Visual artist and filmmaker Jordan Baseman isn’t interested in the terms fiction or non-fiction, preferring instead to create his work in the space between the two. By editing and mashing up the transcripts from long interview sessions with his subjects, he creates his own narrative from the spoken words of their answers.
His latest exhibition is made up of two parts, the film project 'Green Lady' and accompanying interview based text '1973'. Shot in 16mm, the film deals with ideas surrounding the afterlife and paranormal activity. Baseman relinquishes control and pushes the boundaries of film making by allowing the collision of representation and the abstract. Alongside the film, the text and image based project 1973 uses interviews from cultural commentators, including Pamela Church Gibson and Jonathan Griffin, in response to the 'Green Lady'. Both are being launched with a free screening at Matt’s Gallery on November 29th. Dazed Digital caught up with Baseman to find out more ahead of the screening.
Dazed Digital: What is the relationship between 1973 and Green Lady?
Jordan Baseman: The narrative soundtrack for Green Lady and the texts for 1973 have been produced in the same way: questions were asked, conversations were recorded, edited, distilled and then represented as continuous moments.
DD: What themes are explored in these works?
Jordan Baseman: The afterlife, death, paranormal activity, Michael Jackson, ghosts, psychic ability, Jaffa Cakes, Halloween ...
DD: Your work uses interviews with cultural commentators, which are then turned into a soundtrack. How does this work?
Jordan Baseman: The soundtracks are created through editing interviews (often recorded over many hours). The end result is a story being told, almost as if from a script, but spoken naturalistically because the origins are from spontaneous moments. The works retain the spontaneity of the initial recordings, yet possess a narrative arc: a constructed tale from various conversations over a period of time.
DD: This project uses film making, images, text and sound. What are the advantages of combining these formats?
Jordan Baseman: The advantages are that there is often a wealth of information from which to draw upon. This hybridization is often at the very core of filmmaking.
DD: Your work has been described as 'creative non-fiction', what does this mean?
Jordan Baseman: Creative non-fiction is how I refer to what I do: the works are not fiction in that they originate from the interview process. The interviews are then turned into soundtracks and scripts, creatively using the collected information from the interviews as the raw material for the production of the works. The interviews are condensed, concentrated, re-arranged, focused, pulled apart and re-assembled. Many liberties are taken to enhance, strengthen and exaggerate the final result, yet staying close to the essence of the original recorded interview material.
DD: Your work explores reactions to the after-life, from ghosts to Micheal Jackson, what have you found from people's responses?
Jordan Baseman: They cry or laugh, often both together, hopefully.
DD: What do you believe happens to us when we die?
Jordan Baseman: It depends on the manner of the disposal of the body. Our matter is burnt, buried or dumped into the sea. We don't go to heaven. We don't go to Hell. We are not judged. We disintegrate and decay. Of course we leave behind memories and actions. We are remembered, or not.
Tuesday 29 November 2011, Launch with drinks 7–9pm, Film screening 7:45pm (duration 30 mins), Genesis Cinema, 93–95 Mile End Road, Whitechapel, London E1 4UJ