different interviews about some of the legacy award winners of the Peabody's. They have a new award called the Digital and Interactive Storytelling. with Mario La Pena and Nets on Blindness, as well as Forensic Architecture. They were three of the 16 Legacy Award winners of the Peabody Awards. I wanted to talk to the Executive Director of the Peabody Awards, as well as one of the new board members of the Interactive Jury, to unpack and discuss all the 16 Legacy Award winners this year, but also to Talk about broadly this process of expanding the categories and having a special interactive board that's discussing all these and yeah, just a lot of Reflections upon what's it mean to do this type of interactive media broadly? I think you'll see a lot of stories talking about how the people is expanding into gaming but it's also beyond just gaming it's also interactive journalism, interactive documentary, co-creative collaborative projects, alternative reality games, these co-creative processes, social video and YouTube, and also virtual and augmented reality and these immersive storytelling platforms. It's less about the format of the technique, although they are not doing site-specific art installations or immersive theater. It's more about the broadcast media that's more widely available. So given that constraint, I wanted to also just talk about the process of agency, interactivity, and how they start to play into these different forms of what they're recognizing. So we're able to reflect and talk about the different winners and where things are going in the future because the Peabody's is going to start putting these at the same level. There's not going to be a special awards like they've done in the past, but to have it so that they're going to be recognized at the same level. So talk about that as well. So that's what we're coming on today's episode of the voices of your own podcast So this interview with as mean and Jeffrey happened on Thursday March 24th 2022 so with that let's go ahead and Dive right in
[00:02:07.748] Yasmin Elayat: Hello, everybody. My name is Yasmeen Alayat. I'm an immersive artist, director, and co-founder at Scatter, which is a creative tech company based in Brooklyn that is pioneering volumetric filmmaking and the creators of Depthkit. So I'm a creator myself, and I'm also on the newly formed interactive board for the Peabuddies.
[00:02:27.725] Jeffrey Jones: And I'm Jeffrey Jones, professor really of entertainment media studies at the University of Georgia. But more importantly, I'm the executive director of the Peabody Awards, the oldest and most respected award for 82 years in broadcasting, but now also in digital, immersive and interactive media.
[00:02:46.912] Kent Bye: Great. So I guess today is actually announcing the 16 Legacy Awards for this new category of digital and interactive storytelling. And Jeffrey, maybe you could give a bit more context to the Peabodys and what they mean to the larger industry of telling stories and what has been traditional media and TV, radio, podcasts, and news and documentary.
[00:03:10.646] Jeffrey Jones: Sure. Well, Peabody was formed in 1940 at the University of Georgia. At that time, as really seen as a Pulitzer Prize for radio, TV didn't really become commercially available until 1948. The award program thus grew as broadcasting grew and changed and incorporated cable. And then in the early 2000s realizing that you know the affordances of digital spaces to tell stories that mattered in the web and digital context, our program began recognizing web based stories. and did blogs and did an array of different things, but never did we, in my opinion, do a very robust or good job of realizing that those affordances were more robust than what we were doing. And so Peabody in 2015 created a beta for what we are seeing now. It was called the Futures of Media Award. We had a sponsorship with Facebook and we ran, again, kind of a beta with the double entendre of it was Futures of Media as in digital immersive interactive, but also it was judged by University of Georgia students. And it was so successful that I realized that we needed not a separate award that's kind of a redheaded stepchild, but a full Peabody Award that recognized VR, games, XR, interactive documentaries, transmedia storytelling, world building, co-creation, et cetera. And so right before the pandemic, I went out and recruited a board of really badass deserate that themselves creators often pioneer creators that have been in this space and doing this work for a long time to serve on the board of jurors as this expert jury. And then because the pandemic set in, we thought a great way to kind of announce to the industry that Peabody was going to be recognizing these types of programs, types of media materials, types of stories would be to look back. And it's not something Peabody's done much, but to look back and realize those pioneering, groundbreaking works that also deserved a Peabody, but also signals to creators going forward the type of things that we're interested in. And I'll say one last thing is more than a tagline, really our mission are stories that matter. That is, this is not just a craft award. It really is how does storytelling in electronic media, if you will, matter to us as citizens? Do they say something that is important? And so that is still the emphasis here. And we believe that both our special award winners, as well as the various categories that we recognize that these are groundbreaking stories that represent that very much.
[00:06:19.638] Kent Bye: Yeah. And Yasmin, as you're coming in into serving on the jury, you know, having these different deliberations, I guess maybe a good place to start is to start to define the boundaries as to what types of things are considered and what things aren't considered. I noticed as an example, there's no immersive theater pieces, say like Sleep No More is something that has been a huge part of innovating with this fusion of interactive gaming and theater, but It seems as though it's focusing on media that can be produced on mass. And so things like transmedia, storytelling, interactive documentary, audio co-creation, XR, social video and games and play and interactive journalism. Those were the forms that were decided upon. And I'd love to hear some elaboration on how to decide this new umbrella category of digital interactive storytelling and everything that is included within that.
[00:07:14.207] Jeffrey Jones: If I can jump in there, because this preceded Yasmin's joining the board, and you kind of said it, Peabody was formed as an award for broadcasting and thinking of literally that word, which is it's broadly and widely available. And so we did have to make some tough decisions about installations and about immersive theater. Some killer work is happening in those spaces. But at least for now, as we began, the traditional focus of Peabody is, are the materials more broadly available to citizens and the public writ large? And not do you have to be an elite or do you have to have a special entry to be in Berlin or in New York or in Los Angeles or in Dallas or wherever. And so at least for now, we felt that these forms were expansive enough to begin with, to stay within the tradition of what Peabody has honored.
[00:08:20.222] Kent Bye: And Yasmeen, I'd love to hear your experience of as you are walking into these constraints and these rules and some of those early discussions as you're talking about these different forms and genres of transmedia.
[00:08:34.337] Yasmin Elayat: Yeah, I mean just to add on to what Jeffrey's been saying, it is a space that is always ever expanding and hard to define and reusing the right words can be debatable, you know, just even categorizing the work is a whole discussion in itself and maybe people won't even align on the different categories. But I think the one thing that is that you know just to add on what's been true is like no matter what, the Peabody's is about leading with the story. It's about stories that matter. And then it's secondary, the kind of medium and the form and the technology used, but just understanding and embracing that all these creators and these forms, you know, the people that have been pioneering the space that have been working for decades now, that they also need the type of international recognition and acknowledgement of the sophisticated work that they've been doing. And I would say that I just think that what it says to me as someone who's a creator as well, obviously as someone on the board, that I think it makes sense for it obviously to be accessible by a mass audience. I think that's something that is pretty standard in a lot of different awards because it is about participation and audience being able to consume or participate. But I think also what this is in general and what it says about the industry is there's this inflection point is how I like to think about it. It's like a moment where you know we're getting the prestige of the Peabody's to recognize a lot of this broad types of work that's hard to categorize that's been hard to have a home if you think about it over the decades a lot of these places, including some of my work at like just 10 years ago, didn't have a place to exist, it was homeless and it didn't really belong or fit. And I think we kind of need to start trying to put them into categories. I think that's probably part of the problem. It's always an evolving and growing type of work. Technology is always changing. I think the categories themselves, it's going to be probably evolving. The types of work that would be eligible will be evolving as technology changes. And I think no matter what, the main thread here is that it's about the stories that matter. And I think that shines in all the legacy work that's been selected so far.
[00:10:29.800] Kent Bye: And Jeffrey, I'd love to hear a little bit more context. As we move forward, we're looking backwards and giving these 16 Legacy Awards, which I'd love to dive into here in a little bit. But before we do that, just to set the stage for what we can expect moving forward, because there are a number of different Peabody Awards that are given each year in the categories of entertainment, news, podcast and radio, documentary, arts and public service were some of the categories that I was seeing as I was looking through some of the past winners. And so Is the idea that there's going to be like one announcement in the year that's going to have all of the award winners and maybe two or three for each of these subcategories, or what can we expect moving forward? Cause there's 16 legacy awards, but as we go into more of the annual honoring the stuff that is within the last year or so, and maybe you can give a bit more context as to if the plan is to just have. one big award that is having this XR and immersive media interactive games and all these other interactive media added in at the same level of all these other media.
[00:11:32.129] Jeffrey Jones: Yes, a great question. And let me explain the Peabody process, which is what gives us so much tremendous respect. I think Ava DuVernay recently said, it's about the process that makes this ward have so much integrity. And we've tried to keep a lot of what we've done traditionally into the new board. So a couple hallmarks of how our process works is we meet face to face. and that the winners are decided by unanimous vote. The other board has 19 members. This has 15 members. So, unanimity, to reach unanimity, that deliberative context of what is a story that matters? What should we be recognized? What are the social issues that are being tackled here? That's a part of that deliberation. And so, it's helpful for your listeners to understand That's what makes this award not just mail-in ballots, 23,000 members of the Academy, or somebody just meeting on a weekend. This is a long process. So with that as background, we will begin accepting self-nominations, entries, from anybody who wants to submit internationally in these various categories. And the categories are helpful on the front end as kind of apples to apples, oranges to oranges, but as Yasmeen said, All of these categories can go all kinds of different ways. And in fact, we're pretty intentional. If you look at the sizzle reel of these compilations of one might say interactive narrative game and play can have a lot of different designations. So categories can become confusing, but still we'll ask people to submit in those categorical things just for efficiencies purposes. And then the board will, with their screening process, through screening committees, and then the board meets across the fall into the new year in those face-to-face deliberation process. And then, as you say, at least the plan for now, because we don't say we're making it up as we're going along, but if it follows the tradition of Peabody, we will do an announcement in the spring for these awards that precede the other broadcast award. Now, the other thing that I heard in your question is one of the things that we think is awesome about Peabody is with the traditional broadcast board was there's not a set number. There's not a set number of documentaries or entertainment or journalism at the end of the day, because it's a deliberative board that does say, what do we want to be recognizing now? That might mean there's three games this year. There might mean there's no games this year. It just depends. So when we did the beta on that, we saw that a couple of years, two or three VRs won and not in other categories. And so really, that's up to the board because it really is about storytelling. So, you know, there might be very powerful pieces about war. There might be powerful pieces about immigration. There might be powerful pieces about police violence. And because it's a citizen award, because it is about telling stories, using the affordances of these particular technologies to tell things, that's for the board to decide. So we don't know how many awards or what categories, that's really part of that deliberative context. And again, I think the other board has so much respect precisely because it wants to foreground that. and not, oh, we got to make sure that best costume design is in there. It's foregrounding the narratives and their role for us as global citizens. And the technology just affords us to tell that in new and powerful ways.
[00:15:17.183] Kent Bye: Okay. Yeah, that's interesting to have all that context. I had recently had an opportunity to serve on jury duty in Oregon. There was also a unanimous requirement, which I realized could potentially take a long time to be able to get unanimous decisions, or at least the ones that do get an award, meaning that at least everybody that's on the jury is at least familiar with it. I think that's probably one of the challenging things would be that some of these pieces are difficult to see everything that's out there. But I guess in the, in the legacy aspect, like as you move forward, I mean, cause obviously as you have this deliberative process, do people like have a suggestion and then if they haven't seen it, then they go back and have a chance to maybe experience it in some fashion. I don't know if
[00:15:59.004] Jeffrey Jones: Well, the submissions, you know, we need people to submit to us. The board does have the power to say, hey, we didn't get the submission. And I know it's out there. And it's really cool. And as a newer in a space, we'll have to go get some of that. But we do have the power to do that. But it is incumbent upon us and the submitters to provide the technology. So we have a detailed process that's not super interesting that allows us to have the technology to experience. Usually the biggest challenges in the VR spaces, but there are plenty of great labs around the country that works with now to establish the screening process as well for the committees as well as for the board to see that stuff. When we did it here, we have a nice lab at the University of Georgia, but there's better ones at USC and MIT and NYU, et cetera, that hopefully we'll be using. But yes, we want to make sure that all the board members are able to experience as much of the material directly as possible.
[00:16:59.909] Kent Bye: Yeah. And because we're awarding a number of legacy awards, were there submissions for these or did the jurors just have a deliberative process where they went back through the greatest tests of the last 50 plus years?
[00:17:12.635] Jeffrey Jones: It was that we met three times, four times actually. And so, yeah, it was. You know, again, if you look at the roster of people that are on this board and our web page has them and all their credentials, I mean, these people have been around. These are some serious leaders in the industry. But yeah, it was we threw stuff out and debated it. And it took four meetings to arrive at. And did we miss some? Yeah, I mean, I will say, I really want to make sure there were some that are not here that they had been awarded a Features of Media Award. So That Dragon Cancer, Life is Strange, Set in Nyaya, this interactive documentary about Syria and torture and a bunch of others. that were very, very powerful media, but they'd already kind of been awarded a Peabody. And the other is that the creators themselves. So people like Jay Bushman and Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and I could go through Kamal Sanders. Folks had done their own work. We can't be giving ourselves a legacy award to members of the jury and everybody. I will say I'm so proud of our board. Many of them might have received a legacy award, but they bit the bullet for the team and said, I know we can't do that. So we do like to try to in their bios highlight groundbreaking foundational work that many of them were involved in too. But so anyway, that's a long-winded way of saying we did the best we could, but there were a couple categories of previous winners or conflicts of interest that we couldn't award as well.
[00:18:45.164] Kent Bye: Yeah. Well, one follow up process question for Yasmeen, just to get a sense of what was that like for you to go through those four meetings and deliberate and talk about all these different experiences.
[00:18:56.715] Yasmin Elayat: Well, as Jeffrey mentioned, I joined the board later. I'm one of the latest additions with Gabriel Dance and Naveed Khonsari and Ola Kami. So we joined after the Legacy Awards have been announced and we've been part of the beginning of starting the blueprint, like laying out the foundation around how the next year will go. So I can speak to that and how that went, but maybe Jeff can speak to that.
[00:19:18.213] Jeffrey Jones: Why Yasmin and Gabriel and Naveed and Opeyemi were brought on board, and I should say Ben Stokes at American University as well, is we realized that the deliberations need more bodies and voices. It's just 10 people wasn't enough for how Peabody's done it. And you think, oh, well, the more you add, that's going to make it more difficult. It's actually not. you get more expertise in the room. You get not just one person that's done game or journalism, but two or three. And so it's actually better to have more people. So we appreciate the four recent members, Yasmin included, coming on and as she says, are helping us build out. The real challenge is going to be these yearly submissions, how they're processed and really routinizing it. The legacy, I won't say it was easy, but it was easier to go, well, what's our greatest hits? You know, it's like a Rolling Stone challenge. What's the top 100 albums of all time? Well, you know, so we had fun, but the real challenge is going forward and we needed some more smart people on board.
[00:20:24.434] Kent Bye: Yeah, well, there's 16 awards and there's four of them that are special awards. And maybe that's a good place to start with Nani de la Pena with the field builder award. I've just had a chance to talk to her about her pioneering work in immersive storytelling. Yeah. Forensic architecture, which is doing a lot of really innovative stuff with using spatial storytelling techniques and architecture to be able to tell human rights stories about state violence. Eliza is a program that goes all the way back to the 60s or so at MIT artificial intelligence program, Eliza for the foundation award, and then Phil Yu for the trailblazer award. So maybe we could talk about those four to start and just have some comments on the special awards of both the trailblazer, field builder, foundational and institutional awards.
[00:21:08.441] Jeffrey Jones: Well, I can say something, but Yasmin, you should jump in at any point because of your familiarity. I think a couple that I want to point out is one of the things I'm so proud about about what we're doing here is one of the things I enjoyed when we did the beta, the features of media, is it was fun to hear the students say, you know, that video game would have been better as a VR piece or that would have been better as an interactive documentary. And what it said was we really ought to find what's the best technology for storytelling. And what I love about Nani Dela Pina is she was a journalist or is a journalist. I shouldn't say was, but she wrote for Newsweek and other forums. But she realized that the technology could help her tell stories in different ways. And I think that was what's so powerful about her work. Hunger in L.A. and others is just, I'm going to tell this story in a different way than in print. And I think that's why Peabody wants to be doing this. It makes me smile when I think of her. The other with Phil Yu is he literally starts a blog back when there was Blogger. I don't know if that was his platform, but there was a blog in 2001. An angry Asian man becomes this opportunity to articulate and invite users to participate in that experience. And a lot of that's what this award is. You know, what's the defining feature of interactive immersive? It is that users are participating in the construction of meaning. And so you're inviting users to be a part of that. And Phil did that. And it really created before social media, before YouTube in 2005, 2006, before Facebook in 2006 and eight or whenever those dates were, Phil was there. So and then forensic architecture for me, again, is inviting you to witness. We gave in the futures of media that said Naya about a serial torture prison was a forensic architecture and Amnesty International piece. And you're asking the user to be a participant, to torture, to be experienced that in a way that oral testimony used to be the main way that we could recount the victim. So that's just my experience. Yasmin, you may have some engagement with these folks.
[00:23:25.962] Yasmin Elayat: No, I mean, I agree with everything you just said. I mean, I think the one thing to underscore again is what these, at least these four awards, these legacy awards, if you think about it, these people were pioneers in a time when there really wasn't a proper ecosystem for the kind of work they're either doing or distributing or even the technology wasn't there. Nani literally was with Palmer Luckey building the origins of the Oculus. So that's really what these awards are about. These awardees changed the fields that they're in and they touched the work that succeeded them. And that's, I think, what epitomizes what the Legacy Awards are about. And it's about honoring the people that we have now learned from and have been building on the work that they have and their legacies, I think. And obviously, there's still creating amazing work and still field building. But I think that's just what the most exciting thing about this group of people. Obviously, you know, Nani is close to my heart. She's in our world and our space and also a volumetric creator. But everyone here is exactly that, this kind of pioneer.
[00:24:21.743] Kent Bye: When I look at this category of digital and interactive storytelling, there's a certain degree of agency to the point where before we start to dive into some of these other specific examples, when I think of, say, a 360 video, you have the agency to look around, but you don't have the agency to be able to actually change the narrative in any fashion. So I guess there's this difference between interactivity and agency when it comes to engaging with these different media. And so, yeah, I'm wondering as we move forward, how say 360 video fits into this category and whether or not that would be more of a documentary that's non-interactive or what this whole aspect of interactivity and agency is, because that seems to be a common through line between all these different recipients of the legacy awards for this new category. So yeah, just curious to hear any thoughts on how you start to think about this concept of interactivity and agency.
[00:25:19.149] Yasmin Elayat: Right. Well, I mean, I think one thing I'll say is I think this is kind of getting at the heart of where a lot of these conversations will go and exactly what you're bringing are these types of what is interactivity? How do you classify different types of work? And I think we just are very transparent and acknowledging, I think a lot of work fits in multiple categories or may not fit so neatly in certain category. And I think I would say, and please, Jeffrey, tell me if this resonates with you, I don't think it matters necessarily how cleanly these projects or the work or the formats actually fit. And I don't even know if I would say interactivity, maybe this is controversial. I don't know if the word interactivity even is a principle necessarily in the true definition of traditionally what we mean by interactivity. I think it's just a consequence of having a hard group of work and categories to describe and finding an umbrella term. I think that's the challenge, is how do you describe such a diverse, multidisciplinary span of work and creators that may not have completely all these threads that connect them together, but there are similar threads in the adaptation of audience participation in new ways, embracing new types of technology and mediums, but above all, as I said, focusing on the story and the narrative as the primary driving factor.
[00:26:26.858] Jeffrey Jones: Yeah, I think it's beautifully said. What all I would add is that this is the problem of categories. And what we've tried to do is in the beauty of our process is at the end of the day, the categories really do not matter. We've been using the language of tagging that what we ought to do is just to tag. And the tagging, again, just facilitates the conversation. Is it this? Is it that? Is it that? I mean, we want to try to obviously recognize the power of the technology to participate in the user experience. And as you were saying, you know, how much agency is involved. But at the end of the day, I don't have to say, well, that's not costume design, that's directing, you know, blah, blah, blah. It doesn't matter. So I won't say we're intentionally trying to blur categories. But at the end of the day, that's not how storytellers think. I don't think that they're, well, we got to stick to this because that's the way it is. That's not if they are going to obscure that, then we should just recognize, is it really, though, a very powerful user experience? What's the meaning there? Does this communicate what the creator was trying to convey? And did it move audiences to have a particular type of experience? whatever that might be. So yeah, tagging is a much better way to get around the problem that often saddles art, music, or even art itself. There's always critics who want to define it, or the industry itself wants to do that. Well, screw that. You know, we're in the process of saying we think we want to shine our light. We do this intensive process and spend a lot of money doing it to precisely try to hold up those artists and say, these are the kinds of stories that we as citizens should be paying attention to. And we don't really care about the category at the end of the day.
[00:28:16.032] Kent Bye: Yeah. As I noticed, as I was looking through these 16 different winners especially the 12 specific pieces, other than the special awards that a lot of them are either tagged with one category or multiple categories. And so I thought it might be a fun exercise to just have a few quick words on both the form of each of these subcategories, but also the specific pieces with the time that we have left, just to give us a little bit of a flavor of the recipients of these legacy awards for Peabody because people will be able to go and watch, you know, the website videos and there's lots of information, but just to give like a high level overview and to help us understand these higher level categories. And so let's start with interactive journalism with both fatal force of the Washington post shootings database from 2015, as well as how y'all use and you guys talk New York times dialect quiz from 2013. So I'd love to hear some comments on these two pieces of interactive journalism.
[00:29:13.513] Jeffrey Jones: Well, I do journalism maybe more than Yasmeen, so I'll let her do the tougher ones. But, you know, for us, how y'all use you guys, I think that was a really, really popular viral thing that took off. And what you'll hear in the video is how the two journalists were worried about breaking the New York Times server. that there was so much traffic really being driven by Facebook at the time as people shared this. And in fact, I think they had to do away with the share function precisely so they didn't bring down the thing. But this was a great example for us of how the popularity of participation in this almost quiz kind of format could provide the excitement for users with their own individual experience. I'm, of course, from the South. You can probably hear it in my accent. So we're y'all culture down here. And I think that was the fun of it is you would play with your friends, if you will, and share your results in New York City or New Jersey and say, man, you know, they were within X numbers of miles of where I'm from. So it was that aspect of play. And that's something else I wanted to comment. I want to talk about is Play is such a central dimension of this, whether it's Star Wars Uncut or games like Journey themselves are always in season. You're going to play around the conception of lynching? Anyway, point being is play is part of it. And for interactive journalism, that was a central component to that. plays not so much a central component of that with fatal force. I mean, for us, this marked a different type of importance in the usage of databases, where the U.S. government literally will not and is prevented from talking or will not gather the type of data on police violence. And the Washington Post reporter said, and then the Guardian did, too, but said, we're going to have to do this ourselves. So this is a real different kind of let's use database for you to look in your communities to see the types of police violence and then be able to see that at a national scale. And you, the user, be engaged with and across that data. So two different kinds of forms of interactive journalism that we felt important be represented here.
[00:31:38.952] Kent Bye: Yeah. And the next category of transmedia storytelling, which is kind of fusing different types of media together. So this one is the beast AI transmedia experience from 2001.
[00:31:49.353] Yasmin Elayat: Yeah, I mean, I can speak a little bit. I don't know, I can be a little concise or elaborate, but I would say that when speaking to transmedia, this is when we start talking about multimedia, storytelling, world building, different types of entry points, different types of projects that can take a different timeline. And every visitor, audience member, you know, would have a different type of way that they are engaging or entering this type of project. So I would think that would be the way to define this category. I don't know if Jeff, you want to speak more about the project, because I know we still have to... Will that know that I mean, it's a good way.
[00:32:20.470] Jeffrey Jones: I mean, what's great is I do encourage the listeners to go watch the video is because the creators actually exhibit some of their artwork and talk about the breadcrumbs, the Easter eggs that they lay about and how two months worth of work viewers were solving in half a day. But but again, that participation. And so they describe what is a very unusual transmedia experience. And again, look at the date on 2001. This is very early. And I think some of the more exciting storytelling is transmedia. I look forward to seeing what we're going to get as we go along.
[00:32:57.262] Kent Bye: Yeah, as we go down the list, I try to order it in some ways of becoming more and more degrees of agency. And so we have the interactive documentary of two pieces that have always in season Island from 2010, which is both an interactive documentary, plus a game plus play, and then an XR experience and a virtual world and second life. And then a quipu of 2015 of interactive documentary and audio.
[00:33:24.076] Jeffrey Jones: Well, always in season, Jackie Olive has gone on to also do a formal film documentary of it. But this was very cutting edge in 2010. And for your viewers who aren't familiar with it, it's engaging in the witnessing and participation in lynching experience. which just that one would ask a user to participate in that is one of the gutsier kind of experiences you could ask to do. But as you say there, we did realize that it does a lot of different types of things. And so this is that tagging that we alluded to earlier to try to recognize that, you know, I've met Jackie once, but I didn't ask her, why did you feel like the film was also necessary? And I think her answer would be because I was a fan of that film is there was a lynching in North Carolina after this. And I forget the date, twenty seven, 18 or 19. And, you know, lynching is always present. We like to think this was something that happened in the 20s, 30s. and maybe even 40s. But lynching happens all the time. And so I think Jackie felt the need to do that. But this was, for us, a very groundbreaking interactive documentary that really asked users to do something that should make you cry. And then Yasmin, can you say anything about Kipu? I was not as familiar with this piece. Yeah.
[00:34:49.577] Yasmin Elayat: I mean, I would say it's another one of those that multiple tagging system again. I mean, it's a project, I would call it a new media documentary if I was speaking colloquially, but within the categories, it's definitely a collaborative co-creation. So it's about co-creation that touches this community of women in Peru, and they are calling in from remote mountains using its anonymous stories, leaving voice messages, which speaking about like this type of work, a lot of this work is really figuring out with the community you're working with, what are the technologies and the constraints you have to work within. So I think that's one thing to talk about this type of project. It's also an interactive documentary. And I know it's also tagged under the audio because of this kind of oral contribution. And it's about recounting how around, I want to say, thousands of women in this region were subjected to sterilization under the government, the Peruvian government. in the 1990s. So it's a very obviously hard subject matter and it's their personal experiences and the format of this output is this interactive documentary that exists online on the web that people can either obviously watch the video on the website or actually go and experience this interactive doc themselves.
[00:35:57.315] Kent Bye: Yeah. And so the next section is the social video, which is, I guess, the YouTube series by Anna Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency. So this is, I guess, the YouTube series or a serial, or I don't know, like how you differentiate a YouTube channel versus a series versus the impact of some of this, but it's referred to as social videos. So I'd love to hear some. elaboration on not only the work of Sarkeesian and Feminist Frequency and what that was able to do in the context of video game critique, but also the format of YouTube and how that starts to play into here in terms of how some YouTube channels or things don't fit nicely into other categories that already exist for Peabody's.
[00:36:36.724] Jeffrey Jones: Yeah, I mean, I'll say, yes, we can talk about the piece itself, but this is going to be one of the most fascinating categories. I mean, it belongs here and not with the other board precisely because even in a place like YouTube, you do have the opportunity for audience. engagement and interaction in a way that, say, Netflix, you don't. But, you know, TikTok, Instagram stories, where is this going? We just felt that there is enough evidence out there of substantive stories that matter, that are happening through these kind of user-driven creation and then opportunities for engagement by audiences, that this will be a robust category going forward. And we did look and think what was one that really kind of early on Instagram, not as popular in 2013, but YouTube certainly was. And she used that format and forum to really make an interesting critique. So this will be a category that's going to be fun to watch going forward.
[00:37:44.022] Yasmin Elayat: Yeah, I'll agree. I'll also plus that because I think especially with all the exciting creators on these different social platforms and how they're engaging with story and audiences, I'm also, I just totally agree. And just to speak specifically about Feminist Frequency as a YouTube channel, specifically this award is for the series that was about tropes versus women in video games. So Anita would take these episodes and kind of expose the damsel in distress trope in video games and women as reward and all these things. And obviously, you know, in this kind of community, the gaming community, it's a pretty controversial series. And she had her own challenges to face with the people who watched her series. But it was obviously at the time and still is a very important subject matter and an interesting way to use social video for this purpose.
[00:38:29.925] Jeffrey Jones: And what's interesting in the video, she says, you know, it was touching to her that years later, you know, trolls came after her. And years later, a lot of people apologized to her. And, you know, that's the power of storytelling is sometimes people realize that they were wrong and they've come back and tried to make amends, which says a lot about the power of her videos.
[00:38:54.502] Kent Bye: Yeah. So, okay, well, let's move on to the next section of interactive narrative. So we have two pieces here of both the journey from 2012 and the never alone from 2014, the game plus play the papers, please, from 2013 together with that interactive narrative. So these seem to be maybe interactive games here or interactive stories or interactive narrative.
[00:39:15.818] Yasmin Elayat: Yeah, I mean, again, it's one of those that I think they fit in a few different tagging categories. They're definitely under the interactive narrative, but I would consider both of these forms of games, including Paper Space. They all have narratives, correct? Even Paper Space. I think that's just something that, again, to speak to a lot of, and I think moving forward in the new future of how these awards are going to work, there will just always be these overlapping categories. I think that's just the nature of how these categories are going to be playing out. I mean, I don't know, Journey I feel is such a popular one that I think a lot of your audiences have already played it or have already experienced it, including, you know, yourself. Obviously, it's like, you know, groundbreaking in the sense of, I think, its approach to a game. It was very kind of leaning really into this minimalism and this very, has a very beautiful spiritual approach to gameplay and the art direction and so forth. And with Papers, Please, just speaking to that project quickly, you know, there's like kind of ethical gameplay here. You know, you're taking the role of this immigration officer and having to make decisions and these kind of moral choices. And it's quite an interesting game from that perspective. At least when I first experienced it, that was what I found really intriguing. I don't know, Jeffrey, if you'd like to speak to Never Alone.
[00:40:21.669] Jeffrey Jones: Yeah, I would just say that that's an indigenous Inuit narrative. And we just drive your viewers to watch the video. It's really interesting the development of Never Alone, where the game makers were deeply connected with a particular community. And they have these pictures from the era in which they're sitting around literally a community. So there's kids, there's adults, and they would bring a new version of the game and the people would play it. And they were trying to tell a particular indigenous narrative and experience. And I thought I don't remember the deliberations of the board and we don't like to always talk exactly why something won. But with that said, there's something really interesting about the engineers, if you were, and how they were working with the community to tell a particular story in a particular way. And that that wasn't just drop in, go get your stuff, go make a game, but kept going back to the community. And so it's a beautiful video to watch, to hear the creators talk about and really dedicate it to telling the story of this community. So definitely check it out.
[00:41:24.153] Kent Bye: Yeah. And, uh, yeah, sort of the game like elements, whether it's the center of gravity on the narrative or it's the gravity of the gameplay mechanics, certainly papers, please. Focusing more on the, maybe the game mechanics first and foremost, but having the overarching narrative that's driving the piece. Moving on to the XR category, which is the one immersive storytelling of Notes on Blindness, which premiered at Sundance 2016. I had a chance to talk to Arnaud, one of the co-founders of Atlas V, which was born out of it. In fact, so many things were born out of this project. I've talked to hundreds of people in the XR industry, and there's got to be dozens of people that have brought up this specific experience as being a catalyzing moment for them. I know it's certainly helped to show the power of immersive storytelling and spatial audio, but Yasmin, I don't know if you have any other comments you want to make on the importance of a piece like Nose on Blindness, the VR version.
[00:42:16.063] Yasmin Elayat: Yeah, I mean, I obviously, I met Arnaud and Omari, who's co-founder of Nova Lab, and back in, I think, before, you know, when they were in the Tribeca Films New Media Lab, like, so when they were coming in and sort of workshopping this project, and that's where I met them as one of the advisors on that. And I remember at the time thinking, Because I've seen versions of the same subject matter before, whether it's documentary, installation piece, location-based projects, and I remember thinking when I first saw the experience before it even was released how something special is going on here, like it really was a perfect convergence of form of content when you talk about VR. where, you know, subject matter is speaking about going blind and the experience of blindness and relying on these different sensory tools. And, you know, how can you know when there is a roof above you, it's when you hear the pitter patter of rain. It's a very poetic use of the medium. And so the way they showcase the story around, how can you tell the story of blindness? How can you show that experience when it is already an experience that is without sight? It was just such a poetic approach. It was a very beautiful approach. And I think it really shows, like, why VR? I think it was one of those projects that really made sense, you know, because it's been a story that's been told in different mediums, but it really took a whole new shape and form when it was made in VR.
[00:43:32.521] Kent Bye: Yeah, this is actually a great piece to see how this same story is told across different media, because there's a New York Times op doc short film, there's a feature length film that also is using all of these recordings of John Hull from 1983, as he's going blind and recording it. And I saw all of them within the past week. And so I have fresh in my mind, the difference between the third person arc of someone's biography versus your own embodied first person perspective and what you're experiencing from this kind of universal aspect that they're able to recreate in this piece. So yeah, really powerful piece that I'm glad to see that it's featured here. So just the last section here is the co-creation, and we have the Star Wars Uncut from 2010. It's a co-creation tag. And then the World Without Oil from 2007, both the co-creation and transmedia storytelling. So as we think about the, I guess, the collaborative co-creation projects here, maybe a few words about both the Star Wars Uncut and the World Without Oil.
[00:44:29.306] Jeffrey Jones: I'll do Star Wars Uncut if I can, because I'm such a fan, but maybe Yasmeen can do the last one. But you know, 2010, And I forget the guy's name. I'm so sorry. I just lost it. But, you know, he's using Vimeo. He puts this call out and he gets people from all over the world doing this. Now, obviously, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Hit Record go on to do this, maybe at a more professional level. given some of the stuff you see in Star Wars Uncut. But what was beautiful about it, and it still brings a huge smile to my face, is precisely this element of play that the family with the little kid dressed up as Princess Leia running around. It wasn't trying to be the best art in the world. It was just trying to have fun with really, to me, one of the canonical seminal stories of our generation. is franchise story worlds that exist and it's deep meaning to us as fans. So, you know, Henry Jenkins is talking about fan culture, but this was a great, great generative start to co-creation that has been perfected more later. And it was fun and it showed the potential of what that would look like when fans are asked to create. And it can look stupid and ridiculous or awesome all in the same film. And so we just felt like it was a real pioneering work that deserved some serious love and attention.
[00:45:57.312] Yasmin Elayat: Yeah. I mean, I'm also a big fan of Casey too, Casey Pugh, the creator, but I'll, I'll speak to a world without oil. Cause I think this may be the, at least in the legacy awards, the oldest project or like the earliest project awarded.
[00:46:09.460] Jeffrey Jones: Not other than Eliza, which is that's a special award, but you're correct. You're correct.
[00:46:14.924] Kent Bye: I think the beast was from 2001. So yeah, maybe the second oldest, but yeah, anyway.
[00:46:20.849] Yasmin Elayat: Yeah, I guess basically this project is interesting in multiple ways because it's about an alternate reality game about simulating what the world would be like with the global oil shortage. And I think what's interesting around this project, it's a collaborative storytelling project around that, you know, so the creators created this game that it was about months long and every day there's kind of a call to action to the community and the game players that would be engaging with it would use, you know, how this was affecting their lives through different types of media. you know, so like voice recording videos, photos, et cetera. So it's like user generated content to collaboratively then create this fictional documentary in the end, which is World Without Oil. So it's co-creation. It's also, I find, I think co-creation follows an interactive documentary. I think it's like, you know, it's a very interesting way of creating a documentary through these different methods and there's gameplay as well. So really interesting project.
[00:47:12.551] Kent Bye: Great. Well, I'm glad we got through all the categories, all the different experiences. And, you know, I have a deep dive with the conversation with Nani de la Pena, as well as with nose on blindness, as well as forensic architecture, but I'm glad to be able to get sort of a high level overview of some of these that people can kind of dig into more details. It sounds like that people should check out the submission details on the website. It sounds like it's going to be maybe in the, and later in the spring would have more details to submit. And I guess just to wrap up. Is there any other final words that you want to send people off as we start to wrap up here?
[00:47:43.990] Jeffrey Jones: We have a interactive website that people can come and experience a lot of different facets of this, obviously the winter video and them talking about their projects, but also what social media said and the press have said and our citations, et cetera. So come check out this interactive website that we created to feature all this stuff.
[00:48:05.983] Yasmin Elayat: I think just for creators out there that are, you know, your audience can specifically, I think this is just an exciting moment. I just want to like acknowledge that and underscore that if it hasn't been clear, we are talking about the legacy, but now this is moving forward. This is something that is open to these creators. And I think that's just something that now it's exciting to be honoring achievement in this space and having the Peabody's recognizing this amazing and innovative work that's been going on.
[00:48:29.710] Jeffrey Jones: Yeah, so submission guidelines will be posted to our website later this spring and then the entry portal will be in for submissions is in late June through really the summer.
[00:48:41.076] Kent Bye: Awesome. Well, I I'm really excited. I know a lot of times the interactive stuff will kind of be off to the side and not at the same level as either the wards are kind of like the neglected stepchild in some ways, but I'm glad to see that the Peabody's is taking the steps towards putting it on parody with all these other media. Cause I think the stories can be just as strong, if not more powerful. And I think it's at the end of the day, that's what's important. I'm glad to see that the Peabody's is, is recognizing that. So yeah, Jeffrey and Yasmeen, thanks so much for joining me today on the podcast to be able to help unpack it all.
[00:49:11.320] Yasmin Elayat: Thanks for having me. Thank you. Thank you so much.
[00:49:14.522] Kent Bye: So that was Yasmin Elia. She's an artist, director and co-founder of Scatter, which is a creative technology firm that's working on different volumetric capture tools and is on the newly formed interactive board for the Peabody's, as well as Jeffrey Jones. He's a professor of entertainment and media studies at the University of Georgia, as well as the executive director of the Peabody Awards. So I remember different takeaways about this interview is that, first of all, Well, it was good to be able to reflect upon all the different winners. I think we may have accidentally skipped the Eliza as we're just discussing all the different winners. But you can also go onto the website and see all the different videos. For me, it was interesting just to hear the reflections upon not being so fixed upon how to categorize things into this type of project or that type of project. But they're moving more into this tagging approach of saying that these are these broad different forms and that a lot of these different projects are combining them in interesting ways. It does sound like there's going to be 14 or 15 jury members within the Digital and Interactive Storytelling Board, as well as the other 19 members that I think are covering more of the traditional media that has already been awarded over the last number of years. But at the end of the day, when it comes to what is being awarded, it's going to be one big ceremony, and they're all going to be added together. I think it's actually really exciting, just because a lot of these emerging technologies and interactive media have not been recognized at the same level. I'm really glad to see that Peabody's is taking this step, because I do think that there are a lot of really powerful stories that are being told within the media. And I also found it interesting just to reflect upon the different levels and degrees of participation, collaboration, not only just in the process of creating some of these different pieces, but also in how you're experiencing it and how much engaging with the different pieces that you have and your own agency within that context. Yeah, this whole aspect of interactivity, it's in the name of digital interactive storytelling. But at the end of the day, it really comes down to the stories that matter and being able to have a story that is able to either have something meaningful to say within reflections on the human experience, but also to use the affordances of these different media to be able to tell the story in the best possible way. Yasmeen said, in Notes on Blindness, you're using the spatialized audio and the poetic ways of the volumetric captures to tell the story in a way that would be very unique to VR. That's a good example, just because it has been told in a short-film format, a long-form feature-length film slash documentary, which is already kind of blurring the lines of narrative and documentary, but also the immersive experience of Notes on Blindness, which is able to really take you into that experience. give you a whole other take on that story that goes above and beyond what the strengths of that media are able to really communicate. I'm looking forward to see how this continues to unfold. It sounds like going forward, there's going to be a submission process for people to be able to submit their work. For anybody who's in the immersive and interactive storytelling community, there's now new opportunities to be able to have your work featured and honored by the Peabody Awards. So that's all I have for today and I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast and if you enjoyed the podcast then please do spread the word, tell your friends, and consider becoming a member of the Patreon. This is a less-than-supported podcast and I do rely upon donations from people like yourself in order to continue to bring you this coverage. So you can become a member and donate today at patreon.com slash voicesofvr. Thanks for listening.