VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Burchell, Kenzie

Kenzie Burchell
UK videoartist


artist biography


Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background

My work has traversed a number of media, and my life a string of cities: Mississauga, Montreal, Moscow. Presently, I am based in London where I am pursuing my MPhil/PhD at Goldsmiths University in Media and Communications. I also work as a writer, photographer and media analyst, I’ve researched and published extensively on performance, fashion, technology and human rights. My educational background lays in Political Science and Russian literature, but includes training in photography and printing.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

I have been experimenting with photography, film and editing since I was child, plugging every household appliance possible into a VCR to see what would happen. “My Words,” however, represents my first concerted effort to gather material to document a single and precise sociological and cultural phenomenon.

3. What kind of subjects have your films?

The subjects change with each project. A project I am currently working on for 2009 deals with identity, access and inscription. “My words”, on the other hand, is a manifestation of metadata as social memory and alternatively coded personal identity. Presented in the online two-minute 2008 version are the recorded lists of people’s personal dictionaries on their mobile phone. In contrast to the manufacturer’s default dictionary, these words were saved into the phone by users during SMS communication. They were saved, often unconsciously, mid-process by the users because these were words not included in the default dictionary, yet used so often by the individual. The people being filmed were seeing their list for the first time as they read it.

“My Words” has also been edited into a 10 channel video installation, any galleries interesting in exhibited the installation should contact for more information.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?

I try to maintain a documentary approach, rather than creating fictional narratives, but usually the style develops with the project.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

Video equipment I uses these days spans from whatever I have in my pocket to what I can beg for and borrow, although in photography I am beginning to develop some preferences for fast lenses when I can get my hands on them.

6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general and you personally?

In the wake of digitization of viewing/listening, new media is subsuming other mediums but with further experimentation of mixed-media and interactive video work, new media will allow for a clear delineation of traditional media and the technical skills involved.

“My Words” will find its second articulation through the reach of new media. An upload form and instructions specific to different mobile phones will be shortly available on so that people can find, film, and send in videos of their personal mobile dictionaries. These will be sorted and presented in a second version of the video and potentially included in the installation format.

7. How do you finance your films?

“My Words” and collaborative projects presently underway are largely self-financed or without any real expenses. Any associated cost are usually subsumed within other project or negotiated in kind.

8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

I work individually but within a network of supportive collaborators who consistently provide the subject, body and materials that become the subject of my video work.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?

My video work is largely influenced by exploration into documentary photography and journalism, but also by research into recursive element between media.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

In 2009, I intend to move in two directions. Firstly, I will explore the nuances of media convergence by experimenting with mobile, metadata, and fragmented or networked sources of materials. Secondly, I am taking some of my previous work in alternative printing techniques for photography and applying them to film, to ensure that I am approaching it as one among many potential media to potentially combine with digital, rather than one replaced by it.

Can works of yours viewed online besides on VideoChannel? Where?
List some links & resources

With any luck and some extra time more work will be available on