“My current project in-progress, Long Story Short will be a film, an installation, and an interactive website. The film takes form as a composite group interview, drawn from and linked to an archive of 75 video diaries.
The interviewees are all are residents of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Some are homeless, some are unemployed, and some are working at minimum wage jobs, and all are striving to escape from poverty. Most have never before shared their views and stories in public, let alone on video.
Instead of a single narrator, there are dozens, appearing in multiple frames of videos across a screen. This composite space – filled with speakers – suggests the scale and multiplicity of poverty in America – for every speaker, there could be numerous others. By imagining collectives and social bodies that may not yet exist, or are difficult to see in single video diaries alone, Long Story Short suggests political linkages, reveals affinities, and makes connections between unique experiences and points of view, revealing many of poverty’s narratives and the psychological states it can produce to be fundamentally shared.
Long Story Short makes a link between the rise in digital network culture and the drastic increase in poverty. Video diaries were made using webcams and laptops, and have the markings of that genre: its direct address, intimacy, informality, faces illuminated by the screen. These are some of the same technologies – high tech and digital – that ushered in hardships for low-skilled workers and their families in the first place, but here these tools amplify their voices.
Long Story Short draws inspiration from one the more promising aspects of network culture and social media – the shift away from a focus on single voices to that of many, and the expansion of who gets to speak in public and of what we consider to be expert knowledge. Yet social media has also produced a class of overly visible and a class of unseen – those whose stories and data are not worth much. Long Story Short provides a critical corrective, by creating a missing archive, jarring expectations, and making visible the limits of who we typically find speaking to us on our screens. It responds to our current moment of increasing and dramatic economic inequality, and explores how depictions of poverty and inequality might benefit from, as well as reflect on, current modes of digital and image mobility, dissemination, and display. It gives a platform to those who are mostly unseen, misrepresented or not represented in public, especially not in digital form. In doing so, it proposes a more social media.”
Natalie Bookchin will give an introduction, show about half an hour video of this work-in-progress and then discuss it further with the audience at Video Vortex.t Untitled Project