Chris Caines teaches in the Media Arts program at the University of Technology, Sydney. He works at the intersection of cinematic practices and transformational new technologies with an interest in what these hybrids can add to the art of storytelling. Chris’s work spans video, installations, music, software and text. As a creative researcher his technological needs are broad. Consequently he turned to his institution’s publisher to explore the open access systems they manage, including UTS ePress and OPUS.
What are the publishing challenges in your field?
Working inside the academy in the creative arts generally speaking in my area, the research problems and questions are often around developments in the language of different art forms. New techniques, technologies, forms and platforms can drive this but also new ideas in aesthetics and the surrounding bodies of theoretical and historical discourse.
The challenge as far as publishing is concerned is that the outputs from these investigations are not commentaries, articles or books but artworks in many different forms. Happily many of these works produced in the creative arts and industries areas can be mediated digitally in some way. Either because they natively output in that form (such as a musical composition) or can be approximated in documentation usually as video.
The experimentation in epub3 in the open access realm has been very useful as a publishing output for this type of work. Though we are still hampered by lack of standard adoption of the rich media variants of epub, the dearth of good production tools and the tyranny of the Adobe PDF.
Why have you chosen to publish some of your research with UTS ePress as opposed to in a traditional academic publication?
I firmly believe that as the research we produce is publicly funded it should be freely accessible to the public as a resource and so am certainly attracted to UTSePress as a publisher that strongly shares those ideas. They are also a publisher very open to exploring new ideas about the form that research publications can take. In the Media Object series of digital artist monographs Zoe Sadokierski and I produced they were supportive in seeing those as explorations in design and publishing formats as well as expressions of new knowledge that could hold video, audio, etc forms other than text. The openness of OA to the inclusion of other media formats is certainly a draw for me as well, much of my own work and those we’ve included in the Media Object series is best represented by video, sound and photography.
What has been the greatest value of publishing on the OPUS platform?
It looks gorgeous and I’m always happy to point someone to where some of my work is listed on it. Of course there is the practical aspects of how incredibly discoverable it is via many channels, but you cannot devalue the importance of great design in presenting research work. Many of the research publications both online and off seems to regard presentation and format aesthetics as invisible and of no relation to content, when of course it is not.