Interview with the director of Babel Fiche

This week on the blog, artplayer has decided to take an in-depth look at a short film set in the future, Babel Fiche. About a month ago, when writing an article for Auckland’s www.post-new.com, I had the opportunity to meet up with filmmaker and artist Dave Griffiths and his assistant Annie Carpenter prior to Dave’s opening for the relaunch of Castlefield Gallery in Manchester. The artist of course had a lot to say about the film, which began as an internet project.

When I asked Dave what was the driving idea behind the film, he explained, ‘I was interested in questioning all along the status of moving image culture and the amassing of moving image online’. Dave mentioned he was also intrigued by the idea of how the moving images he collected will speak to the future, which is the film’s overarching plot.

He decided to create a ‘big idiosyncratic archive’ of personal video fragments that would be nearly entirely selected by the crowd. These crowd-sourced videos would be displayed on this website. Dave explained that there were also a few clips that he ‘effectively appropriated – like the famous clip of the plane landing on the beach in the Bahamas’. His intention was to create an analogue version of this massive archived collection of video clips by compressing them down into tiny frames to be viewed on microfiche.

Dave described how putting the videos onto microfiche could be viewed as ‘a fictional device for an imaginary scenario where researchers in the near future would look back on this archive as a sort of evidence and try to make sense of it and translate it’. The film’s title comes from the medium itself and the potential for translation or mistranslation.

Some film stills from Babel Fiche:

Watch Babel Fiche on artplayer.tv here.

Babel Fiche can be viewed at Castlefield Gallery until 30th September 2012.

Carol Huston

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