The Human Dimension (Natalie Bookchin Interview)

Natalie’s work is described as “documentary” although I believe with any documentary work the element of interpretation cannot be forgotten. From NYC street photographers like Bruce Gilden to the photographers hired by the  Farm Security Administration in the 1930’s like Dorothea Lange, the element of subjective interpretation has always existed within visual art. To quote Natalie, her work  “aims to make visible social facts” as well as her “role in shaping and skewing those facts” seems to play an important part  of her work as narrator. Humans by nature desire a narrative to identify with, and so it isn’t surprising that Natalie uses this as a method to inform her work and strengthen it. The theme that she works with, albeit social in nature, does not particularly touch upon anything new thematically, although her method of crafting and shaping it is different than others that have proceeded her. Her working method of looking “for patterns”, and building “new composite documents, rich with descriptive accounts and reflections of both current attitudes and social conditions”  and edited “for repetitions and patterns” to “create a kind of mass choir out of seemingly individual expression” is an interesting notion touching back to the Greek chorus with an updated use of orchestration using ” a variety of quests to define and describe the self as a part of (and agent in) a larger social body.” “The tension is between this depiction of active attempts at self-identification and political subjectivity, and that of isolated individuals in an alienated space.” Natalie views her projects as “both documentary and aspirational, taking material already out there, and aspiring to make it more of a social experience than it currently is.”  It is especially noteworthy that she mentions that “we have entered another level of alienation when our equivalent of a public forum is a person alone in his or her room speaking to a computer screen.” This point especially resonates with me in that my personal artistic theme of exploration is about identity especially in an era when that is being commodified. Of special interest are the nuances  for the individual person, them within their immediate surroundings, and even globally. Having spoken with Eric Klinenberg about his work on “Heat Wave” and “Going Solo” regarding the impacts of people who live alone, and Lynn Smith-Lovin about her work on the shrinking social circles outside the family, has informed my personal quest of exploration on this topic, and so I applaud Natalie for her touching upon this in her work."My Meds"