Dave Griffiths’ Babel Fiche began as an online call for user-donated video content in which people’s singular and disparate perspectives on Life, the Universe and Everything might offer a patchwork cross-section of contemporary experience. If YouTube is the accepted star-chart of this strange new online cosmos, Babel Fiche is a self-consciously small-scale satellite. Crowd-sourced from a loose and informal social network of followers and friends (and friends of friends), and for a discrete and short-lived period of time, its random sample of the sights and sounds of the here-and-now was preserved, somewhat counter-intuitively, on the retro medium of microfiche.
Distilled and compressed onto microfilm, these cryptic thumbnail images went on to inspire their own mini-narrative. Featuring contributions from writers Gaia Holmes and Stefan Skrimshire, a resulting 18-minute video of Babel Fiche imagines this time capsule of found footage from the vantage point of the near-future, where archivists pore over, and labour to piece together, these once-familiar everyday scenes. Embellished by an atmospheric soundtrack by musician Graham Massey, Griffiths’ project reminds us how images of the past are so often lost in translation yet continue to speak to us all the same.