‘Aliens among us : a Korsakow-based film about people and their relationship with their dogs’

  • Liz Burke

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    ‘Aliens Among Us: A Korsakow based Film About People and their Dogs’ is a creative practice-led research project generating new knowledge about the affordances of the nonlinear film, which also functions as a personal essay film, and which has been filmed using a mobile cameraphone. My experience as a writer and director of feature length linear documentaries is extensive, with substantial production budgets and conventional, ‘industry model’ methods of production. When beginning my doctoral knowledge quest, I decided to move away from that model completely, in order to investigate production models that are lo-fi, low budget, fragmentary, and non-linear. This PhD exegesis discusses how Korsakow software, with its capacity for iterative making and re-making of fragmentary narratives, is both appropriate for this investigation and deserving of close analysis. Thus, I have linked an examination of the Korsakow format to an investigation into the affordances of the essay film, with its emphasis on embodied experience, and its tendency to slip between the different categories of documentary, visual arts, and experimental film. Thirdly, simultaneously, I examine how the low-budget use of the mobile cameraphone effects the Korsakow-based, essayistic filmmaking that is the ‘object’ under investigation throughout my doctoral research. To probe deeply into this relatively under-researched production model, I resolved to make and reflect upon a creative artefact. Given that I have always found the relationship between people and their dogs to be both fascinating and mysterious, I deemed this topic to be pertinent to my knowledge quest. Thus, I have filmed my relationship with my dogs, using my mobile cameraphone and occasionally asking friends to contribute content to my Korsakow-based essay film. Before, during and after the filmmaking I have engaged in the reflection and analysis that have given rise to the exegesis currently in front of you. So, to summarise for the purposes of this abstract: (1) My main research question is a formal one: composing a personal essay film which functions as a participatory, non-linear documentary, utilising mobile phone technology with which to film and Korsakow software with which to compose and edit, what new knowledge can I discover about the expressive possibilities of this innovative artistic form? (2) While I emphasise that the above question is the main, formative and accountable one that guides my thesis research, I note that there is an ancillary or ‘bonus’ question, which is thematic and which yields a second batch of knowledge generated throughout the thesis: what fresh understanding can I discover, through the making of this project, about the relationships between people and their dogs nowadays?
    Date of Award2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRoss Gibson (Supervisor), Bethaney Turner (Supervisor) & Susan Thwaites (Supervisor)

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