"The real challenge is to turn these activities into politicized and socially charged activities."
-Natalie Bookchin

"The range of gazes explored in Natalie Bookchin's production implies a revision of the political, productive, and aesthetic spheres, conditioned, in turn, by a complex and sophisticated technological regime, which regulates and models our understanding of places, the body, digital archives, and social identity."
-Montse Romani and Virginia Villaplana


Natalie Bookchin, a new media artist, was born in 1962 in the Bronx and currently lives in Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Purchase in 1984 and her Master of Fine Arts in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1990. Bookchin then participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Studio Program in 1992. She has since worked and lectured at numerous institutions, including the University of Maryland, Syracuse University and University of California in San Diego. Bookchin was the co-Director of the Photography and Media Program in the Art School at California Institute of the Arts from 2004 through 2011; however, she is serving now solely as a member of the faculty.

Bookchin's art has been exhibited around the world. Over the years, she has experimented with a variety of new media. Her earliest work inquired about photography's role in the electronic age and critiqued the media. Later, she employed interactive computer and video installations to address the idea of the human-computer interface. Bookchin's most recent installations have drawn from Youtube and vlogs, exploring the connections between the individual and the world.


This eighteen-channel video installation is currently showing at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) from March 8th to April 15th. The installation revolves around vloggers recounting media scandals involving African American men. The collection of clips is suppose to reflect the "struggles, conflicts, and harmony" of our current society.

Testament is a four-channel video installation that focuses on everyday life and illuminates distinct, yet recurrent, circumstances. Bookchin takes video fragments from personal video narratives and creates group narratives that speaks of the current problems with our society, addressing such thing as acceptance and self-esteem. The voices of the vloggers blend and clash to create almost a Greek chorus. She has titled parts of this work: I Am Not, My Meds and Laid Off.

This one-channel installation is made of hundreds of edited Youtube dance videos and set to the soundtracks of Busby Berkeley's "Gold Diggers" and Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will". The title of the work comes from an essay by the German cultural critic Siegfried Kracauer. Bookchin explains the piece in this interview.

TRIP (2008)
Bookchin allows the viewer to take a trip to over seventy countries in this installation. Trip is a 63-minute video made of fragments from Youtube video taken out of moving vehicles, which were then strung together to unravel "the idea of travel - the travel of images, the travel of people, the travel of culture and of ideas." In many ways, it exposes how small the world really is. This was Bookchin's first time experimenting with YouTube.

In this video, Bookchin reveals a rather humorous side in her personality; however, at the same time, she manages to explore the role of global capitalism in creating "public spaces", for example parking lots.

All That is Solid is "made from footage culled from private security webcams from around the world, specific locations are traceable by faces, signs, architectural details, or domain names, and sometimes not at all." Interestingly, most of these clips were in fact obtained by hacking Goggle. The ten and a-half minute video is set to recordings of telephone calls made during Lyndon Johnson's presidency. Overall, the project exposes the effects of the internet on time and space. The scarcity of material she could find for this project would lead her to other avenues, particularly YouTube.

A collaboration with Jacqueline Stevens, this online community was created to design a multi-player game that offers political alternatives to today's world order. It was commissioned by Tate Museum and the Rockefeller Foundation.

METAPET (2002)
This interactive game, which was launched by Creative Time, was a collaborative project between Natalie Bookchin and Jin Lee, the co-founders of Action Tank. Players are given the opportunity to act as the manager of a genetically engineered human being (or worker-pet). While the game states that their challenge, as the manager, is to supply the right mix of incentives and recognition awards to the diligent worker-pet to keep them efficiently working in order to make a profit, participants quickly become entangled in the intricate matrix of the corporate and biotech culture. Overall, by the end of the game, players are sure to find themselves compelled to question the complex social and political issues surrounding genetic engineering and corporate behavior.

The Intruder is one of Bookchin's most reconized pieces. Using shockwave, Bookchin created this narrative arcade-like game to tell a short--but brutal-- love story by Jorge Luis Borge. Players move through levels of the game by shooting, fighting, catching, or colliding as they are rewarded with pieces of the narrative in a voice-over. Bookchin urges players to rethink the inherent violence within early computer game and to reflect upon the loss of meaning within most games as well as in human-computer interface.

A motion study that monitored the reactions and navigation of participants to the activities and faces of three prisoners during the four days leading up to their execution in an Arkansas prison. The project explores the ideas of being the surveyor verse being surveyed and, more importantly, power and control.

Bookchin in this project reflects on the early effects of computers on photography and life. The CD-ROM presents an ultimate databank, one that encompasses our attempts to represent and systematize life, to the viewer. As one site explains, "Databank proposes that the computer has its own particular model for representing the body- a loop. Life is represented as a series of loops performed by the body much like the simple loops performed by a computer program. The body, stuck in its loops, is like an flawed machine, rendered inefficient by desires, habits and compulsions."