Natalie Bookchin and Blake Stimson first met in New York in the early 1990s when they were both affiliated with the Whitney Independent Study Program. This exchange took place over email, for the most part between their respective homes in Southern and Northern California during the summer of 2010.
Blake Stimson: With all the political history that lies behind it, is ‘documentary’ a useful label to describe your work?
Natalie Bookchin: There’s always been a strong documentary thread running through my work, and this has only increased in recent years. My work aims to make visible social facts, as well as my role in shaping and skewing those facts. In my newest projects I’ve been drawing from the archive of online videos – the stuff that at first glance might be dismissed as throwaway junk consisting of banal chatter and trivial displays of mass media mimicry. Yet I see it instead as a vast, largely untapped stream of constantly updated source material out of which I can document the present seen through the eyes of many others, and build new composite documents, rich with descriptive accounts and reflections of both current attitudes and social conditions. I’d say that the work is part of the Readymade tradition only insofar as the source material is found. But rather than presenting the footage as is, most of my work is in reshaping and reworking it into something new.
she is taking youtube videos of individuals blog posts and merging them into one piece; a constantly streaming tape of hundreds of peoples personal thoughts and views on aspects of their day. By merging them all into one streaming shot, you stop considering each individual in the same way you would if you were just watching them, alone on the screen. By jumbling them together, you start to look at them as one group, and merge all their comments and thoughts into one.