The Moving Postcards Project

The Moving Postcards Project, funded by a VCUQatar faculty research grant, was presented by Assistant Professor of Foundation Simone Muscolino in collaboration with the Qatar Museums Authority and the Doha Film Institute (DFI) at the "Art of Travel" exhibition during the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) in November 2012.

 The project is an innovative endeavor that documents changing life in Doha through a developing collection of video fragments. Moving Postcards are micro-video loops that present a space, a behavior, or an atmosphere, particular to a local environment, in this collection, that of Qatar.

Project leader Muscolino has been working on the Moving Postcard Project since joining VCUQatar in 2010. He has produced his own videos and taught the technique to students in his Time Studio classes. Over the last five semesters, approximately 150 students, both Qatari and expatriate, were involved in the project, and the body of work included around 1000 Moving Postcards about Qatar. The project provides glimpses into the landscapes and customs of a country in motion through the eyes of those who know it best.

The different outcomes gave relevance to the project in contemporary time based media research. The project explored short forms of video-making and storytelling; it investigated solutions in disseminating non-linear video content; it considered interaction design practices and it was based both on mobile and desktop platforms.

DFI dedicated a section of the DTFF 2012 website to the Moving Postcards Project. The site hosted a selection of the best content produced in the last two years, with information about the videos, the authors and a description of the project. The project was also featured in the new DFI mobile application launched at the DTFF 2012 as part of their social engagement strategy.  A map was pinned with interesting, curious, hidden places in Doha while every place could be visualized with a Moving Postcard and users had to find those places thereby participating in a simple game.

The installation itself, presented for the first time by the QMA and the Orientalist Museum at the "Art of Travel" exhibition, was displayed through an interactive interface with the same look-and-feel of the website. It comprised a table as an interface and 45 postcards with RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags. Users could trigger the moving postcard (video) by placing a postcard on the table.

Together with DFI, Muscolino and his collaborators –  Assistant Professors at VCUQatar Lauren Maas as copywriter, Stella Colaleo and Ben Benjamin Jurgensen as installation designers; international interaction design firm ToDo as technology consultants; VCUQatar students Al Hussein Wanas and Dhika Khaira as assistants; Laura Fox, digital campaigns specialist and community development (QMA), and Shamir Allibhai, new media producer/digital strategist (DFI) – hope to produce an innovative documentary about Doha/Qatar for local and international visitors and audiences. The project also aims to produce content through educational activities and aspires to create a platform for the young filmmakers it features, while also aiming to connect to a burgeoning regional community invested in film through the ongoing curation and sharing of works. “The website will collect the best work, and as a work in progress we will have very interesting perspectives of the city,” said Muscolino who also curated the exhibit. The Moving Postcards Project was also exhibited at Katara Art Center from 12 December 2013 to 9 January 2014.