In this Voices lecture, artist Natalie Bookchin discusses her body of work: multi-channel video installations and single-channel videos made up of numerous fragments of first-person vernacular videos. Digging deep into databases of online videos, she finds material that might not otherwise be seen, or creates her own archives of videos that appear to be absent online. These works explore changing boundaries between public and private, and present individual and collective performances of the shared self in an era of ubiquitous connectivity.
The installations and films unfold as something akin to complex musical orchestras with soloists, duets, and large choruses that perform multiple harmonic and dissonant melodies of the self as it is narrated, performed, and presented in public. Complex montages reveal patterns, tropes, and connections among numerous individual performances. These choruses suggest new social arrangements that push up against the alienating constraints of contemporary technological forms. Bookchin's work oscillates between two poles. On the one hand, it interrogates the real social, political, and emotional effects of our present so-called “sharing economy,” including isolation and social and political fragmentation. On the other hand, it reimagines new forms of collectivity and solidarity that might emerge from within those same constraints, prying at potential cracks within existing social and aesthetic regimes.
Bookchin’s work is exhibited widely including at MoMA, LACMA, PS1, Mass MOCA, the Walker Art Center, the Pompidou Centre, MOCA Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum, the Tate, and Creative Time. She has received numerous grants and awards, including from Creative Capital, California Arts Council, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, a COLA Artist Fellowship, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and most recently, a MacArthur Foundation Grant, a NYSCA Individual Artist Fellowship and a NYFA Opportunity Grant.