Cao Le

Cao Le
Tel.: 677-2287
Projektbüro Audio Raum 5.321

(Working)Title of the Dissertation

Designing media products for the globalized audience –Interactive documentary as a phenomenon and practice in transcultural and media study

Project Description

This dissertation focuses on contemporary forms of interactive documentary practice. It is “a term used to describe the new possibilities for both the construction and representation of ‘reality’ brought about by the human-computer interface”. With the development of documentaries and technological innovations, the expression and forms of documentaries have become more abundant, from focusing on propaganda and education to personal expressions, from “public documentary” to “personal documentary”, from observation and acceptance to participation and sharing.

As computers become ever more embedded in everyday life, the possibilities of interactive documentary continue to evolve, along with our understanding of these possibilities. According to Gaudenzi, there are three different levels of interactivity that determine the type of documentary. The interactivity is either semi-closed (the user can browse but not change the content), semi-open (the user can participate but not change the structure of the interactive documentary), or completely open (the user and the interactive documentary constantly change and adapt to each other). First, the dissertation considers how interactive documentary practice can help us to interrogate the two-way relationship between self and other. The documentary practice has a longstanding tradition of looking at how we can make “the strange familiar” and “the familiar strange”, with interactive documentary in its many guises surely having a key role to play in helping us find the deeper structures or connections that lie beneath the surface of cultural difference.

Besides the analysis of current interactive documentaries and live streams, I plan to take a closer look at the phenomenon from varied perspectives. The dissertation explores these video artworks not only as anticipated today’s cultural practices, but they also became subject to critique, which bears similarity with current critical discourse regarding digital culture.

A further area of analysis is the discourse, which develops around modern forms of interactive documentary and provides to social structures and normative orders that have been reflected and renegotiated. Such as the first-person documentary by Renov, the documentary itself is no longer only a kind of “the discourse of sobriety” claimed by Nichols, or “the most important characteristic of the documentary is its appeal to human rationality” claimed by Lu Xinyu. It is also not a kind of “poetic discourse” and makes its spiritual real world becomes the core of the works. The dissertation reflects those discursive structures and tries to explore the documentary elements of digital culture as a social practice and a phenomenon of media.

Scholarly Career

  • Since 10/2018: Doctoral Student Member of the ((audio)) Aesthetic Strategies at the Institute for Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media (ICAM), Leuphana University Lüneburg
  • Since 08/2015: Lecturer in digital media, Meishan Vocational and Technical College China
  • 08/2013 to 07/2015: Full-time teacher in digital media, Chengdu College Of Sichuan Normal University China
  • 09/2010 to 06/2013: Master studies in Aesthetic, focus on Film and TV of aesthetic, Sichuan Normal University China
  • 09/2006 to 06/2010: Bachelor studies in Radio and Television Editing, Sichuan Normal University China


  • Cao Le. Chinese Elements in Cultural and Creative—A Case Study of Zhang Yimou’s Impression Series. Can Hua, 2013, No 11:36-39
  • Cao Le. Thoughts on Aesthetic Education in Universities. Technology Overview, 2014, No.6:184-185
  • Cao Le. Reflections on ‘Strong’ and ‘Weak’. Chi Zi, 2014, No.6:68-69
  • Cao Le. Landscape Painting Ontology of Zong Bing in ‘The Theory of Landscape Painting’. Information Construction, 2016, No.1:196-197
  • Cao Le. The Chuang-tzu Aesthetics of the Other’s Meaning.Chinese Youth, 2016, No.1:272
  • Cao Le. The Understanding of Wen Xin Diao Long Shen Si. Scientific Chinese, 2016, No.9:130


  • Winter term 2019/20: Chinese Documentary and Cultural Identity – from Traditional to Digital Media, ((audio)) aesthetic strategies, Leuphana University Lüneburg