Skip to content | Accessibility Information

Griffiths, DA., 2011.

Babel Fiche: animating the archive

Output Type:Poster
Presented at:Remix Cinema Workshop

Babel Fiche launched 18 March 2011 at, [no longer available] the first in a series of new web-based projects commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella. For this collaborative film, I invite members of the public during 2011 to gather and select a set of amateur video clips that describe contemporary, everyday life around the Earth. These movie fragments will be transformed into a set of colour microfiche films - a photographic medium capable of lasting 500 years and simply requiring light and a lens to expand its contents. This analogue throwback might even outlast our current reliance on fragile digital storage.

Babel Fiche is an imaginary media for future anthropologists. It asks which behaviours, objects, traditions and conflicts we want to communicate to a future world. Today's human cultures, physique and technology will inevitably develop out of all recognition. So how might a future species translate our current times? Babel Fiche will ponder the problem by animating and remixing the microfiche contents as a series of new short films. This production stage is driven through Wreckamovie, an online platform to help organise participatory movie projects.

The project thus surrenders authorial control in favour of a crowd-sourced, democratically produced artwork. Members of online communities will write, design and compose a series of animated shorts using the microfiche as a resource. You are welcome to participate by suggesting storyboards, scripts, or other experimental approaches to direct the animation. Speculate how a far-future researcher might re-interpret these fragments. Process and conversation are given equal value to the eventual end product. The final results of this endeavour are as yet unknown. Babel Fiche wonders if it will be possible to resolve coherent films under these social conditions, and viewers and collaborators are invited to follow the progress of the project as it develops and changes.

Babel Fiche is a production residency commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, with support from North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University.